Top 5 factors that shaped Fashion

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1. Vintage Styles and Trends
Vintage collections and styles are continuously making their way into our wardrobe, and there are very few clothes which aren't vintage inspired. From the camisole and corset designed in the 1920s to the military trend and cropped jackets that flooded the 1940s, they have all made a major come back on today's fashion scene.  Mary Quant's mini-skirt and tie-dye material dominated the 1960s and the platform shoes and flairs which dictated the 1970s have been repeatedly revived since the 1990s.

Trends from every decade are consistently making their way back onto the catwalk, whether it's the style or the fabric, or the elegance of an idol portrayed in a design.

2. Dressing Ethically
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Ethical clothing is a concept not yet fully grasped by the fashion designers who dictate the seasonal trends. As important as eating organic food or recycling is to some, to others it's ethical clothing. Fashion can be used as a tool to alleviate poverty and help make people more aware of the humanitarian and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion. The use of cheap labour and poor working conditions in developing countries is just as controversial as the materials used, particularly with the ongoing debate about fur.

Today it's impossible to walk into any high street fashion store without fondling a faux fur coat.  If the high street stores are concerned with the welfare of an animal's winter coat, shouldn't they also be concerned for the working conditions of the people producing their clothes, or the affects that fast fashion has on the environment?

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3. The Recession
Ahh yes the recession, a time when we were all made to feel even more guilty about using our credit cards. But did the recession really change fashion? Did you find yourself wandering around feeling forlorn in a pair of tracksuits complaining Topshop was now out of budget?  Did designers change their collection to match the depressing industry shut down? I noticed no sudden switch to nylon or hems falling down. Even Arcadia monster Topshop resorted to shutting 250 of its stores across the UK, not to mention the amount of independent boutiques that also had to close.

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4. Celebrities, Media and Politics
There is no bigger player in fashion than celebrities, who constantly dominate the press. They act as a stepping stone for 'normal' people to experience high end fashion and follow the latest trends.  With the help of the media, fashion is passed through the magazine tests; 'hot or not?'. How does the celebrity style her outfit, are shorts the new season style?

Even politicians aren't free from the newspaper fashion police; following the May 2010 elections between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the news was full of their choice of tie colour.  Fashion is ultimately filtered through a mesh of celebrities and magazine opinion that largely influence our style ideas and buying habits.

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5. Culture and Identity
How does the dynamic world play a role in our wardrobe? Our clothes reflect who we are and who we want to be. Is fashion a universal trend, or is it specific to western culture? Do we presume our style is our individual preference or does it reflect a deeper social and cultural imprint?

A woman's upbringing and lifestyle are a major contributing factor to her interest in fashion and the styles she follows. How do our beliefs intervene with our fashion choices and opinions? The religion we follow can affect our freedom to dress a certain way or our opinions on ethical clothing.