Fashion is a social phenomenon and an expression of personal taste. Fashion has also been used to distinguish social classes, as exemplified in Albrecht Dürer’s drawing of a well-dressed Nuremberg bourgeoise wearing lace stockings and a long, narrow skirt with a hoop. The modern world of fashion is a multibillion-dollar global industry, encompassing the design, production, and marketing of clothing and accessories, as well as research and development. The industry is characterized by rapid and continual changes in style and trends.
A trend is a new direction in a garment, accessory, hairstyle, or lifestyle that is followed by people who want to look up-to-date and stylish. These changes are usually influenced by cultural, social and economic factors. For example, a certain era may be characterized by an emphasis on comfort and practicality, or by an obsession with youth culture. Fashions also vary according to age, social class, generation and occupation.
People use clothing to protect themselves from weather and other external hazards. The first clothes were made from animal skin and later, with the advent of civilizations, people began to weave fabrics. The invention of sewing machines, and later the development of factories allowed for the mass production of clothes. It is estimated that the current world population uses more than a billion tons of fabric each year. This enormous amount of fabric is made into clothing, accessories, and household goods.
The fashion industry is a worldwide business with production centers located all over the world. A large number of designers and manufacturers are employed in the fashion business. Fashion is a highly competitive industry, and keeping up with the latest trends can be expensive. It is therefore important to find a balance between staying fashionable and spending excessive amounts of money.
In the past, a new fashion would take between 10 and 15 years to permeate the entire country. However, once rail travel became popular, mass communication was facilitated and new designs could be spread more quickly. The emancipation of women and changes in lifestyle also accelerated the speed of change in clothing and other fashions.
Some people like to follow the latest trends in fashion and are known as “fashionistas.” Others dislike the changing fashions and avoid purchasing new items. They are sometimes called “fashion victims.” However, following the latest fashion can make a person seem out-of-date and snobbish. Moreover, the latest fashions are often designed by companies that seek profit. This can lead to environmental and social problems. In addition, it can encourage consumerism. Therefore, many critics believe that the current fast-paced changes in fashion are damaging to society.