What Is Fashion?

Fashion is a general term for a prevailing mode of expression, including dress, speech, and other aspects of a person’s appearance. It is often seen as a reflection of societal or cultural values, and can also be used to demonstrate one’s affiliation with a specific social group. In the past, adherence to fashionable trends was used as an indicator of one’s social class and status in a given group, but today, most people simply use it to express their individuality or to display their solidarity with a certain culture or movement (such as activism).

Because of its fast-turnover nature, fashion relies on mass dissemination and widespread adoption by consumers in order to remain relevant. This can be achieved through the use of a designer who creates and sells a line of clothes at high prices and through the establishment of trends by larger clothing manufacturers who then sell their knock-off versions to a broader market. This rapid turnover makes it difficult to sustain quality in a fashion line, and this has been a major contributor to the demise of many small or independent design companies.

There is a built-in Catch-22 in fashion that becomes apparent at the point where it reaches critical mass; once enough people adopt a particular style, it becomes “out of fashion” and changes rapidly. This is why it is important for designers and manufacturers to study the needs of their consumer base; this enables them to determine what kinds of trends will appeal most to their customers, and thus make their merchandise more appealing.