Fashion is an umbrella term for a broad range of individual aspects of style and appearance, normally in reference to clothes, footwear, accessories, hairstyles, makeup, and body shape. In its broader sense, the word also includes trends in casual dress and behaviour. However, in its usage as a subset of the larger field of fashion design, it indicates a style defined by the fashion industry in what is generally accepted to be a desirable way of being dressed.
It has been noted that many changes in the fashions are driven by how the wearer feels about themselves and their relationships to others. The work settings in which fast fashion companies operate may have some aspects of the working conditions described above. Thus, certain brands of designer clothing that have become popular amongst the working classes in major urban centres, such as Apple Bottoms, Gap and Motherhood, are able to create a sense of solidarity and pride with these garments as part of a wider campaign for social change through solidarity.
The most common areas for designers to discuss when they talk about fashion trends are the social and work settings. There are, for example, some fashion trends that appeal to a very specific ethnic group or to certain types of people, for example ethnic dresses created specifically for ethnic groups or for the elderly. As with other areas of fashion, certain people prefer certain colours or styles. This can vary according to the ethnicity, class and cultural identification of the person concerned. For example, some young people may prefer cool, casual styles and colours; whereas, older people may have more traditional tastes and preferences.
High fashion is one of the more popular areas of the fashion world and is typified by high-fashion magazines, high end designers and celebrities. High fashion, as a style of dress, is generally suited for professional situations, often business suits and conservative suits worn to work. It is not, however, suitable for informal or fun occasions such as parties. Many of the more high fashion styled fashions are often associated with high-end designers who create them and sell them through their own label, but there are also many small, upmarket boutiques that sell contemporary and unique styles of dress at great discounts.
Haute couture is very different from high fashion in its approach and style. Haute couture usually refers to high fashion but does not exclude the small boutiques and shops that create interesting and unique fashion items for a casual or non-expert consumer. Haute couture is particularly famous for its ready-to-wear line of products, especially perfumes, ready-made clothes and accessories. Some haute couture designers have been known to create an original design.
One of the new technologies that is making its presence felt in the fashion world is Internet shopping. The ease of browsing, comparing prices and checking stock availability online has made it easier than ever to purchase items from anywhere in the world and have them shipped directly to your home. This convenient method of shopping also makes it far easier for small boutique owners to compete with the major designer labels that have stores all over the country. Many Internet fashion designers are creating websites that offer their products at reasonable prices and at the same time, offering an extensive variety of styles, colors and designs.