What Is Fashion?


Fashion is a multifaceted concept covering trends, styles, and aesthetics. As a form of cultural expression, it also serves as an indicator of social status, self-image, and group belonging. For a particular style to be considered “fashionable” it must be widespread enough that others are influenced to follow it. This process of dissemination may occur within a culture or community, through the use of magazines and celebrity endorsements, or in a more global way through viral memes and social media.

There is often a Catch-22 in the popularity of a particular fashion; once it reaches critical mass, it will quickly become out-of-style and then require a new trend to take its place. This is known as the bell curve. This is why fashion designers like Balmain work so hard to stay ahead of the curve; they want to create a look that will be popular for as long as possible, thus increasing their profits.

The popularity of a particular fashion is also dependent on its ability to resonate with a wider audience; this is why some fashions are universal while others are specific to a certain social class or region. For example, the miniskirt was considered a symbol of female liberation during the rise of feminism, while a cassock or nun’s robe represents a rejection of vanity.

In general, those with more status or wealth are able to afford to be more experimental with their clothing and often set trends that others will imitate. This is why celebrities, models and other high-profile figures are often referred to as fashion icons; they are able to influence the wider public’s taste and create new trends.

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