It is the desire to attract the attention of other people that causes new fashions to rise. A man makes certain modifications in his dress or hair style in order to attract the attention of others. People notice his new fashion. Many people imitate his new fashion because they think that they will not be noticed if they do not follow the new fashion. Thus the new fashion spreads and becomes common.
When most people have accepted the new fashion, it is no longer new. It becomes the ordinary style. Fashionable persons may have already invented or followed newer fashions. That is why they are called fashionable. They follow the latest fashions which have not been accepted by the ordinary people who follow the ordinary or accepted style of life. Even then there may be persons who cling to the style of life that prevailed a generation or two earlier. Such persons are called old-fashioned and are often laughed at.
Going after fashions is not desirable. It shows an inherent weakness. Only a person who has no merit in himself tries to attract the attention of others by wearing fashionable clothes. A scientist like Newton, or a singer like M.S. Subbalakshmi, or a writer like Thakazhi or even a student who is sure of his intelligence and is confident of getting a rank does not go after fashions. They do not think of attracting people, but people come to them because of their intrinsic merit. We should not go after fashions. Nor should we cling to old fashions. We should not be called old-fashioned and laughed at. We should follow the ordinary or accepted style of life. That is the golden mean or the middle path, the path of moderation.