Fashion is an abstract form of individuality and self-expression in a certain time and place and at a certain context, of apparel, footwear, fashion, life, accessories, make-up, hairstyling, and even body posture. In its broader usage, the word also indicates a style defined by the fashion industry, which is what is usually trending. It can be used to refer to the aesthetic sensibility or reaction of objects, which they reflect in their being made, to their being worn, to their being re-used, or simply to their defining characteristics. These may be perceived by their users as representative of culture, age, or social context.
There has been considerable discussion in the art and design fields about what constitutes high fashion and what is commonly termed fashionable or popular. High fashion is generally considered to have emerged from the 1950s onward, with the French Revolution and the French Indochina model of fashion creating a revolutionary new standard of dress for the modern world. This movement, which was sparked by artists such as Dadaism, concerned itself with creating revolutionary and oppositional styles of dress. It developed and led to the current art of wearing clothing as a distinct and original practice, which came to be recognized as high fashion.
High fashion trends can often be found in the designs of everyday clothing. The items that were most popular during any given fashion week, are the items that are in constant flux, always changing in form and function, often taking on new forms and new designs. Commonly, clothes are seen through the lens of the designer as representative of the changing times, presenting us with new trends in clothing.
High fashion designers continually look for new technologies to support their designs. This is most common with designers who create clothing for women, as clothing designed for men represents technological limitations. The most common example of this is in the development of women’s clothing through the introduction of new technologies such as sewing machines, color, and even lingerie. However, high fashion designers also find innovative uses for such tools, such as creating clothing with textiles.
Another way that we think about fashion is in relation to what we wear. For example, if you think of what you wear every day to work, school, or other activities, what do you think is going to come up? If you dress in drab colors, work hard all day, and never venture out into the world outside of work, what will your life be like? If you dress in comfortable, wearable clothing, what do you think will be the state of your mind as you head out into the world each day?
These are some of the questions that linger throughout our culture, as fashion designers are forced to continually create new fashions, new trends, and new ways of dressing. Even though there are critics of the fashion industry, we still continue to wear clothing based on trends and designs that have developed from these changes. As an example, in the last decade we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who wear sweatshirts as a means of covering up clothing. If you look back at history, you’ll see that sweatshirts were worn by those who could not otherwise afford expensive fashions. Even today, in many third world countries sweatshirts are a way of life, as they provide protection against the cold and rain.