An Overview of the Fashion Industry

Fashion is a unique form of autonomy and self-expression in a certain context and at a certain time and in a certain environment. The word itself implies a style defined by the fashion industry, as what is fashionable at any given time. However, some aspects are common to all definitions, such as individuality, freedom, and flexibility. These aspects of fashion are crucial if we are to continue living in a society that respects individual choices.


Fashion has been around since the ancient times when the Egyptians were noted for their great beauty, elegance, and superior workmanship. The trend during this time span was to embellish themselves with precious stones, clothes, jewelry, tapestries, fine beds, and other items deemed to be of value. Such items were thought to influence one’s looks, mood, and behavior. In the times of the Ancient Egyptians, fashion was associated with social standing and royalty.

The popularity of these fashions have ebbed and flowed throughout the years, with sometimes significant variation. In modern society, certain fashion trends seem to be permanent staples. Certain styles are appealing to a gender or age demographic more than others. When the “Pantsuit” emerged, for instance, it marked a major cultural change in the wearing of formal pants. However, for a trend to become permanent it usually requires significant cultural influence and backing.

Much of the modern day “fashion industry” is localized, meaning that designers at one shop are not necessarily responsible for all aspects of a design. There are many smaller shops and boutiques that produce high quality clothing. The fashion industry also depends on print media for marketing. Print ads can appear in local newspapers and magazines, as well as popular national publications. Major fashion shows and fashion weeks also promote certain trends.

Fashionable trends change frequently based on public opinion. A new style may be pushed slowly through a series of testing fashion shows until a final style is selected. Then retailers begin to market the new product. Marketing is a massive part of the industry.

As a career, the fashion career can be challenging, rewarding, and ever-changing. A degree program in fashion design can take four years or longer to complete. Fulltime study can lead to a bachelor’s degree and then several years of graduate and post-graduate studies. Jobs can be found in the fashion industry in a variety of locations including boutiques, department stores, hotels, and corporations. The fashion industry has a high unemployment rate, but jobs are available for those with an eye for fashion.