My mother always said, "You can tell what a person is like based on what he or
she is wearing." Was there any truth in her words? Clothes do define a person in
many ways. In the past, clothes were the easiest article on the body to make a
statement, to stand out from the masses, to convey a message and many more. Some
examples of these 'standing out' became very popular and were followed by more
people. This was the moment when fashion appeared.
Nowadays, fashion is
sometimes defined as a 'constantly changing trend, favored for frivolous rather
than practical, logical or intellectual reasons'. I can imagine the images of
fashion catwalks where fashion houses display the season's hottest hits, and
many are almost impossible to wear, yet these pieces are evaluated, commented
and practically obsessed by the fashion world each time a fashion show date
arrives. Nevertheless, clothing has become an integral part of self-realization
of every person.
The type of clothing completely depends on the person who is wearing it,
therefore, it becomes a reflection of his perception of himself, which leads us
to the term - personal identity. The choice of clothing is as important as
identification through the color of hair, height, skin and gender. Clothing
nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it. It is like a
code that needs a decryption in order to understand what kind of person is
underneath it. As every cloth carries a strong message about its owner, every
owner places a certain value in it, depending on his temperament, mindset or
today's mood. Therefore, the clothing of a person is a means of communication
with the outside world of the identity he or she wishes to portray to the world
on that day.
Clothes have an immense impact on the perception of people around and on the
perception of the person wearing them too. A suit can make a person feel more
confident and organized, which would eventually change even the gestures and the
manner of talking of the person. Wearing jeans after a suit may change the
conduct of a person to a very liberal and feeble one. The perception of people
around can be very predictable in terns of their reaction on a person wearing
this or that style of clothing.
Fashion is one of the most powerful means of communication, which sometimes
may play a vital role in the life of a person; it especially concerns the cases
of getting a desired job. The preference is always given to people who dressed
in 'business style', personifying their dignity and seriousness in everything.
This is one of the primary reasons that even the smallest companies make wearing
a suit one of their requirements for their employees. Do you remember shaking
your head in amazement that people put on suits in our tropical climate? Now you
know why. The customers feel more confident in such 'consultants' too. So
fashion is a very important instrument to manipulate people's perceptions of
social class, culture and even gender.
It is no surprise to any of the people who at least know what fashion is that
the clothes that people wear are usually very symbolic. The symbolism of
clothing is another part of delivering the message that a person tries to put
into it. Every observable symbol may carry a deeper meaning that it is visually
understandable. Expression of symbols through clothing is a very popular
tendency nowadays. For instance, a man with a tiger on his T-shirt may seem
aggressive to one person, and a Green Peace member for another. A bird may be a
symbol of freedom. In the present day, actual statements that directly spell out
certain ideas are very popular.
Fashion and identity are inseparable companions. Fashion, with all its
symbolism and attributes, forms an outstanding base for personal and cultural
identification. Identity is a necessary process of a healthy personality. It is
a part of self-realization of a person that is so much required for finding a
place in the life of every person. Fashion has become a tool for achieving
harmony with the inner world and a way of revealing or concealing peculiarities.
Fashion possesses a specific meaning, and the more diverse is the society around
us, the more fashion trend will appear and surprise us. As long as it does not
hurt people around, fashion symbols are acceptable. Therefore, fashion does
create identity indeed.