Fashions can also be abused as well and become harmful when turned into an obsession. Then they mean waste of time, energy, and money.
It is better to be a little out of fashion than to be in fashion at the cost of one’s conscience and discretion. Young men and women living in big towns and cities, with a network of fast and effective means of communication and availability of audio-visual aids in plenty, are really fashionable people. In the urban areas, thousands of people live and mix with each other and exchange ideas, opinions and interact freely.
They belong to different classes, faiths, and speak different languages and, therefore, have different manners, tastes and styles. There are clubs, societies, social gatherings and get-togethers, which bring people into close contact with one another. Then there are hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, colleges, universities, schools, and offices, etc. where people see different styles and fashions and then try to imitate or to improve upon the existing ones. Fashion-consciousness in cities is so widespread and deep that as soon as a fashion comes in vogue in London, Paris, New York, Berlin or Rome, it is adopted and patronised by people in India. The means of communication are now so fast that the earth has turned into a global village and the infectious fashion knows no boundaries of time and space.
The people in villages, rural areas and remote places remain untouched by the waves of fashion, both, because of lack of means of communication and poverty. But villages and towns too are not immune as traditional values, modes of living and traditions are giving way to change and novelty. To some extent, they too are affected by new fashions, designs, patterns and way of living and as the process is slow and gradual, it takes time for a fashion to reach the villages from the cities through films, videos and personal contacts. Films and cable T.V.
are a great source of fashions and quick changes in trends. Fashions are liquid and changeable like weather. Till recently, bell-bottoms, midis, minis and maxis were quite in fashion and now they are out of fashion.
Again tight-bottoms, skirt-tops, salwar-kamiz and saris are in fashion. But fashion is unpredictable and keeps on changing according to the moods, fancies and ideas of the people and the influence of the popular films. Therefore, it is not easy to predict what is fashionable. Fashions are also influenced by glossy, colourful and eye-catching textile advertisements, fashion shows, propaganda of fashion and dress designers, articles in the fashion magazines and foreign visitors. Now, people spend a good amount of their pocket money and earnings to keep themselves in fashion. They are very particular about their dress, hairstyle, cosmetics, shoes, ornaments and manners. Has not Shakespeare declared in Hamlet, “The apparel oft proclaims the man”.
Therefore, urbanites, particularly young men and women always keep themselves abreast of modern trends in styles and fashions. Consequently, the tailors, fashion designers, cosmetic manufacturers have a booming business. They catch on the new ideas in circulation and immediately push fashion products to suit the new fads, fashions and thoughts. Fashion designing and technology is now an established branch of human knowledge, science and practice.
It provides employment and business to millions of people throughout the world and there has been a huge investment in the fashion industry. Expert fashion-designers, technologists, tailors and drapers are busy day and night to cater to the needs of the fashion-conscious in society. They not only cater to the tastes of the people but also create taste and fashion and thereby earn huge profits. Freedom is man’s most cherished possession and the freedom to choose one’s lifestyle is of fundamental importance. Therefore, there is nothing to be ashamed of in being conscious of fashion.
However, excess of everything is bad and should be avoided. Moderation should be the law in fashion as well. To live in style, dress well, colourfully and smartly makes life lively, attractive and zestful. In some mysterious way, it also gets linked to sex and its subtle and suggestive expression.
Show and exhibitionism is part of a dynamic life and maser- be appreciated. Fashion-consciousness is a healthy sign as it appeals and pleases people, promotes togetherness, social interaction and enlivens the environment. It is misconceived to link fashion with immorality. But it would be certainly foolish to spend extravagantly on the latest fads and to run after them at the expense of valuable time, energy and resources.
It is good to be fashionable but it is better to be simple and dignified because simplicity with dignity is the best and evergreen fashion. Change is the law of nature and so desirable and appreciable, but it does not mean slavish, blind and foolish aping and imitation of ideas, styles, manners and designs in dress, shoes, and hairstyles, etc. Our own folk, classical and standardized traditions, customs, manners are so rich, varied and unique that we can very well depend upon them to quench our thirst for change, novelty and innovation.