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What is the Importance of Fashion?

Updated on February 12, 2011

Importance of Fashion

The first purpose of clothes... was not warmth or decency, but ornament.... Among wild people, we find tattooing and painting even prior to clothes.  The first spiritual want of a barbarous man is decoration; as indeed we still see among the barbarous classes in civilized countries.  ~Thomas Carlyle

The term fashion though is new to many; literally speaking fashion came into being with the advent of human being in this world. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves though at that time they had no concept of modesty. Ornamentation and adornment thus had always been a strong force behind clothing. Later civilizations seek different ways to adorn themselves. People of Stone Age tattooed their bodies, used leaves and twigs to cover their naked bodies. Pharaohs on the other hand loved to display their wealth by clothing in most extravagant ways. They wore wigs, painted their bodies, and embalmed their dead in most beautiful clothes.

Christianity preached moderation in dressing, but very few obeyed that. Islam on the other hand formulated a complete dress code for both male and female.

Modern fashion got strength during Renaissance time. Aristocrats of Renaissance time were great patrons of fashion. They developed new fashion and promoted it. Today fashion is very complex. It includes not only apparel, footwear, accessories and jewellery but fashion is the way we dress, the way we talk, technology we are using, food we are eating, friends we are having and a lot more.

No body can deny the influence of fashion. Each of us is constantly affected by fashion in one or other way. Print media and electronic media are most important in shaping our lifestyles. Even those who are anti-fashionionists are part of the fashion world in their own way. They are making their own fashion statements. As Cecil Beaton said that “truly fashionable are beyond fashion.”


To the Society: Fashion is an identification of individuals, special groups and cultures. Fashion is important as a means of interpreting social attitudes and values in a particular period of time; fashion captured on camera can become a valuable social document. People belonging to different tribes, groups, cultures, regions and countries can be identified by the way they are dressed.

Ceremony or Ritual: May be the purpose of certain specialized forms of dress, reserved for certain occasions or people; such as wedding attire, or liturgical dress.

To the Individuals: To the individual woman, fashion may be a means of expressing a particular element of personality. Loud colours and glowing accessories may suit an extrovert personality. "I am HERE!" they may say. "Notice ME!" or "I am COOL!" But how to achieve that fashion? For some, it is important to follow a "trend" closely. This fashion trend may be set by glamorous fashion magazines or celebrities. Some may feel more comfortable following a trend set for them. Others may express their individuality by creating their own fashion. There are some who persist with a "grunge" look, when all other fashionable ladies are parading in high heels and ballooned short dresses. Some do not like fashion magazines dictating a particular current trend. Yet, in fact, in their quest for uniqueness, are adopting a "fashion" popular yesterday!

To Different Cultures: Some cultures have a particular fashion. Think of India and you think of saris. Many Western women love the exotic flow of the sari, and so may adopt it for a special occasion to be "essence of Indian"! Mexican and African cultures are well known for their bright display of colors. Again, some may adopt the Mexican or African "look"! Hawaiian shirt have lots of big flowers on a bright background.

Protection and Warmth: Though the basic purpose of dressing can be warmth and protection but fashion nevertheless has its roots in adornment, decoration and ornamentation. Protection and warmth is secondary to that.

Modesty: Modesty is a commonly cited purpose for dressing. The idea of modesty in different cultures is very different. While Muslims prefer to adopt modest fashion, people belonging to other religion may not find it very important but whether a person is Muslim, Christian or Hindu, every religion preaches modesty. As Mark Twain said “the finest clothing made is a person's skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this”.

Beauty/Seduction: Are also important purposes of dress. Most people want to look attractive, at least under certain circumstances. But what is considered beautiful is also subject to variation. Ideals of beauty also change over time within the same culture, as we will see. Fashion is most important in life because it beautifies our personality and pleasing appearance.

From Historical point of view: "To be fashionable" is a popular way of saying a particular person is following a dictated, current trend. However, the importance of fashion opens up a whole new perspective. It opens up a view of fashion moments over time; it opens up fashion in history. What was life like in the 1920s? Start with the fashion current at the time. Fashion is an important clue to people and peoples' lives in history.

As a Sign Language: Fashion is a sign language or way of communication. Through it one can express his or her emotions, feelings, thoughts, and over all personality. Our clothes tell a lot about us. Our clothes tell who we are in the society. It tells others what we want, what our talents, our needs, our personalities, our dispositions and our destinations. Without a doubt, clothing is the most prominent facade of our well being in the society. It can camouflage, it can cover-up and it can build as much as it can destroy our image. It can say for us, we're as good as you are, or we have the same interest or we're important or even the opposite, we're worthless. Clothing is silent but very powerful communicator.

We've all experienced better treatment when we look especially well and what it's like to be treated badly when we don't. We can get attention when we enter a room or attract people with the same interest. That is because people relate to the way we wear our clothing. Clothes are said to make "fashion statements."

For Emotional Stability: We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. The sense of being perfectly well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquility.

From Psychological Point of View: Different people have different perceptions about different colours, fabrics, and fashion. Fashion thus has a psychological impact on human beings. Those who are very well dressed are perceived as well groomed as compared to those who are wearing shabby clothes.

Physical and Physiological:  A dress or an accessory not only satisfies social and emotional needs but it is worn on body and it becomes part of our physical being. A part of this strangeness of dress is that it links the biological body to the social being, and public to private. ~Elizabeth Wilson

Employment: Fashion has become an industry and thousand of people are employed in this industry as researchers, marketers, developers, manufacturers, laborers, and many more.


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      Rebecca and Laurencia 4 years ago

      thanks a lot..we were searching for this kind of article..the one that have everything we ever was really helpfully to us in our more pleaseeee.....kam sa ham nida

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      aknez 5 years ago

      thanx lot. it really helped me in doing my assignment and got to know wat i don't. And wud like to ask Franz.... you don't have time to see all the important points gulzahmad has written but you got time to pick out wrong points?

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      kutu 5 years ago

      its so nice,so helpful for me..thank u

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      Franz 6 years ago

      The main purpose of clothes is protection and warmth, in a primitive world, any thing that feels good is adapted quickly, the warmth of fire feels good that is why people harnessed it and because of the good feeling effect of clothes, people began to use it...

      Adam and Eve did not cover themselves with fig leaves, in the bible, Adam and eve where clothed with animal skin.....

      Sorry but i your premise in not very good and "almost" an opinion basic what so ever. sorry sorry sorry

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      gulnazahmad 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks g, thanks for stopping by here.

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      6 years ago

      ya its so nice

    • gulnazahmad profile image

      gulnazahmad 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you Pinkchic. Keep reading!

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Love this hub! So much good stuff, thank you so much for sharing!