Fashion is a style that changes over time, it can refer to anything from a particular hairstyle to the length of your skirt. It has a huge impact on our daily lives and is an important part of culture. It is also a form of self-expression and can convey messages about your personality.
It has a massive influence on the economy as it is an industry in its own right. The industry includes designers, manufacturers and retailers. There is also a big market for replica or knock-off clothing which can be cheaper than the original.
People wear clothes to communicate, they show who you are and what you believe in. This is true whether you are a Goth with green hair and multiple piercings or a high-end designer wearing the latest in silks and satins. Clothes can show what group you belong to – in high school groups are often named after their styles (goth, skater, prep etc) and can create stereotypes and distance between groups.
A lot of what we wear is influenced by celebrities and the media. Musicians and actors have always been a big influence but it is becoming more common for political figures and royalty to be the inspiration for our wardrobes too. For example, newspapers and magazines often report on what Hillary Clinton or Diana the Princess of Wales is wearing. This has a significant impact on our fashion choices and can make us want to buy the same type of outfit or to avoid the same type of outfit altogether.
Another aspect of fashion is its ephemeral nature, it can change rapidly. This can be due to a new celebrity, an event or simply a change in taste. The industry is always trying to come up with new trends and fads to keep consumers buying their products. This is also why many people like to shop as it gives them a chance to try out different types of clothing and to see what they look good in.
There is a long list of influences that contribute to the changes in fashion such as the economy, society and the environment. There are also more personal reasons for people to change their appearance such as a new job or a relationship, a move into the city or a desire to be perceived in a different way.
The current fashion industry is also changing with the introduction of new technologies and online shopping. This has accelerated the pace at which clothes move from the runway to the shops and has given rise to the concept of “see now, buy now”, whereby a trend seen on the catwalk is available in stores within days rather than months.
The potential of clothing to change the world is immense and we are already beginning to see the effects. Fashion can be a powerful tool to promote positive social and environmental change, for example, in collaboration with chemistry and engineering researchers at the London College of Fashion, Professor Helen Storey MBE and chemist Tony Ryan have designed a catalytic dress called Herself which uses textiles impregnated with photocatalyst to purify air.