[FOUNTAIN]New uniform symbolicThe French Revolution, which took place from 1789 to 1794, not only overthrew the absolute monarchy in France but also had a tremendous influence on menswear. Through the 17th century baroque and the 18th century rococo periods, French aristocrats demonstrated their status by wearing knee-length cropped pants called culottes and extravagant overcoats.
However, the revolutionaries chose “sans-culottes,” referring to the long, loose trousers worn by the populace in the city. The people represented by sans-culottes played a crucial role in the success of the revolution as forward guards in the storming of the Bastille. The term, sans-culotte, was used to designate radical republicans, who lead revolution and used fashion as a means to express their political conviction.
As France went through the 1830 July Revolution and the 1848 February Revolution, the revolutionaries began to dress in pantaloons, the predecessor of suit trousers, and simple outerwear. The outfit became fixed as the attire of the citizenry. The bourgeois followed the citizens and wore the outfit, which evolved into the modern suit.
Some scholars claim fashion is the history of human civilization. They argue that the customs, ethics and morals as well as the spiritual heritage and scientific discoveries of mankind can be found in the history of fashion. In fact, the birth of the suit contains the process of revolutionary fashion transforming into a symbol of the new bourgeoisie.
Uniforms are also a territory of fashion that changes with the period. As a symbol of an organization or group, the color and design of a uniform unites and disciplines members. There is a theory that the uniform originated from the costume that priests and aristocrats in ancient Egypt and Babylonia wore to showcase the honorable and distinguished status of their group. The uniforms of soldiers, police and firefighters exude a special charm and dignity. We have all been attracted to the charm of uniforms as children.
The National Police Agency has introduced a new uniform for the 60th anniversary of its founding. The uniform is fashionably designed by a university research center and fashion designers. While the old uniform used mainly black and blue and had a dark, cool feel to it, the colors for the new one are light grey and ivory. The design is said to incorporate the concept of fashion in order to give a sophisticated and friendly image. Changing the uniform may be an effort to break from the inflexible and authoritarian image. It is interesting that we can read the trend and atmosphere of society through a new police uniform.
by Ko Dae-hoon
The writer is a deputy city news editor for the JoongAng Ilbo.