What is Fashion?

Fashion is the prevailing style, trends and clothing choices of a culture at a given time. It is closely linked to the cultural context of a period, as well as social class, generation and occupation. The word fashion also refers to the design and creation of clothing, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics. People who follow and create the latest styles, often with a focus on quality and brand, are known as fashion designers, fashion enthusiasts or fashionistas. The industry’s main players are brands and retailers.

Throughout history, fashion has been used as a way for people to express their individuality or solidarity with other groups. Fashions have come and gone, some quickly becoming popular and others disappearing almost as fast as they came. In modern times, the fashion world is highly influenced by celebrities and other people of high cultural status who inspire new trends through their choices of clothing.

The terms style, mode, vogue, fad and craze all describe current fashionable trends. Style implies a distinctive and tasteful manner of dressing or behaving, while mode suggests that the style is generally accepted. Unlike fads, which may be short-lived, styles tend to remain in the mainstream for longer periods.

It is widely assumed that changes in fashion reflect societal change and the financial interests of designers and manufacturers. However, research suggests that some of the change is due to internal factors such as mood and personal style. In addition, it is possible that fashions can also be triggered by events such as wars and natural disasters, and even by the discovery of new cultures, as when Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries favored Turkish, Chinese and Japanese imports.