Fashion is a multifaceted and complex topic with many aspects that are important to explore. Fashion encompasses an industry, styles, aesthetics, and trends. But more than anything, it is a socio-cultural phenomenon with the power to influence and change society. It is a mirror of our society, both a reflection and distortion. It is the child and parent of capitalism, both in terms of material and symbolic capital. And like any mirror, it must be looked at with care and consideration.
While it is commonly seen as a superficial phenomenon that merely influences the way people dress, it also has a significant impact on culture, society and politics. Fashion can be a way to communicate, define one’s identity and social class, as well as a means of gratifying vanity. It can also be a medium to promote certain ideas and viewpoints, for example the miniskirt was associated with feminism during the 1960s and represented freedom and emancipation for women. Similarly, cassocks and nuns’ robes are symbolic of the renunciation of vanity.
It is also a form of art, with designers and fashion illustrators being a crucial part of the process. In addition to influencing the styles and fashions that are popular, these artists can also create and develop new and innovative fashion trends that are not based on previous or existing ones. This helps to maintain the relevance and freshness of the industry, which is something that is essential for a successful business.
There are a variety of theories about how and why fashions change and are disseminated. One such theory is called the trickle-down theory, which suggests that those in higher social classes set the style and fashions that are followed by those in lower socioeconomic statuses. Another theory, called the diffusion of style, argues that individuals choose to adopt certain styles at particular times. This can be done by observing the behavior of others in a given group, by looking at magazines or newspapers, and by using viral media.
In order for something to be considered a fashion, it must be circulated widely and have followers. This can be done through magazines, newspapers, television articles, or even on the internet. The fashion world is filled with gatekeepers, such as fashion designers, fashion houses, and celebrities. These gatekeepers are a major force in determining how quickly and widely a particular style is adopted, as well as whether it is a fad or classic (Reilly, 2012).