What is Fashion?

Fashion is a global industry that encompasses design, production and retail. Fashion shows itself in many different ways: it can be portrayed through clothing, jewellery, shoes, bags, accessories, body language, and even a person’s diction. It is a highly globalized industry, with the clothing often designed in one country and manufactured in another, then distributed internationally.

Fashion can be a cultural phenomenon, like the rise of the qipao in China in the 1920s, or a fad, like the mullet haircut or high-waist jeans in the 1980s. Fashion is also a process, with the current styles constantly changing and new trends emerging. Fashion is cyclical, with popular styles expected to repeat themselves every 20 years. This is why that old coat you discarded may suddenly reappear in your closet, or that pair of skinny jeans you threw out could be relegated to the back of your closet again.

It is hard to trace how a particular trend becomes fashionable, and it can be almost impossible to tell how something reaches from the streets of Brooklyn or the inner city to the runways of Paris. Some of the gateskeepers that influence the emergence of a fashion trend include designers, people in marketing, buyers or others in the fashion industry, and celebrities (Reilly, 2012).

Style is a personal thing. It’s important to figure out what your style is and stick with it. That said, it’s also fun to try out a variety of looks and see what feels right for you. Just make sure to keep your body type and lifestyle in mind. Those crazy distressed jeans won’t look so great when you are working at an office.