What is Fashion?

Fashion is a style or trend of clothing, footwear, accessories and grooming that becomes popular amongst a group of people at a given time. It is also a way of self-expression and may reflect a person’s social status, age, taste and personality.

There are many styles of dressing which vary according to gender, social class, occupation and geography. The term “fashion” can be applied to different cultures and times, although there are some constants, such as the ever-changing silhouette and the use of color. Fashion is often influenced by music and art, as well as historical and social events.

The creation of fashions is a complex process which can be divided into four stages: design, sourcing, production and marketing. In the past, most clothes were made individually for each wearer by dressmakers and tailors. With the invention of the sewing machine and other factory techniques, however, clothing began to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices. This led to a change in the role of dressmakers and fashion designers.

In modern times, the creation of fashions depends on a number of factors, including consumer demand, the availability of raw materials, labour costs and the influence of culture and society. The terms style, mode, vogue, rage and craze are all synonymous with fashion, and suggest the capriciousness and quick adoption of new styles by those eager to appear stylish.

It is widely believed that changes in fashion reflect societal change and/or financial influences. However, some research indicates that the emergence of a particular style is often spontaneous and unprompted.

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