Updated on November 3, 2022 by Sarina Tariq
To answer the question of “what is fashion” is simple- Fashion is how people present themselves. It is the art of expressing your sense of beauty through clothes. Fashion is dressing in clothes that bring out the best of your body while impressing to others the excellent taste of the wearer. From a broader perspective, it is also a reflection of the society we live in.
Characteristics of fashion
Fashion is self expression
There has been a change from the past when clothes were a means of displaying wealth and position. Fashion is more of a self expression than anything else today. It expresses what you are in a matter of seconds.
As Miuccia Bianchi Prada the famous Italian fashion designer said “Fashion is instant language“
Fashion has a shelf life
Fashion mirrors the latest trends and it is moving very fast, faster than ever. What is fashionable today, achieves its peak of popularity and then disappears. When we look at a fashion style that was last season, we know it is dated. Old – for the time being.
Obsolescence is dreaded by all of us. To keep up with the society is to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Fashion is cyclical
Fashion cycles are expected to repeat themselves every 20 years – most of the popular styles reappear. It is just a matter of time before a fading style becomes popular once again. So if you did discard your low rise jeans, you may be regretting it now – they are back in fashion.
Fashion is not constant, unless it is the classics
One constant quality of fashion is that it is not at all constant. Fashion is ephemeral – it changes so fast – in the blink of an eye that coat you bought could get old-fashioned.
Discarding the old for something new every single season is something most people take for granted in the ever-changing world of fashion. In fact, it is said that the industry quite encourages this trend – how else would we buy more and more of the clothes that they design?
But there are some clothes which defy all the trends – some classics which will always be fashionable like the little black dress.
Fashion is not clothing alone
Fashion encompasses many other things in our everyday life, other than clothes and accessories – you can be fashionable in your choice of home, car, its decor, even the places where you eat and relax.
Fashion is business
And not to forget that it is a multi-billion dollar global and many a time, consumers are influenced by the business tactics of big conglomerates who decide on what should be fashionable. After all the industry employs around 300 million people all around the world and business must go on.
When Eve wanted a dress, Adam had to scour all the trees in the whole domain for the best of the leaves – the discerning tastes of women in fashion seem to have started early.
Eves of today have it easy – they can select the latest style of clothes and accessories in the latest designs and latest colors, which is what FASHION is all about, even from the comforts of their home.
No longer do humans wear clothes just to protect their bodies from the environment or with the sole purpose of covering the body. And no longer do we have to limit ourselves to a handful of clothes to satisfy our desire for beautiful things.
8 types of fashion
Haute couture wear
This refers to the luxury end of the market where fashion designers make clothes for the individual client – handmade, exclusive, fashion designs that only the very rich can afford; they are made to measure and personalized.
The consumer who craves to have a one-of-a-kind piece gets it at an exorbitant price – this is couture fashion. This exclusive, exceptional and very expensive clothing is made to the individual’s size and specification and will be one of its kind.
Limited edition fashion
This refers to the fashion that designers reserve for people who want something different and exclusive, but at a more affordable price point than haute couture.
Most brands come up with limited edition fashion collections; Wrangler limited edition jeans, Puma limited edition sneakers, J crew limited edition clothing are examples. Most of the limited edition run limits its product offering to 20 products at any given time
Designer wear fashion
This is the fashion wear that is available in the stores and boutiques. These are collections belonging to major designers but they are not as expensive as couture fashion wear.
This refers to clothes that stand the test of time. The fashion for these clothes never go out of style. They will be made of expensive quality fabrics and shows top-notch workmanship. They can be worn through many seasons without them looking out of fashion or dated
This is a fashion that is mass-produced for the masses at a cheaper price. Also called Affordable fashion, this is mostly aimed at a younger generation who craves for latest styles at a lesser cost. Cheap quality fabric and compromises in production results in the reduction of prices
This is an affordable and accessible ready-to-wear fashion collection belonging to a major designer who usually sells expensive couture garments; it is made for the masses. Eg D&G by Dolce & Gabbana. This is a way for ordinary women to wear designer garments which are usually affordable only to the rich
A short-lived fashion, usually lasting as short as a few days or at the most a few months
This refers to affordable, stylish clothing that integrates ecological/ environmental concerns – from sourcing the materials to the production, everything is green inspired; It is basically, fashion that was made responsibly.
Main drivers of fashion
➧ Fashion designers, jewelers, shoe designers
➧ Big brands
➧ Styles of the past
➧ New trends in fabric manufacturing.
➧ Fashion magazines and their editors.
➧ Models, Fashion illustrators, photographers who bring out the vision of the designers to life
➧ Men and women from the upper echelons of society (TV & film stars, politicians, entrepreneurs), from the world of literature and art, and social media celebrities who influence people.
How does designer fashion come about
Designers present their fashion collections through Fashion shows. January and July are the months for displaying couture and menswear fashion collections. October is the month for displaying spring/summer ready to wear clothes and March is the month for autumn /winter collections.
The fashion shows that display these collections will be attended by the fashion buyers and the fashion press. Fashion models walk the ramp showing off their creations to the best advantage. These creations will be slightly exaggerated and may not be suited to everyday wear. But the general idea is thus presented and then developed further to suit the everyday lifestyles of people wearing them.
Some myths prevalent about fashion
☟ Affordable fashion is a misnomer.
☟ Fashion is mostly the prerogative of the rich.
☟ Fashion is only for the catwalks and ramps.
☟ Fashion is decided by the designers.
All of these are myths – Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Individual style and fashion go hand in hand and it is the consumers who decide the fashion. The ordinary girl on the street has emerged as almost as sophisticated and discerning as any high style fashionista.
Fashion bloggers and Instagram celebrities are rewriting fashion chronicles – Fashion is ever changing and this is no truer than now, in these times of fast technological advances and social media and very short attention spans.
So What is Fashion for you?
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