Do you pick out the clothes you wear to school each day? When you’re deciding what to wear, what do you think about? What things are important to you?
If you look in your closet, you realize that you have a certain number of clothes to choose from. But how did those clothes get there? Did you help pick them out? Why did you or your parents choose the clothes you have?
Who decided that blue jeans and t-shirts are “cool” for kids to wear today? Who designs the clothes you see for sale in stores? All of these questions revolve around the world of fashion.
Don’t believe us? Spend some time on the Internet looking at fashion over the ages. In the 1960s and 1970s, hippies made bell-bottomed blue jeans popular. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson made parachute pants all the rage. Now try to find these items in today’s clothing stores!
Why do fashions change? The answer is probably as simple as the fact that people change. Over time, the new replaces the old. People are influenced greatly by popular culture, including athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians, royalty, as well as popular films, television shows, books and music. We also are influenced by the fashion industry’s advertising.
The stars of popular culture don’t remain stars by doing the same things over and over again. Instead, they’re always searching for a new angle to maintain their popularity. Often these new angles come in the form of new clothing or hairstyles.
When people see these new styles, they often want to imitate their favorite stars. To do so, they seek out the latest fashions — clothes, shoes, jewelry and the like — to make themselves look like the people they want to imitate. In this way, fashions evolve and constantly change over time.
And it’s been happening for hundreds of years! Ever since clothes were invented, they’ve been used as a way to express something about yourself. As far back as the 1700s, the French were known to spend hours looking through fashion magazines to learn about the latest styles.
For years, clothes have been used to separate people into groups. Even today, brand-name clothing that is more expensive than other types of clothing can be used by some people to distinguish themselves from others.
Unfortunately, this can often have the effect of distancing certain groups from others. Don’t forget that it’s always OK to develop your own sense of style that is unique and separate from what the fashion world dictates! Stay true to yourself and let your personality — not your clothes — speak for who you are!