What Is Fashion?


Fashion is a style or trend that dictates how clothes are worn and what articles of clothing are currently in vogue. The word “fashion” also refers to the fashion industry, which includes clothing design, production and distribution. Fashion is an extremely important factor in the economy of many nations, employing millions of people globally. It can influence global culture through trends and imitation, and it can be used as a form of self-expression or social affiliation.

Many styles are culturally specific and may differ significantly between communities, regions or time periods. Certain fashions may be considered fads or crazes, while others have long-lasting appeal. Fashion can also be used as a means of social control, such as in the case of the Chinese qipao (formal dresses with stand collars, trumpet sleeves and straight silhouettes) during the 1920s.

Changes in fashion can be caused by economic, political and technological factors. Economic factors include the availability of materials and the cost of labor. Technology can influence fashion through the introduction of new machines for sewing and knitting, or by enabling the production of garments in bulk, known as fast fashion, by large chains with worldwide operations.

In the United States, the fashion industry is the largest employer in the creative industries. In the twenty-first century, the industry has expanded to include a wide range of products such as shoes, cosmetics and furniture. The media plays an important role in fashion, with magazines such as Vogue and Elle generating massive revenue, and television shows like Project Runway and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show creating a global audience. Online fashion blogs and social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have become a major outlet for sharing personal style and fashion tips.