Fashion is the general term used for all those things that involve the production of clothes, the making of accessories, ornaments, articles of daily use, and all other materials used for the purpose of adorning and beautifying the human body. Fashion is also a cultural form of autonomy and self-expression in a given cultural situation and at a given time and location. In its broader sense, the word also means a style defined by the fashion industry that what is fashionable today is what is fashionable tomorrow. However, in the United States and other Western countries, when people talk about fashion they almost always refer to the clothes themselves, and to the ways in which fashionable dressing is promoted through mass media. So let’s take a brief survey of the most common ways of defining and explaining fashion.
In the United States, popular fashions are usually those that conform to the predominant styles of the time (preppy cool, chic, or sexy), or that conform to a generally accepted social view (American, conventional, or uptight). In terms of clothing, American popular styles of the past century have been mostly high fashion or what we know today as fast fashion. The mass-produced clothing we see in American stores today is actually considered to be high fashion by many people around the world.
In high fashion clothing, fabrics are of primary importance. Linen, cotton, silk, synthetic fibers are all used in the manufacture of fast fashion clothing. High-fashion clothing is frequently designed with simple but striking or unusual shapes, colors, or patterns. Materials such as nylon, polyester, and vinyl are also used in the manufacture of fast fashion clothing. Fast-fashion clothing tends to be made of inexpensive fabrics, such as rayon, that tend to wear quickly and get damaged easily.
Fast fashion companies tend to target younger consumers, with most of their products being marketed to teenagers. Because of this, many teenagers, especially those with a more fashionable outlook on fashion, tend to be influenced by the latest fashions and designs. Teenagers have always had an influence on the way clothes are worn and one reason why teenagers are drawn towards fast fashion clothing is because it represents youth. One of the fastest growing segments of the US population are teenagers.
Fast fashion clothing companies have taken advantage of the teen consumer’s desire for the most current styles and designs. They have flooded the market with products designed especially for the teenager and often these sport ‘cool’ slogans and designs. Teenagers love to wear clothes that look cool, and fashions can attract a youthful following. For example, teen fashion icons like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson have adopted fashions that are influenced by hip hop and rap styles and yet they still manage to keep their appeal among the teenage crowd.
In recent years, some major department stores and retailers have attempted to follow the fast fashion movement by offering their own lines of stylish clothing, often using the same designs as the popular fast fashion companies. Some smaller department stores have followed suit and even some of the boutique retailers offer a small range of stylish clothing. There are also boutiques and independent shops that have a range of new clothes for teenagers. These stores often use the trendiest and latest fashions to draw in the younger generation.