What is Fashion? Fashion has been in the language of the popular press for decades and as such, has acquired the reputation of being both elusive and capricious. This perception is both undeserved and situated upon the fact that fashion, like any other term, can be defined and described with certainty. With that in mind, it would seem that what is fashion is more than just a vague or ambiguous concept that is understood only by those who study it or watch it.
What is fashion? Fashion is a specific kind of self-expression and autonomy in a certain time and place and at a certain context, of dressing, footwear, clothing, accessories, hairstyle, body posture, and style. The term in its most general usage, refers to a definite look defined by the popular fashion industry as what is trendy. It might also be used, more descriptively, to refer to the ways in which clothes are made and what is considered to be fashionable or appropriate in those ways.
So, what is fashion? Fashion as a definition is determined by what is fashionable, what is popular, what is trendy, what is fashionable in the current cultural milieu in which one lives. Fashion as a concept is usually associated with what is fashionable in the narrow sense – the kinds of clothes that are worn and the kinds of designer clothing that are sold. But it can also be used to refer to the ideas that drive designers to create clothes that look good.
For a designer, what is fashion? For a clothing manufacturer, what is fashion? For consumers who can afford expensive clothing, what is fashion? And, yes, even for the people who cannot afford expensive clothing, what is fashion is still important to them.
Fashion designers and manufacturers draw inspiration from many different aspects of what is fashionable when they conceptualize new styles. For instance, movie stars and sports figures often influence the kinds of clothes that are considered to be “cool.” When sportscasters wear tees with shorter sleeves than they would in other settings, the sportscasters’ clothing becomes cool, just as celebrity jewelry, videos and music are considering to have a cool factor. And what is fashion? Is it only what is stylish? While some consider it to be only what makes one dress up to look like what is fashionable, others see it as making one dress down to look like what is in keeping with the times.
Fashion designers, manufacturers and consumers all play a part in what is fashion. And because of the ever-changing face of fashion, it is important that people keep up with what is fashionable so that they can follow the changing trends and wear clothes that will make them look fashionable. People who cannot afford expensive clothes can still wear what is in style, just as long as they can afford it. Just know what is fashion before you wear it!