Fashion is the way a person dresses and how others see them. It is also a cultural expression and reflection of traditions, values, and societal influences. Fashion is big business, with millions of people involved in the production, sale and distribution of clothing. The industry is global, with a strong regional presence in many countries. Fashion trends are also influenced by celebrities and public figures, such as musicians, politicians and royalty. Their choices and styles are reported on by newspapers and magazines. People follow these trends to fit in or to stand out from the crowd.
The term fashion is often used interchangeably with style. However, there are subtle differences. A style may be a certain type of fabric, color or cut, while fashion refers to a particular look at any given time.
To be considered fashionable, a new look must be widely adopted by a discernible proportion of the population at a given point in time. This is a process known as diffusion. It can occur ad hoc, such as through social media or viral memes, or through organized, top-down diffusion from a design elite (e.g. fashion shows or haute couture).
Fashion is a constantly changing, ever-evolving phenomenon. It can have a positive impact on society by encouraging inclusivity and body positivity, as well as providing a platform for activism. It can also serve as a mirror, reflecting our innermost desires, beliefs and emotions. When worn in the right context, it can lead to confidence and a sense of inner delight.