What Is Fashion

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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.” If someone hears the word “fashion” they immediately think of clothes, but fashion is in fact more than just the clothes you wear. This analytic essay will explain the signs and meaning of fashion and in what way people use it. The information supplied will be from reading fashion blogs and books.

Giving fashion an exact definition is difficult to do because it has different connotations throughout the history, it has changed over the years to suit social customs and people in different social structures (Kawamura, 2005). The fashion industry primarily includes the designing, manufacturing, promoting, advertising and retailing of ‘fashionable’ clothing, but also includes a range of supporting professions and boundary industries (Burke, 2008).

Fashion now occupies the centre ground in popular understandings of modern culture (Breward, 2003). It runs in tandem with the publications of a variety of ground-breaking text that have aimed, over the past years, to place the study of fashion alongside other popular phenomena including theatre, journalism, advertising, and film, recognising the potential as a significant culture force. For one, fashion photography has throughout the decades appealed to the thought of beauty, style and commodity. “The great interest in fashion photography is a symptom of the contemporary obsession with power.” (Liberman, p7). The influence is expressed through the means of the image in fashion photography. “Fashion only exists in representation.” states Ulrich Lehmann (Lehmann, p139). Oscar Wide once also stated, “In all unimportant style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.”

People are wearing clothes, but they believe or wish to believe at least, that fashion is what they are wearing and...
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