Fashion is a popular style, trend or way of dressing that changes over time. It is influenced by many things such as music, art, social movements and even politics. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry that encompasses a wide variety of clothing and accessory designers, manufacturers and retailers. It is often seen as a reflection of current societal values and ideals. In the past, before mass-production came about, fashion was usually handmade for individuals by dressmakers and tailors. It was customary for famous people to be the arbiters of what was considered fashionable. For example, in the 1700s women and dressmakers alike watched closely for what Queen Anne or King Louis XIV wore. Even today, musicians, politicians and royalty continue to influence what we wear.
In its most simple form, fashion means difference, but it can also be a general uniformity in style or practice, such as when someone refers to the fashions of a certain period. Changes in fashions may reflect a shift in taste or the desire to conform, but they can also be a response to social, economic, political or cultural circumstances. For example, the desire to wear a certain style of clothing as a mark of membership in a particular group can be a reaction to discrimination or persecution.
Fashion is not limited to clothing, but can also include jewelry, shoes, bags, accessories and even language. It can be a statement about our identity, culture and beliefs, and it can even serve as a tool for self-expression and personal growth.