What is Fashion?

Fashion is the style and practice of dress and appearance, especially in the manner in which something is worn or presented. Fashion is influenced by social, cultural and economic factors. Clothing styles change over time and can be reflected in a person’s taste, personality, beliefs, values, and lifestyle.

The term fashion is also used to describe the multibillion-dollar global enterprise devoted to the design, production, retailing and promotion of clothing and other accessories, such as shoes and jewelry. The industry encompasses everything from the haute couture (literally “high sewing”) of the high-end designer brands to the everyday casual wear of millions of people worldwide.

Fashions may vary significantly within a society, according to age, social class, generation, occupation and geography. People with a particular style or interest, such as a celebrity, may inspire new fashion trends. The fashion industry often relies on seasonal changes to keep customers coming back, though individualized styles also influence individual consumers.

The word fashion is also commonly associated with anything new, the latest version of a product, such as the clothing, hairstyle, music or manner of speech that is popular at a particular time. For example, a fashionable haircut or dress may be a new style that has replaced the older, less attractive style that was in fashion at an earlier time. The fast pace of change in modern fashions sometimes creates controversy. Some people believe that the reliance on constantly changing styles reflects the negative aspects of capitalism, as it promotes wasteful consumption and encourages individuals to buy goods they do not need. Others, however, see the rapid change as a way to experience a wide range of new and interesting things.

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