Fashion is a multibillion-dollar global enterprise that encompasses not only clothes but also accessories, hairstyles and other ways of expressing one’s sense of beauty. It can range from the couture outfits modeled by runway models to the casual street styles sold in malls around the world. Fashion reflects cultural and social changes in the way we dress, talk and behave.
The emergence of the fashion industry coincided with increased production of textiles in the industrialized nations of the world and the development of printing techniques that enabled the mass distribution of newspapers and magazines. People read about celebrities’ wardrobe choices in magazines, newspapers and books; they watch TV shows and movies that feature the latest trends.
Often, the fashion industry is a major employer; and its workers have many benefits including good wages and insurance coverage. Fashion designers, manufacturers and suppliers may earn high salaries and have opportunities for advancement. However, the fashion business is a volatile and unpredictable one. Trends change quickly and even a “hot” item can become a “not-so-hot” one in a matter of weeks or months.
People who follow the prevailing fashions are often called “fashionistas” or “fashion victims.” Some individuals have trouble distinguishing between the styles that they like and those that are popular. This is especially true if the style of fashion changes significantly within a society. A person who tries to stay with the current fashions may be ridiculed by older people or appear out of date to young people.