Fashion refers to the styles and customs prevalent at a given moment. In its most common usage, "fashion" exemplifies the appearances of clothing, but the term encompasses more. Many fashions are popular in many cultures at any given time. Important is the idea that the course of design and fashion will change more rapidly than the culture as a whole. Fashion designers create and produce clothing articles.
The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" were employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current or even not so current, popular mode of expression. However, more so in the modern era items termed 'not so current' may indeed fit into the term 'Retro.' Retro fashion allows rule shifts, such as 'old is suddenly new,' thus fashionable. The term "fashion" is frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour, beauty and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness. The term "fashion" is also sometimes used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads and trends, and materialism. A number of cities are recognized as global fashion centers and are recognized for their fashion weeks, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences. These cities are Paris, Milan, New York, and London.
Areas of fashion
Fashion as social phenomena is common. The rise and fall of fashion has been especially documented and examined in the following fields:
- Architecture, interior design, and landscape design
- Arts and crafts
- Body type, clothing or costume, cosmetics, personal grooming, hairstyle, and personal adornment
- Dance and music
- Politics and media, especially the topics of conversation encouraged by the media
- Philosophy and religion: although religions and philosophies change slowly if at all, there are changes in identified as worth following or studying.
- Sociology and the meaning of clothing for identity-building
Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion" that the more general term "costume" has mostly been relegated to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing, costume and fabrics.