According to the Irish poet Oscar Wilde, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months”. The word ‘fashion’ is used to indicate a change in the tastes of clothing, footwear and other personal accessories. Fashion, when it comes to personal attire, has been flourishing since the Roman times. But, fashion as an event is not restricted to clothes and accessories. The effect of fashion is evident in all facets of the society; paintings, drama, architecture, music, dance, arts, entertainment and even household decoration. Furthermore, fashion is evident in formidable fields like business management, science, medicine, and mortuary practices.
In addition, the success of many commercial products is also due to the significant impacts of fashion. For example, the footwear and apparel industry is always following a rigorous seasonal fashion cycle. They release new designs based on the season: winter/fall collections and spring/summer collections. According to experts, majority of the consumer’s purchasing power that is spent on apparel and footwear is fashion driven rather than need driven. Other products that are clearly fashion driven include cars, furniture, electronic gadgets and so on.
Fashion is a major economic importance in the financial world and it also has a widespread impact on our lives. For this reason, it is important to understand why fashion is adopted by individuals and how designs that are affected by the choice of individuals together leads to the ups and downs of fashion in any industry. In broad terms, sociologists and economists have promoted two major distinctions in fashion. One – fashion signifies wealth. Two – fashion signifies culture. The American poet Henry David Thoreau made a good point when he said “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but [religiously follows] the new [fashions]”.
The rich community purchases and consumes products that are expensive in order to exhibit their wealth amongst others. As time goes on, these products are also purchased by the middle class community and hence the products lose their value. The rich then move on to purchasing newer ones to show off their wealth. As a result, this process creates a consumption pattern which leads to continuous changes in fashion cycles.
Sociologists argue that fashion signifies culture or good taste. A person’s culture or taste is related to his/her knowledge and experiences of literature, music, art and other such information. People who have a strong culture implement certain symbols to signify their taste or access to diverse information. Gradually, this information becomes widely known to the general public and to those who do not have a very strong culture. As a result, the highly cultured people stop using those products as symbols and move on to newer products to symbolize their culture. Once again this gives rise to cycles in fashion.
About the Author: Melissa Welsh is a content writer who loves writing and a creative thinker as well. At the moment she is writing about fashion and conducting trade promotions with t shirt printing. Follow her on Twitter.