Fashion is an ever-increasing aesthetic expression in a given cultural milieu and in a given time and place, especially in clothing, shoes, accessories, hair, makeup, hairstyles, and body shapes. It refers to the collection of styles (and types) of dress that can be found at any given time and place. It can be a term used by people to collectively refer to all of the aesthetic behaviors and feelings associated with dressing.
The French Revolution marked the birth of high fashion, or fashionable clothes for the elite few. The popularity of such fashions led to its eclipse by passeurs, the people commonly referred to as “courtly people” or “courtly attire.” The term “high fashion” came into much wider use during the nineteenth century, when it began to be used in reference to anything fancy, uncommon, or above all, fashionable. In the early twentieth century, the word “high fashion” began to refer more loosely to any and all styles and attitudes about dressing that were considered to be exceptionally stylish or over the norm. The twentieth century brought yet another popularly accepted definition of high fashion, when the term was broadly applied to any style of dressing that was considered fashionable and/or unusual.
High fashion, as it applies today, refers not only to a trend in dress design but to the specific choice of items that make up that trend. Today’s ready-to-wear apparel market includes everything from T-shirts and jeans to ballet slippers and sports bras. High fashion designers have even gone so far as to define high fashion as a product combination comprising mainly quality items of clothing with unique and exciting designs. Some of the most popular ready-to-wear lines are Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, D&G, Diesel, and Juicy Couture. Much like the specialized clothing lines of high fashion, there are also ready-to-wear accessories for high fashion.
Another aspect of the global fashion industry that is nearly as dynamic as the latest fashion trends themselves is market intelligence. Market intelligence is the study of buying behavior, or what many fashion experts refer to as consumer behavior. Market researchers and sociologists are discovering that fashion trends are driven by a variety of forces – social and cultural patterns of buying, consumer reactions to marketing techniques, the influence of advertisers, and even the advent of new technologies.
By compiling and analyzing the varying elements of the fashion industry, researchers and fashion analysts have been able to produce remarkably accurate charts and graphs revealing past and present trends in the fashion industry. These studies have helped industry personnel to create and develop better advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns. For example, one famous fashion research study conducted by the California State University at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that there was a strong correlation between fashion and divorce. The researchers theorized that since divorces are one of the strongest forces behind changing tastes, the tendency for people to get divorced, change their minds about fashion, and eventually get married again, was almost exactly the same as the rise and fall of the marriage industry.
Fashion critics and researchers are often criticized for downplaying or even entirely ignoring certain aspects of the fashion industry. However, these same critics often overlook or pass over completely successful fashion designers and brands. In fact, some of the most celebrated fashion designers in the world have started out as relatively obscure and unknown players. These innovative and influential designers continue to challenge convention by reinterpreting traditional concepts in new ways. This constant reinvention of fashion ideas and styles by well-known and talented fashion designers is one of the main reasons why the global fashion industry is still flourishing today.