Fashion – What is It?

Fashion is a style of dressing and self-expression in a particular cultural milieu and at a given time and context, usually in a certain social setting. The word is derived from the French word ” Fouette,” which means “of the current.” In clothing, the term indicates a style defined by the fashion industry when what is in vogue is what is in style. The modern meaning of the term has been expanded by other meaning based on societal mores or the attitude of the people or individuals who are doing the dressing.

When the contemporary French revolutionary, Paul Gautier, was asked by the editor of a French fashion magazine, “What kind of women do you like? “, he responded by naming several types of modern fashion icons. These included Cleopatra, whom Gautier identified as the ultimate modern beauty, with her sensuous beauty, her opulence and her luxurious life styles; Audrey Hepburn, for whom he said, “A woman who knows how to dress herself is at least a genius”, and Anne Hathaway, “the new modern girl”.

Another modern female icon, whose image has become synonymous with modernity, is Princess Diana. She epitomized the image of womanhood during the height of her popularity. She epitomized the new aspects of femininity in clothing. Her clothing and her personality defined an entirely new concept of womanhood. She was an icon of fashion. She had a clothing line, which made her the most expensive fashion celebrity of the time.

There are many examples of woman icons who have been associated with the modern or contemporary fashion industry such as Mona Lisa, Dita Von Teese, and Oprah Winfrey. However, one must also remember that fashion is only one aspect of the woman’s experience in the world. She must also have knowledge on cosmetics, cookery, hairdressing, interior design, fashion merchandising, etc. It is impossible to say that these three are the single factors behind the way a woman carries herself; but they certainly helped define the essence of what fashion is all about.

Fashionable trends come and go. There are many periods in women’s fashion history; one is the twenties, another is the thirties, four can be the sixties, eight can be the one hundred and forty years, ten can be the one thousand and one year period, fifteen can be the twenty-five years period, twenty-five can be the thirty-years period, up to thirty-five can be the forty-year period, forty-five can be the fifty-year period, up to fifty-five can be the sixty-year period, and so on. All these fashion periods are not mutually exclusive, for fashion does not simply stop at any one particular period. The current fashions may still be based on styles that were popular at one time. However, the designs that were popular at the time may be outdated now.

Every fashion depends on its own popularity and how much people loved and adored it. A new trend is born; old fashions become redundant and the same ones gain popularity again. Thus fashion is always changing and evolving. And one way to know about fashion is to observe how certain clothing was looked at some time and how it is being looked at currently.