Fashion is a multibillion-dollar global enterprise that encompasses the design, production, distribution, marketing and sale of clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and jewelry. The industry also includes a range of other services such as pattern making and alterations, retailing, etc.
It is a popular belief that changes in fashion reflect societal change, but this is misleading. In reality, changes in fashion are primarily driven by internal taste mechanisms that operate independently of societal pressures and financial interests.
Clothes are not just about covering ourselves and gratifying vanity; they are symbols that convey a wealth of information about our gender, age, social class and lifestyle. The miniskirt, for example, symbolised feminism in the 1960s, while cassocks and nuns’ robes are worn to express a life of renunciation.
People tend to follow fashion, but what they are following is more likely to be the latest trend, rather than a style. In modern western society, it is not as common to imitate celebrities or public figures because everyone has a wider choice of clothes available to them. Instead, people will often choose to wear the styles of other people that they like, and this creates a new trend.
In other words, while fashion is a way of dressing that can be learned, style is more of an art form that requires innate taste and knowledge of proportions. Style is a long-term approach to clothing, which focuses on quality and durability so that you can build a wardrobe of versatile pieces that will last for years. It is much easier to achieve a polished, well-tailored look with a focus on style than with the constant influx of fashion trends that come and go so quickly.