What is Fashion?

Fashion is a multifaceted industry that includes clothing, footwear, accessories and cosmetics. It also refers to the style and trends of different cultural aesthetics as signifiers of self-expression and group belonging.

The design and manufacture of clothing are huge businesses employing millions of people worldwide. The industry is influenced by cultural and social trends as well as business tactics, with designers working on the latest designs to maximise profits and market share.

Symbolic of the time, clothing can be used as a tool for identification and communication, from judges’ robes to brides’ white dresses or military uniforms. Clothing can even be a political weapon, as evidenced by the banning of French clothes in nineteenth century England or the use of uniforms in communist revolutions. Clothes can also reflect a lifestyle, from flamboyant designer wear to practical everyday workwear.

Fashion is a constantly changing entity, reflecting the times in which we live and our underlying motivations. It is often a reflection of the zeitgeist, with eras and social movements having their own unique styles. It is also an art form, with the ephemerality of popular fashions causing it to be a highly volatile and competitive field. Individuals with a keen sense of fashion will be on top of the latest trends, and will know what to look out for. They will have a good understanding of what their customers want and need, so they can provide them with the most appealing and sellable products.