Fashion is a multibillion dollar global industry that encompasses all aspects of designing, manufacturing and selling clothing. It also includes the accessories and adornments that are worn with it. Some people distinguish between the high fashion shown on the runways of Paris or New York and the mass-produced clothing styles that are sold in malls and stores everywhere else, but these distinctions are becoming increasingly blurred.
The concept of Fashion has become a subject of intense discussion and study, both in the social sciences and the humanities. In recent decades, there has been a proliferation of books and articles on the topic, as well as an ever-increasing focus on fashion in popular culture and media. Fashion is a cultural phenomenon with a complex and varied history.
Fashion has often been seen as a reflection of or a response to specific historical, economic and political conditions. For example, the roaring 20s was a time of great social change for women, and fashionable clothes allowed them to express their newfound freedom through style.
A basic definition of fashion is the widespread acceptance and popularity of a particular manner of wearing or styling one’s hair, dress, etc. Fashion is often distinguished from style, which denotes adherence to a particular standard or mode: “a chair in the Queen Anne style.”
The relationship between fashion and politics is complex. While some fashion designers have made political statements through their collections, others have remained neutral. The question of whether or not fashion should be used as a vehicle for political messages is still up for debate.
There are many different styles of clothing, and the selection of which to wear is a personal choice. Some people like to keep their choices simple and stick with the styles that are currently in vogue, while others will go to great lengths to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Whatever the choice, it is important to remember that fashion should be worn for personal expression, not to impress other people.
Some designers and critics have suggested that the establishing of fashion trends is vital to the fashion industry’s success, and that any intellectual property rules that may get in the way of this process are counter-productive. However, it is also widely believed that most of the trends are created by the larger companies in order to lure consumers into purchasing their products, and that this exploitation is at the expense of smaller or independent designers.
It is also important to avoid taking fashion magazines at face value – they are often more interested in selling certain products than in reporting on the current state of the fashion world. It is not unusual for a fad to suddenly reverse direction, as happened when low-rise jeans were replaced by the more hip-hugging wide-leg versions. And, as history has repeatedly shown, most styles eventually reappear in the same form or at least with very similar elements.