Fashion is a set of styles and trends that change frequently, often in response to a cultural movement. These changes are often seen in clothing, jewelry and other accessories, but also in hairstyles, makeup, and music genres. Some fashions are considered “high-fashion” and crafted by an aesthetic elite, while others are mass-produced and inexpensive. A person’s sense of style, or taste in clothes and other accessories, is a reflection of their personality and lifestyle.
Fashions may vary significantly within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography. An older person who dresses in the fashion of young people, for example, may look ridiculous, while an adult who tries to dress like a teenager is often regarded as a “fashionista” or a “fashion victim.” Fashion can also be influenced by the cultures of different countries, with clothes from one country being considered fashionable at a particular time while they are not at all fashionable in another culture.
Many of the changes in fashion are driven by designers who create clothes to suit specific tastes, and then market them to consumers. The industry is very competitive, with new fashions emerging every season and some styles quickly becoming outdated or even relegated to the “antique” bin. This is partly because there are few barriers to entry into the business, which allows anyone with money to start a new label and compete with existing labels.
Although a fashion trend is temporary, it can influence the way people think and act. For example, when a certain color becomes popular, it can affect the moods and attitudes of those who wear it. It’s important for fashion designers to have an understanding of how their creations can influence the world around them.
Some fashion designers are able to accurately reflect and anticipate social changes by watching what is being worn, and who is wearing it. This allows them to design clothes that will appeal to people of different ages and backgrounds. They can also identify which types of fashions are likely to be more popular and why, so they can make predictions about future trends.
People with a high level of cultural capital are able to inspire a fashion trend by wearing or using new and innovative products. When they do this, the people who like or respect them may start to copy their style. This can lead to a ‘fashion wave’, with the products popularised through the media.
Despite its status as an industry with great power, prestige and wealth, the fashion system is not without criticism. Some argue that the constant need for new trends is not only wasteful and environmentally irresponsible, but it encourages materialism and a disregard of other important aspects of life. Fashion is also a source of social commentary, with the current trend towards sustainable and ethical fashion reflecting a growing discontent with the consumerist model. Other critics point out that the glamorous, perfectly packaged products on display in stores and at fashion shows obscure their human, natural and economic resources, while obscuring the work of its makers and their contribution to the world’s stock of natural beauty.