Fashion: A Captivating, Seductive, Transformational, Social Culture

BY CHIKAODINAKA NWOSU/NKEM CHUKWURAH
In the world over, fashion is driving a lot of people crazy. It has engulfed the thinking faculty of many as they are of the view that anyone who does not appear fashionable or dress to suit a particular standard or meet a certain taste is a nonentity, a misfit and a social deviant. CHIKA NWOSU and NKEM CHUKWURAH, both students of the Department of Mass Communication, Imo State University, Owerri, went to Asaba town and sort views of Deltans, especially professionals in the industry, on trends in the sector and are here presented for our reading audience.

FASHION, as a dressing style, is different from person to person. It is also different from one tribe to the other. Fashion is a job, a religion and an art. It depicts a people’s cultural orientation and a way of life. It also depicts someone’s moral standing as not all dresses can be worn by people based on their religious beliefs and sentiments. Fashion depicts a person’s personality, level of education and civilization. Fashion is an individual statement of expression for each of us.
However, a fashion designer in Asaba, who identified himself as Bishop Tailor, said fashion is not something that exists in dresses only, but fashion is in the sky, in the street, and it has to do with ideas, the way we live and what is happening around society. It’s true that fashion isn’t defined solely by people’s choice of clothing but it is also conveyed through the way we carry ourselves, our personality and view of the world. Fashion is simply the prevailing style, as in dress. He also said fashion changes as taste changes.
Fashion is always changing, slightly elusive, extremely seductive, highly captivating and has the power to transform an image and make a social statement. Fashion could also be the latest style of clothing decoration, footwear and hairdo. It is a habitual trend in the style in which a person dresses. Fashion is also the prevailing styles in behavior and newest creation of textile designs. Fashion designers, it is believed, are the originators or inventors of different fashion trends across the globe. They dictate the trends and woo their customers to choose the ‘reigning trend’. They introduce and attract people’s attention to various trends in the world of fashion.
In the present world, fashion is not to be worn casually nor outside the runway, fashion is fit for all sizes, for all people of all ages. It is not restricted to the high class, nor to high society ladies but it cuts across all strata of society-the youths, children, men, women, young and old. Fashion is an art of personal self expression, not an excuse to be popular, but somehow it’s a way of attracting attention to oneself and being recognised. Some people are identified by their pattern of dressing due to the regularity of their dressing style.
The fashion industry as it is today is a product of modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothings were custom made. They were handmade for individuals either as home production or an order from tailors just as the first fashion designer, Charles Fredrick, dictated to his customers what to wear rather than following their demands. In the 20th century, the rise of new technologies such as sewing machines, the rise of global capitalism and development of the factory system of production and the proliferations of retail outlets such as departmental stores have drastically affected the fashion industry. Clothing has increasingly come to be mass produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices.
The first fashion industry became so famous that people were able to attach a face and name to designs. In fashion, there are aspects which could be masculine or feminine just as it’s being relegated to special senses like fancy dresses or masquerade wears, it includes clothing and the study of it.
Fashion design is a form of art dedicated to the creation of clothing and other accessories. It involves two categories: haute couture and ready –to- wear, both are collections presented on catwalks all over the world. Fashion designing is influenced by cultural or social latitudes and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing cloth, because of the time required to bring the garment unto the market, most at times anticipate changing consumer taste and style.
Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional and adaptable to various occasions. They consider who is likely to wear the garment and the occasion and the environment in which it could be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with so as to arrive at a beautiful design. And a wide range of colour patterns and styles to choose from, though there are clothings worn for every day wear which falls within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sort for special occasions such as evening wears, or party dresses.
A designer should be able to combine colors, shades and tones, he also needs to work with fabrics and use textiles in a creative and original manner. Designers have a good visual imagination and are able to think in three dimensions and put their ideas into the design of garments.
Fashion designing includes trends, a fashion designer has to be aware of the fashion market requirements so as not to prepare clothes that are outdated and out of the market. They have to be very interested in learning new things, read fashion magazines, journals and books on fashion design history and new trends. As a designer, he should also have experience of tailoring (cutting, draping, sewing) and be able to tell the difference between different fabric quality levels.
A fashion designer, Mr. Jude Enwemuche, said fashion designing is a very lucrative job with lots of opportunities. Due to the sense of fashion, many individuals have ventured into the fashion business and are making wave in the sector. Some tailors say it is important in one’s life because you need clothing for everyday living. Fashion has enhanced people’s lives and taken them far and wide in a fast developing world.
Fashion designing is taking place both as a practice and study, fashion is seen in virtually every thing we do in movies, music and it’s a job that pays well if you know it well. However, women are taking over the industry because their craze over fashion. According to Miss Doris James, a designer, fashion designing is profitable and has large membership. It is more profitable when it is in season like winter and summer.
Also, Miss Ngozi Malasowe, another designer said fashion should be encouraged as it is one area of enhancing or growing the nation’s economy. But one thing most important is that fashion should go beyond manual labour as the availability of electricity power supply would ease production and speed up the process.