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Coco Chanel: Breaking Barriers

in Society Through Fashion

Nina Ruetenik
Process Paper Word Count: 404
(project type) word count:1200
When choosing my topic, I focused on my interest in fashion and the 1920s-50s.
The 1920s was a time of women's revolution, and fashion was a part of that leap. Before
researching for NHD I had some knowledge on her work and how she was a fashion
modernizer, though I didn’t know exactly what she modernized. So, I researched “Coco
Chanel:Breaking Barriers” and found a decent amount of articles with the same focus. I
found that she broke many barriers by unpopularising unsafe corsets, popularising
pants/suits for women, and revolutionizing fashion by showing women they could control
what they wear. I felt these reasons definitely fit in with the topic of breaking barriers,
and matched my interests.
I began my research looking for sources online. I searched for any information
that could be useful, and found several giving general timelines of Chanel’s work. Next, I
found sites that gave information on the barriers in fashion at the time and how her ideas
not only broke them, but helped new revolutions in the process. The final online sources I
found provided essays, articles, and letters that helped me fill in all categories of
SEARCH. After this, I started looking for primary sources at the special selections
section of the library, and found a New York Times article. I also got a book about her
life. My final research concluded adding pictures and watching videos made by the
Chanel company providing the lacking information that I needed.
I decided to make a weebly website for my NHD project. I thought making a site
would be in my skill range, and would be the easiest. First, I decided on
theme/layout/text/etc and sectioned my website to different topics. Then, I typed
paragraphs according to topic and transferred them onto weebly. Finally, I added
pictures/quotes/other media after the words were done.
My topic fits the theme in many ways. In the 1800s-1910s, women’s clothing was
largely made up of corsets, heavy fabric, cages, etc, that was restrictive and
uncomfortable. Not only this, women were expected to act the way their garments did,
refined and ornamental. When Coco Chanel entered the fashion world, she freed women
of these constraints by designing clothes fit for movement, which sparked a new fashion
revolution. By the 1920s, women were independant and in control of their bodies, many
thanks to the Chanel influence.