Fashion is a field of dressing, footwear, lifestyle, cosmetics, accessories and hairstyle of clothes, footwear, clothing and lifestyle. In its broader sense, the word also means a definite appearance defined by the fashion industry at what is currently trendy. It is an international, not just regional, industry and is popular around the world with women, teenagers and adults alike. It is an art and has many sub-disciplines.
The twenty-first century has seen many major milestones in the development of fashion. The first was during the inception of the fashion industry; the onset of mass-market clothing for many common people who were otherwise unable to afford expensive clothing. These fashions came about as a result of changes in how people wore daily clothing and the changing tastes of middle class citizens who were trying to identify themselves and their culture. With these changes also came the dawn of development in the textile industry. Designers from Japan, France, Germany, England and America started developing clothing using new methods and new materials that were much cheaper than those available before.
The introduction of mass-produced clothing gave way to what came to be known as high fashion. High fashion was also initiated by designers who developed new materials, patterns and ideas that were more experimental and innovative than those that were used in previous clothing lines. The most popular fashions of this century were pajamas, swimwear, casual wear, evening wear, casual jewelry and shoes. The twenty-first century saw the rise to popularity of brands such as Armani and Dolce and Gabbana. These designers made popular designer apparel such as silk and velvet, silk ties and jackets, and belts studded with precious stones and precious metals.
Fashion apparel for men took a giant leap forward with the appearance of Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Manil” clothing line. The very name sends a tingle down the spine, because this was the first time that the fashionable gentleman had his own fashion line. It did not take long for his designs to catch on among fashionistas everywhere and his clothing lines quickly became a worldwide sensation. Even today, when it comes to finding the best garment for any occasion the name Gaultier is synonymous with high style. His elegant gowns and elegant jackets are instantly recognizable.
As the world slowly but surely moved from the age of pajamas and into something that was more mature and sophisticated, so too did the fashion of the twenty-first century evolve. Thanks to designers such as Dior, Balmain, Fath and Chanel, the concept of fashion design began to move away from the specialized clothing of the elite and toward mass-market appeal. In particular, couture was embraced by ordinary people who wore clothes that were affordable and accessible.
Although there have been many ups and downs since the inception of the fashion industry, there has never been a point when the upper echelon of fashion has been so low or so high. In fact, there is still a significant gap between haute couture and everyday apparel. There are still many talented designers in the field and the ability to produce quality clothing is still quite impressive. While the world at large has stopped debating the topic of fashion, there is little doubt that the influence of the fashion industry still holds sway in our society.