The Ever-Changing Definition of Fashion


Every time people look at their wardrobes, they often realize that there is a variety of clothes to choose from. However, how different types of clothes got into the closet remains a mystery because it is often difficult to establish what inspired an individual to choose a specific type of cloth. For instance, how the jeans and the T-shirts ended in the closets are some of the questions that ring into a parson’s mind. Who designed the clothes in stores and why were they designed? However, these questions can be answered by understanding the concept of the ever-changing definition of fashions. Fashion refers to the dressing code of a particular, culture or generation of people for a given period of time. However, it can also be used to refer to an architectural style that dominates a region for a specific period of time. Although the term fashion has remained the same for a given period of time, the meaning of the word fashion has continuously changed because of the different generations, trends, and cultures.


Fashion is usually a common term associated with anything that is considered the latest version. The current generation usually referred to as the millennials, heavily support the materialistic products and therefore they are constantly acquiring the latest and the better products. This kind of thinking is mainly common among teenagers and youngsters in society. This group of people constantly wants to be equipped with fashion because of ego, popularity, and peer pressure. However, the old generations are rigid with what is usually considered fashion. In most cases, they relate fashion with societal immorality. They believe that the new generation is spoilt when they see the young people embrace the new fashion. In most cases, they view themselves as morally upright through the way they dress, and usually, they encourage the young population to embrace what they consider fashion. As the young generation grows old, they also tend to cling to a certain type of dressing code. As a result, what used to be considered fashion fades away, and the incoming generation holds another style as their fashion.

As the world continues to develop, there are certain trends that are adopted and they help in changing the definition of the term culture. For instance, currently, climate change is the main trending topic across the globe. As a result, companies majoring in design have shaped their products to incorporate environmental themes to march with the trends. According to O’Brien, Elin, and Bronwyn (3) youths are the main advocates of the climate. Consequently, they are the majority of the people who are also engaged in fashions (Al-Obaidi et al. 3834). Therefore, in order to appeal to them to purchase the products, industries have to woo them by incorporating the environmental themes, which are the current trends into their clothes. For example, T-shirts with drawings of the earth or any massages that are environmentally related have been widely used. Although Abe et al. (3) argue that trends only imitate what is already considered fashionable, it is evident that trends shape the fashions. As a result, the definition of the word fashion is seen as changing. Therefore, the word fashion changes because of the trending issues that are usually experienced in society.

Additionally, fashion is applicable in many fields of human social activities. However, it has mainly been linked with clothing or any other costumes that decorate the body. As a result, the minds of numerous people are fixated on this concept and any time the word fashion is mentioned people often think of branded clothing instead of an innovative architect. As result, Abe et al. (3) conclude that clothing often changes, and since the term fashion is associated with wear, then it will continue changing as long as people chose to wear a certain type of cloth. According to Abe et al. (3) cities also influence the definition of fashion. Many types of clothes are associated with different cities and thus, a popular city that is trending at a given time can influence the term. For instance, cities such as Milan, Paris, New York, and London are considered as global fashion centers. Therefore, this implies that these cities envisage their style will actually define the current fashion.


Culture also plays an important role in defining the term fashion. There are some fashions that are considered archaic; however, they are retained by certain cultures. Radclyffe-Thomas (1) argues that the changing fashions are just mindset because the retro style has retained its originality since the olden days. For instance, retro fashion is an old style that was used in the 19th century; however, it has somehow managed to be seen in modern society. It includes dressing codes like bell bottoms, afro hairstyle, and miniskirts. However, Štefko and Vladimira (3) reinstate that fashion changes faster than language and thoughts. The flow of fashion is usually unpredictable as the stock market. Sometimes, popular style may take a short duration before it fades out of fashion, while the fashion that had been disregarded several years back can reappear and last for a long time. Moreover, the existence of retro fashion does not mean that there are no changes that have been made to the type of that kind of dress. It only implies that culture has played a role in retaining the fashion and this usually appeals to only a given group of community.

Moreover, society is easily influenced by popular cultures such as royalty, social media, musicians, athletes, and movie stars. For instance, when people admire some stars that they consider their role models, they will often imitate them in whatever they do. In most cases, they copy their dressing code and lifestyle. The followers will all dress like the music star, thus, making it a culture. When the dress code of the star changes, loyal fans can shift their attention to another celebrity or can decide to copy the new dress code of another star. As a result, a new fashion is created and this may last for a long time or fades within a short period of time. Besides, stars of popular culture do not remain relevant by doing the same things over and over again. Instead, they are always in a constant search for new angles in order to remain relevant in their field. Usually, the new angles appear in the form of hairstyles, clothing, and even walking styles, and these define fashion. As people imitate their favorite celebrities, they make themselves appear like the people they would wish to copy. As a result, a new fashion is created, thus, illustrating why there is a constant change in the definition of fashion.

Culture has also made fashion to be considered a form of expression and this has made the definition of the word fashion change. For instance, the French could always search for the trending fashions in the magazines to learn about the new styles, and this act quickly spread across entire Europe (Bass-Krueger 416). As a result, people from a given social class were classified according to their mode of dressing. Expensive brand names became associated with the wealthy class while other groups became ostracized. Therefore, for the rich to maintain their social class, they could purchase the latest design collections in order to appear unique. Additionally, as the style became adopted by many people, the wealthy could shift to another style. As a result, fashion kept on changing and this has continued to date. Hence, the term fashion has kept on changing because the wealthy want to continue with the status quo.

In conclusion, the definition of the word fashion has continuously changed because of the generational changes, trends, and culture. Every generation has a certain type of style that they cling to. However, trends are the daily topics that drive society. If an issue is common in a community, then the community can adopt a fashion that portrays the theme of the trend. Finally, culture is the practice that society adheres to and it helps in illustrating the changing term of fashion. Although some people may claim that the term fashion has been constant since it was incepted, the issues illustrated above assume that the word fashion has undergone different changes over the years.

Works Cited

Abe, Kaori, et al. “Changing fashion cultures.” Arxiv-Vanity.

Al-Obaidi, L., et al. “Factors Influencing Youths Fashion Leadership Behavior of Fashion Retailing Stores in Jordan.” Management Science Letters, vol. 10, no. 16, 2020, pp. 3833-3842.

Bass-Krueger, Maude. “Fashion Collections, Collectors, and Exhibitions in France, 1874–1900: Historical Imagination, the Spectacular Past, and the Practice of Restoration.” Fashion Theory, vol. 22, no.4-5, 2018, pp. 405-433.

O’brien, Karen, Elin Selboe, and Bronwyn M. Hayward. “Exploring Youth Activism on Climate Change.” Ecology and Society, vol. 23, no. 3, 2018.

Radclyffe-Thomas, Natascha. “Weaving Fashion Stories in Shanghai: Heritage, Retro and Vintage Fashion in Modern Shanghai,” 2018.

Štefko, Róbert, and Vladimira Steffek. “Key Issues in Slow Fashion: Current Challenges and Future Perspectives.” Sustainability, vol. 10, no. 7, 2018, pp. 2270.

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