The Definition of Fashion


The term fashion may refer to a particular style or trend, especially in clothing. It can also refer to a way of behaving, writing or performing that is popular at one time. In recent decades, print and electronic media, TV and the internet have given a lot of attention to the fashion industry.

Clothes are not just a way to cover oneself and satisfy vanity; they can communicate a great deal about our culture, age, social class, personality and lifestyle. For example, the miniskirt was a statement against censorship and a symbol of freedom and emancipation for women, while nuns’ robes reflect their renunciation of vanity and self-indulgence. They can also reflect our social values and even serve as a mirror of our inner selves.

While the term fashion is generally associated with clothing, it can also apply to other items that are used to adorn the body such as footwear, jewelry, and cosmetics. The fashion industry includes the creation, design, manufacture and marketing of clothing. Fashion designers create new styles or adapt existing ones to meet changing consumer demands. These trends are often driven by cultural, social and political changes as well as by advances in technology.

For a style to be considered as fashion, it must be adopted by a significant portion of the population in order to maintain its status. This is referred to as mass adoption or diffusion. In most cases, new trends begin with fashion innovators or fashion leaders, often referred to as influencers. These people promote or demonstrate the new styles to their followers who then adopt them.

Once a fashion becomes established, the lines between it and anti-fashion are blurred as elements of what was once deemed non-fashion, such as an element from ethnic dress, become swept up in the wave of change and acquire a different meaning. This is known as the process of commodification, where what was once considered anti-fashion is transformed into mainstream fashion.

The definition of fashion varies and can be subjective, as it depends on personal taste and perception. Nevertheless, there are certain basic principles that govern the fashion industry. These include the fact that fashion is cyclical, that there are always new trends emerging, and that the newest fashions tend to be copied from previous ones.

In addition, fashion is influenced by celebrities and other public figures. This is why newspapers and magazines feature articles on the clothes of politicians and other dignitaries. The same is true of music stars and actors. During the reign of Louis XIV, for instance, dressmakers and women outside the French court pored over fashion magazines to see what he wore. This is a clear indication that fashion can have a powerful social impact, particularly when it comes to showcasing aspirations and emulating power.