Fashion is a multifaceted concept describing clothing, footwear and accessories that convey distinct trends in culture and aesthetics. It’s a multibillion dollar industry that includes haute couture (expensive designer clothing) and mass-market consumer products, and that’s constantly evolving and adapting to new technologies and consumer demands. Fashion is also about ideas, and can be seen in art, music, film, and literature.
It is a social phenomenon, and to be deemed as “fashion” it must be spread amongst groups of people. This can be achieved in several ways, including direct diffusion from the fashion elite to the masses through magazines, movies and television (“trickle-down”), or by the media’s influence on the consumer’s taste and lifestyle, such as through tv and celebrity culture (“bubble up/trickle-across”). It may even be influenced by cultural events, such as sporting competitions and political events. The evolution of fashion is often very rapid, and can be accelerated by the use of new technology.
In order for something to be considered fashion it must have broad popular appeal, and this can be a difficult task to judge. It’s easy to see how a trend can move from the streets of Paris to the runways of Milan, but it is more difficult to trace how a style of clothing becomes popular. That is why it’s so important to stay plugged in; use your daily environment as your test lab and watch what everyone else is wearing (in a non-creepy way, of course). This will help you understand how and why some outfits work and others don’t.