What Is Fashion?

Fashion is an ever-changing and influential form of personal expression and identity. It is a combination of cultural aesthetics and ideas, expressed through clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, and jewelry. People use clothes to distinguish themselves from others, and as symbols of social status, occupation, culture, or geography. The term is generally used to refer to a popular trend in dress, but it also describes an entire industry of design and production, with many subsets including ready-to-wear, haute couture, and prêt-à-porter.

Some forms of fashion are considered functional, but most of it is designed to be beautiful and desirable. The design process is influenced by cultural and social trends, and the fashion industry is characterized by fast-changing consumer tastes. The fashion business is highly competitive, with the top companies being internationally renowned designers and recognizable brands.

Many of the most famous fashion brands and designers are American, such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Coach, Vans, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, and Converse. In the past, fashion magazines were the primary source of information about current and upcoming trends, but in recent years television has gained a significant influence in this area, with dedicated fashion shows and celebrity style critiques.

The origins of modern Western fashion are often dated to the early fourteenth century, with the most dramatic changes occurring in the mid-thirteenth century. The modern concept of gender division in clothing, which separates men’s and women’s styles, was introduced around this time, with the earliest references to specific clothing types being found in illuminated manuscripts. Historians believe that the gradual emergence of gender-specific clothing can be traced to the 14th century, when men’s overgarments were gradually tightened and shrunk from calf length to just covering the buttocks.

Throughout history, styles of clothing have varied widely across cultures, with some periods of more or less freedom of choice. In modern times, the most influential fashion statements are made by celebrities, politicians, and leaders of industry and commerce. They set the tone for what is fashionable and, in some cases, dictate trends, for example, when Jean-Paul Gaultier launched his line of high fashion womenswear in 1984. Historically, people have also looked to artists and craftspeople for inspiration and guidance on what to wear. Artists’ paintings and sculptures and the dresses and shoes worn by historical figures have been reproduced for centuries, while the fashions of the 1700s were often reported in newspapers and magazines.

Writing an article about fashion can be exciting and rewarding. Because the industry is always seeking new inspiration and hot trends, there will always be plenty of topics to write about. However, it is important to keep in mind that fashion articles need to be well researched and cited. Readers are looking for informative, intelligently written pieces that show the writer has taken the time to consider his or her subject and that he or she has not simply been swept up in the latest fad.