What is Fashion?

Fashion is a set of established trends that dictate how people dress, and it varies by time, culture, and location. It has also been described as a mirror of society, reflecting and channeling social change. In recent decades, newspapers, TV and the internet have devoted extensive coverage to fashion, as well as magazines and music.

Fashion can be as simple as a particular type of color or as complex as an entire outfit. The basic principles remain the same, but every individual adds their own flair and style. In order to be considered fashion, a trend must be adopted by a significant portion of the population and deemed appropriate for a given time and situation. Fashion can be influenced by celebrities, athletes and other public figures as well as by the media.

Clothes reveal many things about a person, including their age, social class, and occupation. They can also communicate political views, e.g. the miniskirt became a symbol of feminism and freedom, while cassocks or nuns’ robes can be seen as a sign of renunciation. They can also create a sense of distance between groups; for example, a boy with green hair and multiple piercings might be perceived as a rebel and outsider by other students, while within his own group he may be viewed as a strict conformist.

The origins of fashion are hard to pinpoint, but historians usually consider the start of continual and accelerating changes in clothing styles to be around the middle of the 14th century. The emergence of fashion as an art form was probably earlier, although it was not widely practiced until the 1700s.

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