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Meaning of Fashion

Fashion is an important means of social control. It determines our speech, opinion, belief, recreation, dress, music, art and literature. Herbert Spencer regarded fashion as a leveler of custom. Gabriel Trade defined fashion as the imitation of contemporaries. Maclver has well described fashion as the socially approved sequence of variation on a customary theme. According to Lundberg Fashions are folkways that survive for only a short time. Ross writes fashion is a series of recurring changes in the choices of a group of people which though they may be accompanied by utility are not determined by it. Kimball Young defines fashion as the current or prevailing usage mode, manner or characteristic of expression, presentation or conception of those particular traits which custom itself allows changing. Fashion implies certain habits upon which fashionable changes flourish. It is a compromise between desire for novelty and desire for conformity. It is a transitory accepted change on a permanent line of behaviour.Thus wearing a silk sari, painting to decorate house, styled hair are all examples of fashion.

Etiquette and Convention in Fashion

To make the meaning of fashion more clear we may look to the meaning of two other words etiquette and convention. These are merely matters of convenience in social relations without having any deeper meaning. Convention prescribes those forms which social relations in given situations must follow. These forms are merely social agreement. They are socially agreed upon procedures. They make social relationships go smoothly and automatically with a minimum of confusion and friction. Etiquette prescribes the detailed formalities to be observed on ceremonious occasions. It is a code with respect to manners. Thus greeting and wishing well are modes of etiquette. Fashion is not something which society just tolerates but it is something that society accepts. It has an element of social sanction behind it.