What Is Fashion?

What Is Fashion?


What exactly is fashion? According to the dictionary, fashion is “1. A prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc." or 2. "Conventional usage in dress, manners, etc., especially of polite society, or conformity to it." However, if you ask a fashion student or a fashion enthusiast this same question, you will probably hear answers such as: “Fashion is a way of expressing oneself,” or "Fashion is a form of art,” and “Fashion is playing around with and breaking the rules of conventional dressing.” Fashion may seem like a simple concept, but behind the word is a world full of creativity, breakthroughs, and endless possibilities.

It's hard to define fashion simply because it means something different to everyone. For instance, it could be someone’s passion in which they use fashion blogs and social media to express their creativity, or it could be someone's entire career. Working in the fashion industry might be some people’s way of putting food on the table for themselves or their families. Then for some, it may just be a foreign world they see all around them but have no interest in following up with current trends, designers, and such.

Because fashion is such a broad term, there are several factors that break it down season by season and determine what fashion is at the moment, what’s in and out, and what almost everyone will be wearing.

The first factor is haute couture fashion houses including Chanel, Christian Dior, and Jean Paul Gaultier, just to name a few. Haute couture houses have been leading the way in creating trends and classic, iconic fashion looks. Most of their pieces are one-of-a-kind, unrealistic for daily wear, and way beyond the budget for the average person. However, the themes of these designs are often imitated and reconstructed by fast fashion outlets into versions that are more suitable and affordable for most people.

The media is another major factor in establishing fashion trends. Media outlets such as television shows, movies, social media accounts, and magazines create thousands of trends and fads. These forms of media show people millions of different looks and endless possibilities in the way certain items can be worn together. The way someone’s favorite character dresses may inspire them to dress a certain way. The way an item is placed in a unique fashion editorial may inspire them to try a new look. People exposed to these media outlets may even subconsciously piece together their own personalized creations that were inspired by what they had seen on TV, print, or the Internet without even realizing it.

Another factor in determining fashion are celebrities. These days we are exposed to celebrities every time we open up a magazine, turn on the TV, surf the Internet, and look up at ads or billboards on our daily routes; so it’s no surprise they play such a big role in fashion. A public figure can wear a simple item one day and within the next few days you will see versions of it in stores and on the streets. Designers love to use major stars to market their brands, so many times they will give current “A-listers" free clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories as a way to promote themselves through these celebrities to the mass public. This makes the public aware of the designers’ lines and encourages them to want to purchase the items whether they can afford to or not.

Pictured above: Zuhair Murad Spring 2015 couture

Some may agree with the factors that go into determining trends for every season, and some may dislike it. The great thing about fashion, though, is that it’s completely okay to break the rules, which many people forget. Society popularizes trends carried down from fashion houses, celebrities, and media outlets, but if you don’t like what everyone else is wearing, you don’t have to dress like that. There are basic dress codes that people in American culture follow, but there is nothing wrong with breaking away from simple, everyday styles. Fashion is a perfect tool to use in expressing who you are or how you feel without having to say a single word.

Popular Right Now

20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Please Stop Asking Me To Smile

"It's just my face."


"Why do you always look like you're upset?"

"You should smile more."

"What's wrong?"

"You don't seem like a happy person."

"You must be depressed."

"Why are you always miserable?"

"Are you sure you're ok?

"Why don't you smile more often?"

This is a list of actual quotes that are often said to me.

My face is naturally what it is.

Unfortunately, it is naturally RBF (resting b*tch face).

RBF is when your natural facial expression seems like you are angry, upset or irritated when you aren't expressing any emotion at all.

You might think, "RBF? No, you just don't smile. You're upset all the time."

But I'm not. It's a legitimate issue, even the Queen of England has it.

I am not upset all the time. Nor am I depressed. And I'm not miserable.

It's. Just. My. Face.

I don't even realize that I'm making the (perceived) RBF, because it's just how my face naturally appears. Believe me, you'll be able to tell when I'm actually upset.

So please, stop telling me and all the other people with RBF to smile (because telling someone to smile doesn't make them actually want to smile).

Related Content

Facebook Comments