Fashion is a subject that is highly controversial and has many different viewpoints. While some people love fashion and enjoy following trends, others dislike it and find it a waste of time. Some even think that it is a form of a cult and that people blindly follow what celebrities wear. It is important to understand that not everything that is trendy is fashionable and that one should look for things that are timeless and classic rather than going for the latest fad.
Traditionally, clothes have been used not only as a means of covering the body and gratifying vanity but also as a form of social identity, conveying status, rank, age, occupation and personality. The robes worn by nuns, the long dresses of Victorian women, the miniskirts of the 1960s all communicated specific meanings, ranging from a sense of freedom and emancipation to an endorsement of femininity or rejection of vanity. Even today, judges wear robes, soldiers wear uniforms, and brides wear white dresses.
A specialized field of study known as fashion studies is concerned with the ways in which social and cultural change are reflected in and translated into clothing. It is a complex field of inquiry that takes into account not only the aesthetic and economic factors involved in the creation of clothing but also the ways in which such changes are mediated, i.e., reflected in the images of clothing that appear in magazines, films, and on TV.
Historically, the main catalyst for change in fashion has been the introduction of new types of materials. However, the globalization of the economy has made this less of a factor than in the past.
Another major factor in the development of fashion is the evolution of the mass media. In the 1950s, fashion segments began to appear on television shows. The popularity of these segments led to the proliferation of dedicated fashion shows and the establishment of major fashion magazines such as Vogue, which has become one of the world’s most famous publications.
Fashion is also the result of individual taste and self-image, which are both influenced by popular culture and shaped by it. Celebrities, musicians and other popular icons influence what is considered fashionable, and newspapers and magazines report on their clothing choices. For example, ripped jeans became popular after a popular rock band started wearing them.
It is hard to trace the origins of a particular trend or fad, and it is equally difficult to determine what will remain “in fashion” for any given length of time. Trends and fads may be closely related to the music, movies and books that are currently popular, but they are also influenced by the social and political climate. They may also be a reflection of the time in which they are created. For example, the hemlines of the 1970s mirrored the protest movements of the time. In addition, as societies become more sophisticated and aware of their environmental impact, fashions may change to reflect these concerns.