Fashion is a multifaceted term that describes the creation of clothing, footwear and accessories that reflect cultural aesthetics. It also refers to the ways in which people dress and how these styles may be used as symbols of status, individuality, and group affiliation. It is sometimes distinguished from apparel, which is a general term that encompasses all garments worn on the body.
Unlike the terms fashionista and fashion victim, which describe people who follow fashions blindly, there is such a thing as “fashion sense.” Fashion sense involves understanding that clothes can be expressive of personality and that style varies.
The fashion industry is an enormous, global enterprise that encompasses everything from the specialized designer wear shown on runway shows to the mass-produced clothes sold in malls and markets around the world. In addition to the variety of styles and trends, it includes the development, manufacturing, and distribution of cosmetics and perfumes and a range of other accessories.
In the past, new discoveries or shifts in thinking about different regions of the world often provided impetuses for changes in fashion. For example, a fashionable garment in Europe in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries might be made from materials from Turkey, China or Japan. This was made possible by the availability of cheaper labor and the opening up of international trade.
The most important element of fashion is that it is personal. The individualized choice of clothing and other accessories allows one to express a unique personality. It can also help to promote a sense of well being. However, it is important to be discerning about the kinds of trends one follows. If a person becomes too caught up in following every new trend, that can become overwhelming and even stifle creativity.