Clothing is an amalgam of many processes, some conceptual like the design, and some constructional like the fabric and decoration. The material that comprises an outfit, how it is made and by whom, and its final appearance are the focus of this section. Fabrics come in a vast variety of types, from the natural fibres of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: wool, cotton, linen and sillk; to the man-made materials of the twentieth century: rayon, polyester, vinyl and synthetics. These can be decorated in a range of ways: woven, printed, embroidered; or manipulated by pleating, quilting, smocking and slashing. Any garment usually has many layers of constrution from raw material to finished product, and these transformations are what the fashion designer or clothing manufacturer envisages, creates and markets.
Techniques such as printing, beading and smocking are highlighted here to explain some of the processes which contribute to fashion's constant metamorphosis.