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What is Fashion?

Fashion is a term used interchangeably to describe the creation of clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, and jewelry of different cultural aesthetics and their mix and match into outfits that depict distinctive ways of dressing (styles and trends) as signifiers of social status and group belonging.

What is Fashion?
Fashion in different contexts – industry, design, runway, shop, and celebrities.

The term ‘fashion’ originates from the Latin word ‘Facere,’ which means ‘to make,’ and describes the manufacturing, mixing, and wearing of outfits adorned with specific cultural aesthetics, patterns, motifs, shapes, and cuts, allowing people to showcase their group belonging, values, beliefs, and ways of life.

The Multiple Facets of Fashion

Often used as a concurrent term to style, trend, and aesthetic concerning the look of people or objects (stylish, trendy, fashionable), the word fashion has a multifaceted, complex meaning.

Fashion Meanings
Different facets of fashion.

In this section, we’ll show the multiple facets of fashion (as a term) and its association with styles, aesthetics, and trends.

Fashion as an Industry

The fashion industry encapsulates fashion design, manufacturing, advertising, and retail.

Earlies forms of ‘fashioning’ people emerged in medieval times through custom-made clothing by dressmakers and tailors.

At the start of the 20th century, the process of making fashion (clothes and accessories) was accelerated by technological advancements and the rise in global trade.

Fashion Industry
Fashion as an industry

Mass producers and retailers of clothes and accessories formed what we now call the fashion industry, one of the world’s largest employers with a significant share of world economic output.

The fashion industry comprises international manufacturers (fiber, textiles, leather, rubber, fur, etc.), fashion designers, transport and packaging contractors, fashion advertisers, and retailers.

Clothing is designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold worldwide; raw materials from China, stitched in India and Vietnam, accessorized, labeled, and packaged in Italy and France, and sold worldwide from the United States.


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