Fashion is the term used to describe changing trends in clothing, hairstyles and accessories. It is a huge industry and there are many people involved in its creation. It is a highly globalised industry and the production of clothing is often designed in one country, manufactured in another and then shipped to stores in a third country. The creation of fashion has always been a mixture of inspiration, change and creativity.
In modern times we are more concerned with how a piece of clothing looks than how it feels or whether it is ethically produced. This is largely because of the pressure from consumers and the need to be on trend. Creating a new style is a time consuming and expensive process. The development of fashion has also changed because of changes in the world economy and in technology. The development of the sewing machine allowed clothes to be mass-produced at a cheaper cost and this changed how people viewed clothing.
Clothes are a way of distinguishing ourselves and defining our roles. Judges wear robes, members of the military wear uniforms and brides wear white dresses. The clothing we wear also reflects our social group and can be used to create stereotypes or distance between groups. For example, a boy with green hair and multiple piercings may be seen by some as being part of the gothic sub culture while others might see him as someone who rejects conformity.
The main function of fashion is to act as a form of semiotic distinction. This is because it is easy for others to observe and is a way of displaying our personality and individuality. In addition to clothing, fashionable hairstyles and jewellery are other ways that we can show our differences.
In the past, it could take up to 15 years for a look to travel from city to country. Once rail travel became common, the speed of the cycle was increased and by the Edwardian Era it had become a yearly cycle.
People who are considered fashion icons have a huge influence on how we dress. This is especially true of women. People have been watching what the celebrities and royalty wear for centuries. They have been influenced by the clothes they saw them wearing and wanted to emulate their styles. This has been done in many different ways from buying their clothes to copying their hairstyles and makeup.
As well as the influence of the general public, there are also trendsetters who create their own styles and inspire others to follow them. These people are called fashion designers and there are many of them around the world. They are creative people with a good eye and an imaginative mind. They are the ones who decide what is in style at any given moment and they have a huge impact on how we dress. The success of a fashion designer can be measured by how quickly their designs sell and how many copies are made of them.