Fashion is a cultural phenomenon that influences the entire world. This multi-billion dollar global industry encompasses a range of industries including clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and even language. Fashion can also be a mode of self-expression that is used to show solidarity or sympathy with others. The term is often used to refer to a particular style or trend of dress, but it can also be seen as a general style of expression. The concept of fashion is continually changing, as tastes and trends change over time.
In order to be considered fashionable, a certain style must be popular enough to be followed by the masses. This can happen through various means, such as television, magazines, and the internet. It can also be spread through a network of social relationships. Often, the most popular styles will be replicated and modified by designers for further commercial use. This process is sometimes criticized as exploitative of those not involved in the creation of the original design, as it deprives them of their intellectual property rights.
Fashion can be both an art form and a mirror of society, reflecting and distorting our perceptions of beauty. It can be empowering and regressive, elegant and trashy, perfect and sloppy. However, it is the most powerful form of consumer capitalism and is therefore dependent on financial capital for its survival. The beginnings of continual and accelerating change in European fashion can be fairly reliably dated to late medieval times, when new materials became available for making clothes, especially wool, and embroidery techniques were refined.