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Fashion

“fashion” that the more general term “costume” has mostly been relegated to something fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term “fashion” means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing, costume and fabrics. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the Western world.

Clothing

2008 runway show

Further information: History of Western fashion

The continually changing fashions of the West have been generally unparalleled either in antiquity or in the other great civilizations of the world until recent decades. Early Western travellers, whether to Persia, Turkey, Japan or China frequently remark on the absence of changes in fashion there, and observers from these other cultures comment on the unseemly pace of Western fashion, which many felt suggested an instability and lack of order in Western culture. The Japanese Shogun’s secretary boasted (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years. However in Ming China, for example, there is considerable evidence for rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing.

Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change (such as in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate), but then a long period without large

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