Fashion is a multifaceted phenomenon. It encompasses the creation of clothing and other textile products (such as hats, bags, shoes, and jewelry) that reflect different cultural aesthetics as a form of self-expression. It also consists of a range of styles, trends, and designs that convey different meanings, including social status, self-image, and group identity.
It is generally accepted that the fashion industry is driven by external forces such as changes in society and commercial interests. However, recent research has shown that there are internal forces as well which may drive changes in fashion, for example the discovery of a new type of fabric or a new way to make a garment. This research has led some scholars to argue that there is a need for greater academic involvement in the study of fashion.
For something to be considered as a fashion it must be widely disseminated and adopted. This can happen through the traditional top-down process of designer clothes becoming popular and then being copied by manufacturers and sold at a more affordable price to the masses (“trickle down”). It can also be through media (such as films, television shows, and viral memes) or through word of mouth between friends (“bubble up”).
Fashion is a highly dynamic and complex system which can change quickly. It is often seen that the styles and trends of one decade influence the style of the next. This has been attributed to the changing needs of societies which want to appear modern and sophisticated while still maintaining a sense of history and tradition. Popular culture is also a major factor in the development of fashion as it provides a constant stream of ideas and inspiration for designers and consumers.