The paper "Fashion provides one of the most ready means" explores what fashion is, from several perspectives, and highlights a number of difficulties in equating fashion with the expression of individual identity. The term “fashion” derives from the French verb faire which means simply “to make,” and it came to be used at first by the upper classes of Europe who began to mingle more freely with each other and exchange influences during the Industrial revolution. This connection with class, and with expanding European capitalism, continues into modern discourses about globalization and the dominance of Eurocentric ideas in the modern world. There is something about travel that encourages waves of imitation to cross from one culture to the next. It became obvious that different countries “fashioned” their everyday objects differently, and so the adoption of a “fashion” which imitated that of a distant place became an indicator of wealth and sophistication. An English aristocratic woman’s purpose in buying the latest pattern for dressmaking or interior design in Paris was therefore a celebration of difference, setting the owner apart from others of her own circle, and creating an insurmountable social gap between those who could afford such luxuries, and those servants and workers who could perhaps glimpse such wonders but never hope to ever own them. Already, then, it is obvious that the adoption of new fashions, from whatever source, is a complex undertaking that involves economic and social factors.
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