Fashion is a popular thing for a period of time. It keeps changing and developing. Fashion and trend are very similar however fashion is almost always related with the way people dress. Trends are related more with technology and such. When asked the question ‘What is fashion?’ globally known model, icon and business woman Claudia Schiffer replies with ‘It’s become synonymous with clothing but ultimately fashion is anything popular in a culture at any given time.’ The same question was asked to Pulitzer prize winning fashion writer Robin Givhan and she replies with ‘For me, fashion is the way we choose to present ourselves in the public square. It captures whether or not we choose to be on the trend, but also addresses those people who have a belligerence towards fashion and are very stern in the announcing of their lack of interest in the subject.’
Also head of the iconic Prada fashion conglomerate, Miuccia Prada, says one element of fashion is so simple it’s often overlooked: ‘Fashion is the ﬁrst step out of poverty. You have nothing and then you put something on. It is one of the ﬁrst things you do to elevate yourself. Why are people scandalized by spending money on clothes? Everybody is so passionate about this, there’s a resistance to fashion, an idea that to love fashion is to be stupid. Clothes are very intimate. When you get dressed, you are making public your idea about yourself, and I think that embarrasses people.’ The common idea here is that fashion is a way of self-expression.
Fashion is very important because it is mean of self-expression, enabling us to say something important to the world about who we are, what we want and about whom we want to be. The clothes we wear say things about us whether we want it or not. It addresses to the human need to belong, to identify ourselves with a group of others like us. It can be a lifestyle, a religion, a profession, or an attitude. For example there are terms in society, which refers to a particular group of profession and their stereotyped clothing such as white-collar worker. A white-collar worker is someone who performs managerial, professional or administrative work. Typically they work in office or cubicles. And then there are blue-collar workers whose job requires manual labor. Clothes show a lot about us, maybe even more than we think. There are prejudices and stereotypes about them, which are usually true since stereotypes are there for a reason.
Fashion and trends also show our socio economic level. For example if one is wearing a $15000 suit with a Rolex on his arm you would automatically assume he is someone important. There are some indicators for this in the eyes of society; in this case it was the watch he was wearing. One of the biggest indicators is the phone he is using. Especially in our country there are millions of people who barely afford feeding their kids but they buy phones that are worth 4 months of their salary. Fashion and trends are important in the eyes of people since others form a profile of us at first sight. First impression is really important and these are what makes other people think you are some kind of a ‘big shot’.
Some companies abuse this need of self-expression. Once fashion was movie stars and models wearing haute couture on glossy magazine covers. People saved money and shopped once or twice a year for high-quality clothes that could be worn for many seasons. However in todays world fashion is changing very fast and it is cheap thanks to retail brands such as H&M, Zara. Fashion is more accessible than ever. But is it a good thing? Researches show otherwise. The average price of clothing has dropped vastly in the past decades and cheap clothing is branded such that it is no longer seen as a lack of fashion. Rather it is called ‘street fashion’.
However the demand raises everyday and this created a huge waste. For example US writer Elizabeth Cline says: ‘Then one day came the epiphany. In a supermarket sale, I ended up buying seven pairs of identical canvas flats marked down from $15 to $7.’ She also explains perfectly how this ruins the whole fashion=a mean of self-expression thing: ‘Buying so much clothing, and treating it as if it is disposable, is putting a huge toll on the environment and is simply unsustainable,” she writes. What’s more, cheap clothing destroys our relationship with our self-image. Fashion should be flexible and reflect personal taste. But global chains are trying to reduce risk by selling the same carefully packaged trends. These trends “are repeated on the racks of virtually every retailer, making our store-bought looks feel homogenous and generic.’
There was a time when the concept of fashion was only in the occasions. Teenagers today care a lot about fashion. Maybe more than what should be. Fashion reflects a lot in the school students. The bags they carry, the watches they wear and such. Teenagers seem to be more in to fashion than the adults. In the old times fashion was something for the upper class but as mentioned above now it is not the case. Class doesn’t matter in any way for becoming fashionable. Nowadays being fashion conscious makes you popular among your friends an also boosts your self-confidence. Especially teens are so concerned with fashion that they do not spend enough time doing productive stuff; instead they read fashion magazines.
In the past teens went out with their parents in the weekends. Nowadays they go out with their friends and most favorable place to go out is a shopping mall since they can do a lot of shopping there apart from having actual fun. Again in the past children used to dream becoming a scientist, an astronaut, a doctor, an engineer but the priority changed for the teenager of today’s world. Most of them desire being in the glamour world. They find fashion world better than any other profession. In fact one that is not fashion conscious these days don’t get much attention. One who appears trendy in the first appearance takes away all the light.
The reason of this is mainly peer pressure. Many teens are concerned about trends in an effort to dodge a possible humiliation and mocking from the peers. Poor fashion choices are often a reason for mockery. Teens today feel the need of being a part of a group and the easiest way to do so is to match their clothing code. Fashion becomes an essential accessory for a teenager’s popularity.
Referring to a survey of 47 people asking whether they think importance of fashion and trends to teens is excessive or not 36 of them answered by saying that it is excessive. This causes problems such as less time spent on beneficiary work and more time spent on keeping up with the trends. Also since fashion became cheaper and more accessible a vast amount of waste comes with it. In conclusion fashion and trends are extremely important for teens even though it should not be. As said by the famous designer Yves Saint-Laurent: ‘Fashions fade, style is eternal.’
Pru, Laura. ‘Pressure on teens to wear fashionable clothes’ eHow
LaGrave, Katherine. ‘Fashion: Why is it important?’ Huffington Post 06/04/2012
Shah, Vika. ‘The role of fashion in human culture’ Thought Economics 09/15/2012
Meetehariyani, ‘The importance of style and fashion’ StudyMode March 2012
Aeysha, Mona. ‘The Effect of Fashion on Teenagers in School’ Self Growth
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Seeling, Charlotte. ‘Fashion: The Century of the designer 1900-1969’ Cologne,Germany Könemann 2000: Print