Fashion is a cultural phenomenon that encompasses all aspects of style, including clothing, footwear, accessories and makeup. It is influenced by a wide range of social factors and tends to change quickly. Fashion may be affected by the prevailing economic conditions, as well as social and political changes. Fashion is a complex subject that covers everything from haute couture, to street styles and mass-produced clothing.
Although some people distinguish between high and low fashion, scholars believe that the distinction has become blurred. Some designers produce a limited amount of designer clothes, known as “haute couture,” while others design more casual outfits for the mass market. These trends are often first seen in fashion shows and magazines, then copied by the mass market and popularized by retailers, making them accessible to the public.
People often wear garments to express their personalities and interests. Some examples are:
A person’s wardrobe can also be a statement about his or her social status, generation, occupation and geography. The styles of clothing worn by high cultural figures such as musicians, movie stars and politicians are often influential. When these individuals start wearing new or different styles, they can influence other people to follow suit. This is referred to as social influence or fashion inspiration. People who are influenced in this way are often called a “fashionista” or a “fashion victim.”
It is hard to define what constitutes a fashion trend because it is inherently a social and cultural phenomenon that requires dissemination and followers. Some theories of fashion change suggest that it is a reflection of societal changes, while others point to economic and financial factors as the cause of changes in fashion. For example, the emergence of inexpensive synthetic fabrics in the 1960s caused a change from the expensive natural fibers that had been the norm for clothing production.