Fashion is a highly visible form of self-expression, and one that can have a profound effect on the world at large. The word is most often used to refer to the latest clothing trends, but it also applies to a variety of other styles that mark a particular period in time or a specific culture. Some of these trends may be influenced by political events, social movements and the ever-changing tastes of individuals. The fashion industry is also a huge business, employing millions of people all over the world.
During the early days of fashion, there was very little uniformity in the way that people dressed. Most clothes were made individually for people by local dressmakers or tailors and were designed to reflect the local climate, traditions and values of the wearer. The first changes in clothing trends can be traced to the invention of the sewing machine and the beginnings of industrialization. After that, as factories and mills became more common, clothing production was standardized and mass-produced.
The start of a new era of fashion, which lasted until the 1970s, began with the emergence of designers such as Paul Poiret, Jean Patou and Madeleine Vionnet, who created modern styles that were inspired by a mixture of Western historical styles, folk traditions and avant-garde art. These styles were popular in the 1920s and 1930s and are sometimes referred to as Art Deco fashion.
After World War II, when rationing of cloth and haberdashery was ended in the United Kingdom, the fashion industry took another turn for the better. Clothes were now produced in a more efficient manner using new materials that had been introduced during the war. Designers were able to come up with new styles that were then copied by manufacturers who could afford to sell them at less expensive prices.
Despite the fact that many people believe that fashion is a reflection of the social climate, this is not necessarily the case. Some experts have suggested that changes in the fashion industry are merely driven by the desire of individual people to express their creativity, as well as the need to attract attention and increase sales of a product.
Many individuals, such as musicians and movie stars, have a very strong influence on the fashion industry, especially when it comes to designing or choosing their own clothes. They may create a whole look and then have it replicated by other famous people, such as models and actors. These trends can be very short-lived, however, as the next trend is quickly adopted by those who want to be like their idols.
Many of the same individuals who are influenced by fashion are also influenced by other elements in society, such as political figures and royalty. Newspapers and magazines frequently report on what Hillary Clinton or the Princess of Wales is wearing. Many people are also influenced by the music industry and popular culture in general. Musicians, for example, will usually have their own style and choice of music and will tend to dress in a way that reflects this.