The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century,[12][13] though they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery[14] and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century.[15] The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks,[16] sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger.

Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, as of 2017, it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold worldwide. For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China and have the clothes manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States,[30] and it remains so in the 21st century. However, U.S. employment declined considerably as production increasingly moved overseas, especially to China. Because data on the fashion industry typically are reported for national economies and expressed in terms of the industry's many separate sectors, aggregate figures for world production of textiles and clothing are difficult to obtain. However, by any measure, the clothing industry accounts for a significant share of world economic output.[31] The fashion industry consists of four levels:
Though there had been distribution of dressed dolls from France since the 16th century and Abraham Bosse had produced engravings of fashion in the 1620s, the pace of change picked up in the 1780s with increased publication of French engravings illustrating the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike (or thought they were); local variation became first a sign of provincial culture and later a badge of the conservative peasant.[22]
The four major current fashion capitals are acknowledged to be Paris, Milan, New York City, and London, which are all headquarters to the greatest fashion companies and are renowned for their major influence on global fashion. Fashion weeks are held in these cities, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences. A succession of major designers such as Coco Chanel and Yves Saint-Laurent have kept Paris as the center most watched by the rest of the world, although haute couture is now subsidized by the sale of ready-to-wear collections and perfume using the same branding.
fashion, style, mode, vogue, fad, rage, craze mean the usage accepted by those who want to be up-to-date. fashion is the most general term and applies to any way of dressing, behaving, writing, or performing that is favored at any one time or place. the current fashion style often implies a distinctive fashion adopted by people of taste. a media baron used to traveling in style mode suggests the fashion of the moment among those anxious to appear elegant and sophisticated. slim bodies are the mode at this resort vogue stresses the wide acceptance of a fashion. short skirts are back in vogue fad suggests caprice in taking up or in dropping a fashion. last year's fad is over rage and craze stress intense enthusiasm in adopting a fad. Cajun food was the rage nearly everywhere for a time crossword puzzles once seemed just a passing craze but have lasted
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