The definition of fashion in the dictionary is “a popular trend especially in styles of dress, ornament or behavior.” This definition does not truly capture what fashion is about. For years, fashion has been used to identify time periods, groups of people and socioeconomic changes and to alter the way people think of themselves. These reasons alone should be enough to make people take the fashion industry seriously. The question still remains, is fashion really important?
Fashion can be clothing, but clothing cannot be fashion. Confusing? Someone that does not consider fashion to be an important aspect of society may feel that clothing and fashion are the same things. The philosophy above is an attempt to explain the meaning of fashion in a less complex way.
Contrary to belief, fashion differs greatly from typical clothing. It is used to create a persona, an overall image that can be altered. Clothing lacks identity and is often used to shield our naked bodies from watchful eyes, but something in society changed the importance of clothing. This shift in opinion was the birth of fashion. Individuals began to use basic clothes and put them together to create a look.
With every season, new ideas are interpreted into a slew of designs that float down runways. Fashion dies and is reborn again like a phoenix; its rebirth is ultimately dependent upon the person and how they feel about themselves, and the world around them.
In her book, “The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever,” fashion writer Teri Agins said, “The power now belongs to us, the consumers, who decide what we want to wear, when to [buy] it and how much we pay for it. And nowadays, consumers are a lot savvier and more skeptical when it comes to fashion.”
This is why fashion changes so often. A new image is created with every season. With so many different fashion houses, a plain Jane can easily create their own fantasy and interpretation of the world by slipping in and out of a dress. Fashion has been used to create confidence deep within the wearer. This is why millions of dollars are spent on designer labels each year.
“At every level of society, people care greatly about the way that they look, which affects both their self-esteem and the way other people interact with them,” Agins wrote.
London fashion designer Alexander McQueen said “The clothes I design are strong—they are meant to build confidence.”
If someone has low self-esteem, a new wardrobe may increase their confidence. This is how people eventually grow to have a favorite dress or sweater. So in essence, if you look good, you feel good.
Individuals also use fashion to create an image for themselves.
Fashion can alter a person’s overall image. This idea can come from the ideal image that a person has of themself. For example, if a person starts acting more mature, they will alter their wardrobe to reflect their inner emotions. They might wear more sophisticated fashions, such as clothing that is less revealing or is tailored.
Someone’s image may also change if they want to fit in with a certain group of people. They might change their style around so that it reflects those of the desired group. Though fashion is loved by men and women, women are (in general) more willing to invest more in fashion. A large percentage of women are more likely to spend time planning and paying for a new seasonal wardrobe. No matter what the percentage difference is, members of both sexes are willing to change or enhance their image.
Emotions also have a way of dictating the way an individual dresses. Most of the time, people may wear a certain dress to express the way they feel, as well as their opinions. Different styles of fashion express different emotions. Fashion designers base their whole career off of making a connection with the true nature of the customer. For example, if someone primarily wears fashions that are bright, they may be expressing to the world that they are a happy and positive person.
This is not to say that dark dress expresses grief or seclusion, though dark colors are used for funerals. If a person wears dark colors they may have a more classic style.
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