Fashion is an umbrella term used to describe various cultural phenomena relating to dress, material culture, artistic expression, and social behavior. Fashion is also a generic term for any specific style or fashion of dress and footwear at a given time and place and at a specific context. In its broader sense, the word indicates a specific style defined by the fashion industry with regards to what is fashionable at a given point in time. Fashion can refer to individual styles or to cultural trends that are shared by a community or society. This broad definition does not however exclude the existence of unperceived social norms, thus making the practice of labeling certain objects or styles as “fashionable” relative to others (e.g., socially undesirable), particularly when those objects or styles are worn or used within a formal setting.
Within this broad sense, certain objects may be defined as being in fashion because they are visually distinguishable, have particular appeal to the senses, or because of some political, economic, or cultural factors that are shared by a significant portion of the population. The practice of marketing and advertising that is connected with the production and sale of clothing and other goods may also be considered fashion-related. Fashionable items may be those that are considered fashionable according to the criteria of a particular culture, class, or region. For instance, certain cultural differences may lead to differences in the aesthetic appreciation of men’s and women’s clothing styles. Within certain communities, some objects may be considered trendy depending on their visual symbolism or meaning.
Within this broader context, it becomes evident that some fashion items may be fashionable according to a particular culture, while others may be considered as being in vogue depending on the preferences of particular consumers. Thus, there are always varying standards or parameters that may be applied to define what makes something fashionable. Fashion can therefore be seen as a complex process that involves not only the production of products that can be worn and viewed by members of a culture, but also the marketing and advertising strategies that are used in order to popularize these items. Fast fashion or the concept of “high fashion” thus has various different meanings for different people.