Who exactly answers the question ‘what is fashion’?
It’s not that easy to answer the question, “what is fashion?” because it means different things to different people. Fashion is an art. It’s a religion. It’s a job. It’s a peek into a personality. It’s playfulness. It’s an escape or a disguise. It is a feast for the eyes. But ultimately, fashion is an individual statement of expression for each of us.
French fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
It’s true. Fashion isn’t defined solely by our clothing choices, but is also conveyed through the way we carry ourselves, our personalities and our views of the world.
At its most fundamental (and straight from the dictionary), fashion is simply the prevailing style or custom, as in dress or behavior.
So, who exactly answers the question “what is fashion”? Who decides what’s fashionable and what isn’t? What’s in or what’s out?
The iconic fashion houses – Prada, Gucci, Chanel – are referred to as haute couture, French for “high sewing.” These designers lead the way in creating trend-setting fashion. While some of their designs are outrageous and completely unrealistic when it comes to everyday wear, generally the theme is adapted into versions suitable for wearing.
Fashion trends are often sparked by characters on popular television shows and movies as well as adopted from magazine pages. “Sex and the City,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” these shows introduced us to new, cutting-edge designs. While you might not be caught dead wearing a Carrie Bradshaw original, you might take ideas inspired from her look and piece together your own creation.
A prime example of a celebrity-driven fashion trend? UGGs. Until Kate Hudson and Jessica Simpson were spotted wearing them around L.A. several years ago, no one had given any thought to UGG boots. Now they are everywhere.
Musicians have always been very influential when it comes to dictating fashion. Rock ‘n’ roll is fashion. Elvis is an iconic example. In the 1950s, everyone wanted to dress like Elvis. What about the heavy metal hair bands so popular in the 1980s? Axl Rose reinvented the head bandana while Poison, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi set the pace for big, rocker hair.
Just because you don’t know if a Prada bag is fall 2007 or spring 2008 doesn’t matter (unless you work in the fashion industry, of course). All that matters is that you like it and it’s an expression of you. That is fashion.