It’s not that easy to answer the question, “what is fashion?” because it means different things to different people. Fashion is an art. It’s a religion. It’s a job. It’s a peek into a personality. It’s playfulness. It’s an escape or a disguise. It is a feast for the eyes. But ultimately, fashion is an individual statement of expression for each of us. That is how I think of fashion and what I believe fashion is. What is fashion too you? But before you answer that question finish reading this post because it might spark some thoughts and ideas!

French fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

It’s true! Fashion isn’t defined solely by our clothing choices, but is also conveyed through the way we carry ourselves, our personalities and our views of the world. At it’s most fundamental (and straight from the dictionary), fashion is simply the prevailing style or custom, as in dress or behavior.

So, who exactly answers the question “what is fashion”?

Who decides what’s fashionable and what isn’t? What’s in or what’s out? Below I have listed a few points that I believe influence fashion.

Fashion Designers
The iconic fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci, Chanel, are referred to as haute couture, French for “high sewing.” These designers lead the way in creating trend-setting fashion. While some of their designs are outrageous and completely unrealistic when it comes to everyday wear, generally the theme is adapted into versions suitable for everyday  wearing.

Fashion trends are often sparked by characters on popular television shows and movies as well as adopted from magazine pages. “Sex and the City,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” these shows introduced us to new, cutting-edge designs. While you might not be caught dead wearing a Carrie Bradshaw original, you might take ideas inspired from her look and piece together your own creation.

A prime example of a celebrity-driven fashion trend? UGGs! Until Kate Hudson and Jessica Simpson were spotted wearing them around L.A. several years ago, no one had given any thought to UGG boots. Now they are everywhere and I’m sure most of you have a pair at home or have had a pair in the past. Am I right?

Musicians have always been very influential when it comes to dictating fashion. Rock ‘n’ roll is fashion. Elvis is an iconic example. In the 1950s, everyone wanted to dress like Elvis. What about the heavy metal hair bands so popular in the 1980s? Axl Rose reinvented the head bandana while Poison, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi set the pace for big, rocker hair. Today, Lady Gaga amongst other musicians have defined new fashion trends.

Just because you don’t know if a Prada bag is Fall 2011 or spring 2012 doesn’t matter (unless you work in the fashion industry, of course). All that matters is that you like it and it’s an expression of you. Another point I would like to make is that just because something is popular and “everyone” is wearing it, it doesn’t mean that you have too. Before you jump on the bandwagon of a trend make sure that it looks good on you. That you are comfortable wearing it and that it defines who you are.

That is fashion!

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