The Evolution of Fashion

Fashion is a multibillion dollar global enterprise. It includes the high fashion of the runways in Paris and New York as well as the mass-produced clothing sold in malls and markets around the world. Fashion serves as a mirror to society, reflecting cultural and social dynamics. Different eras, social movements and political agendas can be traced through the evolution of fashion.

Aside from its commercial aspect, fashion also symbolizes the way people express themselves. Clothes communicate a message that can be silent or loud, subtle or intense, and can convey an idea of a person’s status in life or in the community. For example, the gothic style of dark black clothes with heavy makeup and brightly colored hair is often associated with a marginalized or repressed social group. Fashion can also be used to create a sense of belonging and camaraderie, as in the case of the “goth” high school group or the hip-hop crew.

The fashion industry depends on consumers to set trends. Often, what was popular in one time period will become out of style in the next. For something to be considered fashion, it must be followed by the majority of the consumer market. It is for this reason that the definition of fashion can be difficult to pin down.

In the past, trends were set by the elite. Women’s magazines would print sketches of the latest dresses worn by society members. In the 1700s, newspaper clippings showed what the wealthy were wearing at fashionable dances. Now, trends are set by a combination of social and cultural forces, with the media playing an important role in popularizing them.

Musicians, actors, athletes and politicians are often seen as fashion icons. Their styles may inspire an entire generation of young people. But fashion can also be inspired by those who are not considered a part of the elite: people who ride bikes, live in rural areas or wear clothing with visible marks from working in manual labor. These types of people can be referred to as “counterfashioners” or “anti-fashionists.” In the case of counterfashion, the goal is to reject the trends set by the fashion industry and instead create a style of their own.

Bloggers and social media personalities are now some of the most influential voices in fashion. Their opinions and tips can be spread quickly and widely through the internet. In addition, bloggers and vloggers can help build the confidence of plus-sized women who are often underrepresented in the fashion industry. They can promote the belief that there is a style for every body type and encourage women to love their own looks. According to CivicScience, a company that conducts market research for the fashion industry, nostalgia is the most common motivation behind buying new clothes. It was found that 26% of American adults rank the early 2000s as their favorite fashion decade. With many styles of clothing expected to repeat themselves in 20-year cycles, it may only be a matter of time before low-rise jeans reappear.