What is Fashion?

Fashion is one of the most powerful and all-encompassing aspects of human culture. It unites, divides and defines groups, cultures and individuals around the world. It also changes with time and place, as well as within the same society and era. Whole magazines are dedicated to fashion, TV programs dedicate hours of transmission to the subject, and people discuss trends and styles constantly.

It is a multifaceted industry that includes the designers who create and market their collections, the manufacturers who make clothes, shoes, accessories, etc., and the retailers who sell them. The line between high and low fashion is blurred, with higher-end designer brands influencing mainstream retail and the emergence of fast-fashion retailers who offer trendy styles at affordable prices.

The word ‘fashion’ is derived from the French verb, vogue, meaning “latest thing.” It refers to the ever-changing style and appearance of clothing, footwear, and accessories that characterize a specific period or group. It is a form of personal expression, as well as an indication of social class. Fashions may differ by gender, age, occupation, and geography.

Trends come and go quickly. Once a style is popular, it usually becomes the dominant mode of dress for several years before becoming outdated. The popularity of a certain fad often stems from media attention, such as in the case of celebrity attire or a particular look seen on TV or in a movie. The life cycle of a fashion trend usually passes through the introduction stage, the diffusion stage, the peak phase, the decline phase, and finally the clearance sale stage.