Fashion is a societal expression of culture, style and individuality. The term is primarily used to describe clothing, although the styles of dress can also encompass jewelry, shoes, bags and accessories. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry that is constantly evolving and changing to reflect new technologies, consumer demands and social trends. It can be viewed as a form of art that provides individuals the opportunity to express their creativity both by designing new clothing, and by wearing it. However, the exploitation of fashion by business people who promote specific brands or designs for profit can be damaging to society.
In the past, fashion was largely driven by cultural and ethnic identity; for example, judges wore robes, soldiers wore uniforms and brides wore long white dresses. More recently, cultural change may have a greater influence on what is considered fashionable. For instance, in the 1920s, women’s fashion went through a radical change that included shorter hemlines, drastic hair cuts and Art Deco style influences. This was a time of great liberation for women and reflected in their choice of clothes.
Currently, the fashion industry has become very fast paced. The time it takes for a designer’s creation to get from the runway to store shelves can be counted in days rather than months. This has made some designers and consumers push for a faster, more mass-produced approach to fashion. This could potentially decrease quality and increase the number of consumers who purchase low-quality, poorly designed clothing that will quickly go out of style.