What Is Fashion?

Fashion is everywhere: magazines and books are dedicated to it, TV programs dedicate hours of transmission time to it, and people discuss it constantly with their friends. Fashion is powerful: trends set the tone for the whole world and yet they still leave space for individual styles to be portrayed.

It’s also a form of art and expression. A bold and daring outfit can tell a story or express beliefs. During the noughties, fashion was all about being different and pushing boundaries. Clothes could be outrageous, artistically ripped, or covered in gold leaf patterns. And yet, they were considered fashion as long as the general public accepted them and even praised them.

The word fashion means anything that is in style at any given moment. It may be a certain way of dressing, speaking or acting, and it can also refer to a particular period in history: “that era was so groovy”. It can also describe something that is popular, trendy or hip, as in “to be in fashion.”

Fashion changes rapidly. It is widely believed that changes in fashion reflect societal changes or the financial interests of designers and manufacturers. But recent research suggests that there are internal taste mechanisms that drive fashions as well. For example, it is unlikely that the choice of a baby name will be driven by commercial interests, but there is evidence that it can be affected by fashions in what parents are looking for in a child’s personality.

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