Fashion is a multifaceted industry that depicts cultural aesthetics in clothing. It also depicts trends and styles that reflect and influence our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. The fashion industry encompasses many levels, from the production of raw materials to the designing and marketing of clothing and accessories. Fashion has become an international language, and a global enterprise. It reaches far beyond just clothing, as it is reflected in the way we decorate our houses, the cars we drive, the music we listen to and even the way we speak.
The concept of fashion changes quickly, and fads often come and go within the blink of an eye. Because it is so fast-changing, it is difficult to keep up with the latest trends and maintain a fashionable look.
While fashion has the potential to be a medium for social change, it is sometimes used to exploit and encourage materialistic consumerism. Furthermore, shifts in fashion can force people to constantly spend money on clothing that they do not necessarily need.
Clothing serves many purposes, from covering up and gratifying vanity to expressing identity and social status. It can have powerful symbolic meaning: a miniskirt represented freedom, while the cassocks worn by nuns proclaimed their renunciation of vanity. The societal implications of fashion are vast and varied: from the gender bias of pantsuits to the political statements made by designers during fashion weeks in London, Milan and Paris. Fashion is a major source of income for millions of people around the world, who work in the manufacturing, selling and retailing of clothing. Its popularity and impact are influenced by culture, politics, economics, geography and history.