How Fashion And Style Changed The World
Fashion refers to an individual’s specific manner of expressing themselves in regard to style; that is, through clothes, writing, architecture, or a particular style of architecture. In the fashion industry, fashion is usually shorthand for personal style, which is the manner an individual communicates themselves through aesthetic decisions about clothing, hairstyle, accessories, and how they put an outfit together; thus, the term “fashion.” In order to understand what fashion is truly all about, it is essential to first understand what fashion is not. Fashion is not simply about what you wear but also what you are wearing (i.e., what you are “about”) and how you are wearing it (e.g., what you are “using”). For instance, if an individual truly believes that the wearing of a certain pair of jeans is fashionable, then that individual is indeed a fashion follower, however, that individual is still communicating to the rest of the world that he or she is not a fashion follower (e.g., he or she is wearing jeans because they are cool).
While clothing (in general) has been a part of popular fashion for a long time, it was in the latter part of the twentieth century that clothing truly began to be considered a trend. At that point in time, clothing had become more than just something one wore because it was hot; rather, it was something one wore because of a perceived cultural or social influence. By the end of the twentieth century, fashion and style had become two separate things: fashion started out as merely a trend, indicating what the masses thought was cool (think jean jackets in the early 1980s), and style began to take on a more defined meaning. That is, as more people began to believe that clothing could actually make a difference in their lives, so did the desire to wear those same clothes.
Fashionable clothes became a symbol of style and sophistication to be worn as a status symbol. Those who wore the most fashionable clothes were seen as wealthy and successful; and those who didn’t were cast as peasants and failed in life. This cultural bias was not against class, but it was against status. Therefore, clothes that were fashionable were not only judged by what they looked like, but also by what they conveyed about the wearer’s level of social success.