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How Television and Film Influence Fashion

Every Thursday I get to talk fashion with Dominic King on BBC Radio Kent. We often talk trends, fashions we’ve seen in the press, tie ins with the upcoming Olympics and sporting events. But this week I’m going a little anti-fashion. I’ve been thinking about how the world of television and film influence fashion, particularly menswear and whether it truly has an effect.

How Television and Film Influence Fashion

Menswear doesn’t rely on trends as much as the world of womens fashion. There are more influences from modern culture. What we see in the music industry, film, television and magazines impact mens fashion styles more often than not.

Having read Mr LadyM’s GQ magazine this month, there is a heavy focus on a certain Mr James Bond. From travelling to Goldeneye in Jamaica for a holiday to the latest Bond gadget watch from Omega to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the brand, onto Bond style suits and active daywear for the modern gent.

It seems that at the moment there are two key characters that mens fashion is being based upon. James Bond (with the latest film, Skyfall out in October) and MadMen’s Don Draper. From the rugged, sporty, technical, gadget based 007 to the smart, suave, 60’s inspired trilby wearing Don. The trends are in the shops, but do men really buy into them? Will you buy a £130 jacket because it’s the latest in sports chic a la Mr Bond? Will you be sporting a trilby and have a pocket square because its been seen on the runway and it’s on the high street?

Why does fashion revert back to eras past? James Bond has been in our vision since the 60’s and Don Draper and MadMen style is referring back to the same period. I guess, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It worked for men back then, but do these classic looks still work in today’s mens world?

Focus on menswear

Mens fashion is more about detail, colour and chic looks these days rather than the logos that we saw in the 90’s. Menswear has taken an understated look nowadays, maybe the draw of the Bond Style and MadMen city look is about confidence. These looks work in the right context, they can give a sense of power from the charisma that these characters exude. According to Primer Magazine “There’s one thing every man is envious of when he watches Mad Men it’s the style these men exude every day, whether in a board meeting or at a barbecue”.  There are a lot of blazers around on the high street this season, mens chic look does have some thanks to pay to the HBO programme but there is a fine line between working a look and appearing to be a character from your favourite TV show.

Mens fashion is also about technical wear. Sporty, functional clothing is upon us. With gadgets being incorporated into clothing, surely this is a man’s dream? Italian menswear label Stone Island have released colour changing jackets and pieces with boundary pushing technical elements. Their customers return to the store time after time, to see what is new, what the latest technology is available, its an interesting element to add to menswear that is an added draw to get men to shop.

Womenswear Influences

One of the most popular Google searches that leads to hits on is “Made in Chelsea style”. This television show is really having an influence on womens style. Caggie Dunlop’s denim shirt she wore in season 2 has never had so much interest and Millie Mackintosh’s fabulous wardrobe is much coveted on Twitter each week. It seems that the public are wanting to wear the same clothes as reality tv stars. It is a desire to have the same clothes as them, or is it a desire to aspire to the lifestyle that they lead?

Recently we’ve seen many collaborations with fashion labels and reality show stars, such as Little Mistress and Lauren Pope from TOWIE to her co-star Lucy Mecklenburgh launching a bikini range with Bella Bamba and Binky from MIC modelling for funky brand Punky Allsorts.

The MadMen era has hit womens fashion too. This hugely popular television series has been seen to influence the fashion world where runway collections get described as “MadMen influenced” in the press and high street stores are stocking up on key pieces to sell this look. Betty Draper tea dresses are perfect for wedding guest outfits, whilst Joan Holloway bodycon power dresses can take you from the office to cocktail hour.

For me, I see these trends as taking the character and utilising the power they present, it’s not about becoming the character but about representing how far women have come from that era.


Women are more influenced by celebrity fashion endorsements than men, maybe because we shop more and maybe because men keep to their own style more whilst women follow trends?

So what do James Bond and Don Draper have in common? Charisma, a following, an air of mystery. Do men want to be them? Do they want to dress like them? Generally the answer is no, but taking elements of their style fitting into the way men dress is no bad thing. At the end of the day a woman can’t resist a man in a good suit!

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  • Dominic King July 12, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Love this topic Rachel. Strange you mention this influence. I was watching the new Aaron Sorkin (westwing) drama THE NEWSROOM this week and it made me want to wear a suit and tie again. As you know at the beeb I am a tshirt and jeans kinda guy. I wasn’t always though and it made me think, maybe I’ll shake it up now and again! So yes Television and Film does influence. PS after the Tintin film came out I thought about buying a raincoat, but you know what, that’s a bad fashion idea…

  • LadyM July 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks so much for your comment! Shame we couldn’t discuss in person. Maybe every now and again throw a smart look on and wow the Beeb staff!? That will confuse them! Raincoat might have been useful now – not the TinTin haircut though!

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