Fashion is defined as the style or look of clothing. It is a part of the individual’s identity, and a means of looking good without make-up. As such, fashion trends come and go. From Victorian-era trends such as long dresses and veiled headgear, to today’s micro-dresses and jeans, fashion has influenced the way people dress and behave. It has a broad definition, and many different kinds of fashion are now popular.
While fashion has always been an expression of identity, it also has the power to protect us from the environment, as well as to negotiate our environment. Moreover, it allows us to display our bodies, and construct lines of culture and gender. According to Roland Barthes, fashion is more than just a collection of clothes and accessories. It has the power to transform people, cultures, and societies. Fashion designers are obligated to make clothing fit the individual and their lifestyles.
As a social phenomenon, fashion varies across cultures, regions, and time. Some styles are more gender-specific than others, and are cyclically recurrent, while others are temporary. Occasionally, new discoveries in lesser-known parts of the world have prompted a shift in fashion. For example, Europeans may favor Turkish clothing one year, but later favor Japanese or Chinese fashion. Today, Globalization has reduced the novelty of these styles and brought them into the western world.
The influence of celebrities is also a key part of fashion. Celebrities such as Hillary Clinton and Meghan Markle have become influential in the world of fashion. People often follow celebrities, and newspapers and magazines report on their outfits. Diana’s death left a huge hole in the world of high fashion. Fashion history can be traced back to the 1700s, when ordinary people spent hours poring over magazines. In fact, dressmakers outside the French court relied on sketches and fashion magazines to create their designs. King Louis XIV said that “fashion is a mirror” – a statement that has remained true ever since.
While many theories suggest that changes in fashion reflect social or financial interests, it is also true that the fashion industry reacts to various events and cultures. Popular trends are not always rooted in a specific time or culture, but are influenced by artists, musicians, and social movements. People who have an active and connected lifestyle are often considered fashion “influencers”.
Western-style clothing styles first emerged in the late Middle Ages. Historians date the beginning of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century. The spread of democracy and industrialization led to the mass production of ready-to-wear clothing, which in turn influenced the development of haute couture in Paris. Famous couturiers during this period include Charles Frederick Worth and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Other notable couturiers in the fourteenth century were Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
The trickle-down theory assumes that clothing trends begin with the upper classes. The upper classes consume fashion and wear it to show off their wealth. However, fashion has become more complicated than that, especially since the advent of the internet. In other words, fashion trends have become more complicated than the old pyramid. As a result, consumers have become more creative and more materialistic in their tastes, which in turn influences the types of clothing they choose to buy.