Why is fashion important? - Why are trends necessary? - Why should teens care? - Why are there so many different styles? - Why should YOU care?

Why does fashion mean so much to the world? Why are there thousands of stores, millions of factories, billions of fabrics, designs, accessories, and styles? Fashion is one of the enduring aspects of humanity. For as long as humans of been on Earth, they've recognized the need to protect themselves from the natural dangers of the world. Fashion originally started out as a simple way to protect one's person from cold, heat, or animal bites. The first 'fashion' was that of animal hides and fur-- a prehistoric "style" that has come full circle, as nowadays, it's not uncommon to see people wearing leather pants or jackets, fur-lined coats, or fur stoles or wraps. Fashion continues to be important not just because of the necessity to protect one's body from Nature, but as a way to express one's self.

Fashion's importance is rarely underestimated-- after all, everyone considers it important to "look right" for a big meeting, a first date, or a black-tie ball. It's common knowledge that humans are bound to judge based on first impressions-- and part of every first impression, of course, is apperance. The first time you see someone, the way they dress might give you an idea of where they work, how much money they make, what kind of people they hang around-- you can find out more about someone from how the dress then what they might tell you in an hour! And it's not just clothing, either --someone's hairstyle, accessories, hats, jewelry-- all of these in addition to one's clothing lend to their overall appearance, and what people believe regarding that person based on that appearance.

Fashion becomes a priority for people in almost every class, job, lifestyle, region, or situation. Since "neatness" and "presentation" are key points for anyone trying to gain a favorable impression, the way one dresses can be everything. Fashion's importance is worldwide, whether you work for a major corporation or are simply a attending a school in a big city.

Trends, the ever-changing, history-making part of fashion, are necessary. As time goes by, people's opinions change of what is physically attractive, of what colors, styles, fabrics, and patterns are eye-catching and pleasing. What people think is "pretty" or "handsome" today is a far cry from what they were defined as in the fashion world of the late 19th or early 20th century. There's never any ONE person or group that defines what is trendy. What is popular and stylish in New York might be considered old news in San Francisco or Los Angeles, and what is "cute" in Tokyo or Osaka might not ever make it to the United States. The cycle of trends usually involves marketers researching teenagers in various areas, from differing ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders, economic classes, and so forth. In this way, they can present their data to the highest-bidding customer-- fashion marketers, designers, and companies that create the clothing we see hanging off of shelves in stores today.

Today's teens might seem pretty apathetic towards things like fashion and clothing-- as a matter of fact, hundreds of thousands of teens are much more actively involved in the college process, in protests, and in their own personal hobbies and pasttimes. But fashion is unavoidable-- everyone has to wear clothes at one time or another. Teenagers are especially harsh to their peers when it comes to first appearances and impressions, and often "the way you look" deems the "way you will be treated." Because of this, the way someone looks can change the way they act-- or the way others act around them. Teenagers become more conscious of the nuances in their peer's behavior; what is liked and disliked, what is taboo, and what is "in" or "out."

With every teenager, there's a different style. It's true that most styles become generalized, and the sections in particular clothing stores are simplified for ease of shopping. But what "classic" is to one person might not be "classic" at all to someone else. Below are many of the popular "styles" that have lasted many years:

classic/simple sporty/athletic natural
dramatic punk gothic
romantic/ingenue   gamin

Some people devote their lives to examining fashion-- its history, its impact, and what it can do in the future. The fashion industry has a wide variety of people working for it, changing the way fashion is percieved and made. Each person dedicates their own individuality to their job, changing and expanding the definitions of all the styles, from 'classic' to 'romantic,' from 'sporty' to 'dramatic,' over and over again.

But why should you care? The fact of the matter is that teenagers are regarded as the future. They are old enough to make their own decisions, be creative, influential, and powerful. The teenage market is one of the largest ones in the world, paying billions of dollars every year to various industries out to "entertain" and "please" the vastly growing, ever-changing, rich teenage market. Corporations and clothing manufacturers pay millions of dollars to gain the secret insight that young market researchers have on the current trends and beliefs of the teenage market in a given area or class. Teenagers, in turn, buy what's in style, rebel when they don't like it anymore, and begin their own trends from the leftovers, along with their own individual likes. Fashion has an incredible influence on teenagers, in the same way teenagers have a great influence on the world. Many people complain that celebrities and the media are transforming today's teenagers into violent, over-sexed youth, but where do those ideas come from in the first place? Why do teenagers respond to such imagery if it DOESN'T appeal them? The adults of today were once teens themselves, and many of them were considered 'rebels' of society in their youth. It's not as if today's fashion needs to be changed in order to sculpt the perfect teenager-- time has proven that every time someone tries to squeeze the vast teenage group into a single mold, it never works. But everyone can learn to be a little bit more tolerating-- of themselves, of their peers, and of adult influences, of the who, what, where, when, and why of fashion and its origins.


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