What Is Fashion?


Fashion is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise. It influences people from all walks of life and carries the marks of different eras and social movements. Fashion is more than just clothing; it can also depict trends in jewelry, shoes, bags, accessories, language and even a person’s hair style.

Trends in fashion change constantly, and can reflect the whims of the moment or be dictated by a specific culture. In this way, fashion is a mirror of society and a means of expressing one’s personal identity. It is not surprising that so many magazines are devoted to it, TV programs devote hours of transmission time to it, and people discuss it with each other continuously.

The word “fashion” comes from the French phrase meaning “the mode,” which refers to a prevalent custom or style. The earliest fashions in Western clothing can be traced back to the late medieval period. These early trends in dress can be attributed to the development of the modern system of production and distribution, as well as social changes in class structure, age groups and gender roles.

In the modern world, fashion has become a major form of self-expression for women and men alike. Whether in terms of clothing, makeup or the way people walk and talk, it is now more than ever before that a person’s overall image and attitude can be identified by their fashion choices. It is no longer the case that men and women choose to dress in a certain style merely because it is fashionable, but because they feel comfortable and confident wearing it.

A person’s choice of fashion can also be influenced by the styles worn by other people they admire or respect. For example, if someone of high cultural status wears new or different clothes, they may inspire others to follow suit. In this way, a person can influence the fashions of the whole community. The names of famous designers and manufacturers who have shaped the fashion industry include Charles Frederick Worth, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent.

There is some speculation that a change in fashion reflects a change in the social environment, but this view has been challenged by studies that indicate that there are internal taste mechanisms unrelated to external factors. Moreover, the same study showed that changing fashions in dress often coincide with economic or commercial changes.

There is a wide range of fashion available in the market, from the exclusive designer outfits seen on runway shows to the everyday styles worn by people around the world. Fashion also encompasses a wide variety of other styles, including those used in furniture design, house wares, and food trends. The latter are often influenced by the same external forces as those that affect fashion in clothing, but they tend to be slower and less predictable.