The Fashion Industry Sector
- For centuries individuals or societies have used clothes and other body adornment as a form of nonverbal communication to indicate occupation, rank, gender, sexual availability, locality, class, wealth and group affiliation. Fashion is a form of free speech. It not only embraces clothing, but also accessories, jewellery, hairstyles, beauty and body art. What we wear and how and when we wear it, provides others with a shorthand to subtly read the surface of a social situation.
- The fashion industry is a product of the modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothing was custom made. It was handmade for individuals, either as home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. By the beginning of the 20th century—with the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system of production, and the proliferation of retail outlets such as department stores—clothing had increasingly come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices. Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, today it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold world-wide. 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.
- Today fashion and beauty can be affordable for everyone. There is always a range such as Avon that provides quality beauty, make up and accessory products at a prices most can afford. Mass fashion is moving so fast that fashion now moves in a weekly cycle and fashion trends are hot for a short time only.
- Haute couture (French for 'high sewing') is a common term for high fashion as produced in Paris and imitated in other fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Milan. Sometimes it is used only to refer to French fashion; at other times it refers to any unique stylish design made to order for wealthy and high-status clients.