Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, as of 2017, it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold worldwide. For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China and have the clothes manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States,[30] and it remains so in the 21st century. However, U.S. employment declined considerably as production increasingly moved overseas, especially to China. Because data on the fashion industry typically are reported for national economies and expressed in terms of the industry's many separate sectors, aggregate figures for world production of textiles and clothing are difficult to obtain. However, by any measure, the clothing industry accounts for a significant share of world economic output.[31] The fashion industry consists of four levels:

In the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry. Robert Glariston, an intellectual property expert, mentioned in a fashion seminar held in LA[which?] that "Copyright law regarding clothing is a current hot-button issue in the industry. We often have to draw the line between designers being inspired by a design and those outright stealing it in different places."[69] To take inspiration from others' designs contributes to the fashion industry's ability to establish clothing trends. For the past few years, WGSN has been a dominant source of fashion news and forecasts in encouraging fashion brands worldwide to be inspired by one another. Enticing consumers to buy clothing by establishing new trends is, some have argued, a key component of the industry's success. Intellectual property rules that interfere with this process of trend-making would, in this view, be counter-productive. On the other hand, it is often argued that the blatant theft of new ideas, unique designs, and design details by larger companies is what often contributes to the failure of many smaller or independent design companies.
Although aspects of fashion can be feminine or masculine, some trends are androgynous.[25] The idea of unisex dressing originated in the 1960s when designers such as Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich created garments, such as stretch jersey tunics or leggings, meant to be worn by both males and females. The impact of unisex expands more broadly to encompass various themes in fashion including androgyny, mass-market retail, and conceptual clothing.[26] The fashion trends of the 1970s, such as sheepskin jackets, flight jackets, duffel coats, and unstructured clothing influenced men to attend social gatherings without a tuxedo jacket and to accessorize in new ways. Some men's styles blended the sensuality and expressiveness despite the conservative trend, the growing gay-rights movement and an emphasis on youth allowed for a new freedom to experiment with style, fabrics such as wool crepe, which had previously been associated with women's attire was used by designers when creating male clothing.[27]
Many fashion designers have come under fire over the years for what is known as tokenism. Designer or editors will add one or two members on an underrepresented group to help them appear as inclusive and diverse, and to also help them give the illusion that they have equality.[89] This idea of tokenism helps designers avoid accusations of racism, sexism, body shaming, etc.[89]
Additionally, there is a long history of fashion in West Africa.[11] Cloth was used as a form of currency in trade with the Portuguese and Dutch as early as the 16th Century.[11] Locally produced cloth and cheaper European imports were assembled into new styles to accommodate the growing elite class of West Africans and resident gold and slave traders.[11] There was an especially strong tradition of cloth-weaving in Oyo and the areas inhabited by the Igbo people.[11]

Though different textile colors and patterns changed from year to year,[20] the cut of a gentleman's coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady's dress was cut, changed more slowly. Men's fashions were largely derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette were galvanized in theaters of European war where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles such as the "Steinkirk" cravat or necktie.


The media plays a significant role when it comes to fashion. For instance, an important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique, guidelines, and commentary can be found on television and in magazines, newspapers, fashion websites, social networks, and fashion blogs. In recent years, fashion blogging and YouTube videos have become a major outlet for spreading trends and fashion tips, creating an online culture of sharing one's style on a website or Instagram account. Through these media outlets readers and viewers all over the world can learn about fashion, making it very accessible.[49]

Social media is changing the way practitioners deliver messages,[16] as they are concerned with the media, and also customer relationship building.[60] PR practitioners must provide effective communication among all platforms, in order to engage the fashion public in an industry socially connected via online shopping.[61] Consumers have the ability to share their purchases on their personal social media pages (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and if practitioners deliver the brand message effectively and meet the needs of its public, word-of-mouth publicity will be generated and potentially provide a wide reach for the designer and their products.
Aiming to “amplify a greater message of unity, inclusion, diversity, and feminism in a fashion space”, Mara Hoffman invited the founders of the Women's March on Washington to open her show which featured modern silhouettes of utilitarian wear, described by critics as “Made for a modern warrior” and “Clothing for those who still have work to do”.[75] Prabal Gurung debuted his collection of T-shirts featuring slogans such as “The Future is Female”, “We Will Not Be Silenced”, and “Nevertheless She Persisted”, with proceeds going to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Gurung's own charity, “Shikshya Foundation Nepal”.[72] Similarly, The Business of Fashion launched the #TiedTogether movement on Social Media, encouraging member of the industry from editors to models, to wear a white bandana advocating for “unity, solidarity, and inclusiveness during fashion week”.[76]
Today, people in rich countries are linked to people in poor countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. People work long hours in one area of the globe to produce things that people in another part of the globe are anxious to consume. An example of this is the chain of production and consumption of Nike shoes, which are produced in Taiwan and then purchased in North America. At the production end, there is nation-building a hard working ideology that leads people to produce and entices people to consume with a vast amount of goods for the offering[clarification needed]. Commodities are no longer just utilitarian but are fashionable, be they running shoes or sweat suits.[65]
(in clothing: = latest style) → Mode f; (back) in fashion → (wieder) modern; it’s the/all the fashion → es ist Mode/große Mode; to come into/go out of fashion → in Mode/aus der Mode kommen; a man of fashion → ein modischer Herr; the Paris fashions → die Pariser Mode; she always wears the latest fashions → sie ist immer nach der neuesten Mode gekleidet; fashions in women’s clothes → die Damenmode; to set a fashion → eine Mode aufbringen; the fashion world → die Welt der Mode
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