Roles of Fashion in Our Society

What role does fashion play in our society? What is the importance of fashion in our society (in general) and in our lives (in particular)?

Think on these two questions, do they really have relevancy in today’s world or are they just a waste of money and time? If we see it by considering its economic and even social utility, then it has in fact, no utility in our lives. Fashion is fugitive and transitory in nature, and hence, has very little effect on human lives and hardly contributes to social change; despite these facts, it has a substantial hold over people’s daily life-style. Interestingly, fashion adequately satisfies two basic demands of most of the people living in our society (especially those who are living in urban areas); the first one is – "acceptance." Not only in professional life but also in personal life, people judge people by their dressing sense, hairstyle, design of shoes, and physical appearance. If such qualities are not trendy and in harmony with the society at large, people do not accept such people. The second one is – "novelty or stylish." Following the trend or inventing a new style of fashion is always accepted and appreciated by society. Such features define people as progressive, trendy, and updated, and one who does not follow such trends, society calls him or her orthodox.

How does fashion influence society?

It is human nature that always accepts the new thing in every term, whether it is matter of food, place of living, modes of entertainment, and fashion in terms of clothing, jewelry, shoes, or even hairstyles. Human beings always seek change. They yearn for new tastes and new styles, and this desire of humans is adequately fulfilled by fashion. Fashion satisfies many of the essential desires of human beings, whose fulfilment is necessary to live in a society.

Likewise, the following are some of the significant advantages of fashion in a society:

  • Fashion keeps a society lively through different new styles and subsequent changes.

  • Fashion promotes social changes from time to time and also respects traditions and customs in society.

  • Fashion encourages to modify or amend all those customs that are rigid and have no relevancy anymore.

  • Fashion changes people’s minds in a meaningful way and suggests adopting new things, which are a necessity of changing time.

  • Fashion discourages social stratification and reduces the gap between the people of higher society and the people of lower society. Because of this, people of all classes and castes look alike; they stand on an equal platform.

  • Usually, fashion percolates from higher classes, such as leaders, fashion models, film stars, and even business tycoons, to middle-class and lower-class people. And, at the same time, some of the fashion styles, or better to say brands, (which are unapproachable for lower class or even middle class people) make people (of higher class) classier and elegant.

  • In the present world, fashion is not only limited to cloths, jewelry, shoes, sandals, hairstyles, and body make up, but also extended to home décor, furniture, cars, food, and even language; and, such extended meaning of fashion changed the lifestyle and way of thinking to almost every people, especially one who is of a new generation. And

  • Last but not the least, the fashion industry shares a substantial amount of share in every nation’s economy, as well as in the world’s economy.

Does fashion affect our society?

No doubt that fashion plays a very important role in shaping and guiding our society, but every coin has two faces, so fashion also has some negative impact on our society.

Following are some of the significant impacts of fashion on our society:

Loss of Self-esteem

People, especially the new generation boys and girls are very much fashion conscious; they want style and glamour in their every act; such as, wearing only branded clothes, shoes, belt and keeping hairstyle trendy. They don’t stop here, but rather also want to have stylish and expensive cars and bikes. Amidst all this, the people of the middle class and lower middle class are not able to have such branded products and expensive cars and bikes; in such a condition, they feel depressed and possess low self-esteem, which badly affects their lifestyle. Because of such low self-esteem and confidence, many of them start performing badly – students fail in their exams and they spoil their career; employees’ productivity and efficiency go down; and some of them even choose the wrong path by indulging themselves into petty crimes.

High Competition

Because of the high fashion in demand, competition is very high. The product that is trending today might become out of fashion tomorrow. Resultantly, to stay in the market, fashion industry needs to keep launching new stylish product frequently in the market.

Addiction to Wearing Branded and Trendy Dresses

Many of the youngsters become victims of fashion, as they get addicted. They always look for branded and trendy clothes, shoes, body make-up, etc. They always want to be the best among their friends and colleagues.

Spending Excessive Money

Fashion-loving people spend too much money only to satisfy their addiction. At this level, need does not keep any importance. As a new style comes in the market, people just want to buy it, irrespective of the fact that in their wardrobe there are many dresses of such type that they have worn only once. Likewise, people spend lakhs of rupees only on such dresses, which are actually not needed.

Waste of Clothes

Buying the dresses without its need, ultimately leads to waste of clothes and money as well. Fashion-loving guys keep buying new dresses or trendy suits, jeans, or any other such outfit that has recently launched in the market. If someone buys the dresses so frequently, then it is obvious that most of the dresses’ lives will end in the wardrobe only.

Copying Habit

Imitating or copying others is also a sort of addiction. Many fashion-loving guys are very keen on their dresses and whenever they see a film-star or model or any celebrity wearing a trendy dress, they want to have the same dress; so, either they buy the same type of dress or if they can’t get it in the market, then they customise it or tailor it for themselves. These guys not only copy the dresses, but also copy the walking style, speaking style, hairstyle, and overall appearance.

Reflection of a Fake Image

Always living in a fashion world creates a new thought in the minds of such people, and such a thought has nothing to do with reality. These people have a fake image of themselves and they see the world from different perspectives, which is not good for mental health as well as physical health.

Loss of Patience

Addiction to anything makes people impatient. Such people cannot wait a minute; they want to have things as soon as they demand them. It further leads to dissatisfaction and, ultimately, mental illness and depression.

Loss of Natural Beauty

Excessive make-up badly affects the natural beauty. It damages the skin and leads to many skin diseases.

High Competition & Work Pressure

Many people, especially those who are working in the fashion industry, have too much work pressure to maintain a trendy and glamourous lifestyle. Designers remain worried about new styles, models work hard to maintain their life-style, sales employees have to sell maximum products or else can lose their jobs.

Mental Illness

High competition and pressure also lead to mental illness. Many people would not able to manage their work pressure and stress, and they fall sick, physically as well as mentally. Young people, who are brand-conscious, when they do not get the desired products, get angry, guilty, jealous, or depressed, which badly affects their minds and health.

Effect on the Environment

The excessive production of clothes, make-up products, and subsequent waste materials puts an excessive and unnecessary burden on the environment. Many of the beauty product industries are throwing waste materials into the environment and consumers are throwing away the used products, which ultimately damage the environment.


Amidst all these positive and negative points, the fact is, fashion has become a focal point and an essential part of life, as it influences the daily lifestyle, defines people’s class and status, and, above all, derives the economy of a nation.


1. Nithyaprakash Venkatasamy. Fashion trends and their impact on the society (URL -

2. Patrik Aspers and Frederic Godart. Sociology of Fashion: Order and Change (URL -

3. Carla Jonas. How the Fashion Industry Contributes to Society & Societal Change (URL -


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 13-Oct-2022

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