Fashion is a broad term that describes different styles, trends and ways of dressing. It can refer to clothing, shoes, jewellery and other accessories. Fashion also reflects cultural and social dialogues and it is often used as a form of self-expression. It can also be used as a way to express political beliefs and ideas.
Fashion has become a major global industry. It is constantly changing and adapting to new technologies, sustainability concerns and cultural dialogues. Fashion is a tool for social and economic change. It can also be seen as a way to represent and celebrate identities.
The history of fashion is full of radical shifts in tastes and meanings. From China’s Tang Dynasty to the Heian period of Japan over 1500 years ago, fashionable garments have been a marker of status, identity and power. Throughout the 20th century, as industrialization progressed and democracy spread, fashion became more accessible to a wider range of people. This democratization of taste was coupled with changing social values such as women’s rights to dress and accessorize in the style of their choice.
The current state of fashion is defined by a relationship to capital. The reductive and glamourized manner in which it is presented in shops, magazines and online obscures its human and natural costs. As the world’s stock of natural resources continues to deplete, and human capacity for creativity diminishes, the story of fashion becomes ever more complicated. In the end, the real value of fashion is not in its shiny cellophane wrapper but in the creative energy it inspires.