Fashion in the broadest sense is about the outward style or presentation of an object. However, it usually refers to the presentation of clothing, adornments, and cosmetics and body art. It plays a critical role in culture and societies world wide from the local to global scale. It also plays an important economic and technological role through design. 

Some typical fashion items and concepts include:

  • fashion clothing,
  • Jewels likes necklaces, rings, bracelets 
  • Cosmetics and fragrances
  • Hats (headwear) and shoes (footwear)
  • Choice of combinations of fabric and colours or patterns and specific design features.
  • Body art

Fashion show picture photo

A fashion show presenting fashions in a bright, colourful and exaggerated form that may not necessarily be popular or street fashion. but emphasises skill in fashion design It also includes hair designs and cosmetics.  image: R.Conan-Davies

The choice of fashions or trends of personal appearance are gained through social or group influence of a society or communities and personal expression.

The word 'Fashion' often is used to simply mean 'to make' for example fashioning an object.  It originates from the Old French façon, from Latin factio(n-), from facere ‘do, make.’. What ends up being made does not need to actually need to solve an immediate problem.

a picture photo of  bangle on wrist

An example of fashion jewellry and cosmetics including lipstick and mascara. image: R.Conan-Davies

Fashion presentation does not always require immediate practicality to solve a problem, this is similar to the definition of art. Often fashions are symbolic of cultural aspects of a society and may represent different economic or occupational statuses.

Fashion is also synonymous to trend. For example " it was the fashion at the time to wear..."

  • Personal popular  fashions
  • Occupational fashions like uniforms

Fashion that has more of practical application is usually referred in the context of  Design technology. For example the term clothing fashion design is more about the tools and techniques for the creation of clothing fashion items that also serve a function.