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Everything you own, wear, use, carry, live with, display, spend money on – from necklace to automobile – can be interpreted as a sign.All of these things serve as a type of signifier to send out information about ourselves.
For centuries, fashion has always been a way of non-verbally communicating ideas or beliefs about an individual."It is a language of signs, symbols and iconography that communicate meanings" (Thomas 2004).When referring to fashion, I am not only referring to material clothing, but jewelry, hairstyles, piercings, tattoos, etc.They are ways to indicate occupation, gender, religion, sexual availability, class, wealth, etc.
At a fundamental level, clothes serve as bodily covering, for warmth and protection.However, much more than this, in putting on clothes we produce an image of ourselves.These images are made to suit our own needs and more importantly, to conform to various ideological and lifestyle codes.In this way, fashion is a “reflection of cultural values and attitudes” (Danesi 1994:157).
Our perception of beauty or ugliness of our bodies is influenced by cultural attitudes that are passed down through generations.The accepted female painted by Leanardo da Vinci would be undesirable nowadays, as beauty has changed meaning over time.Thus, popular or mainstream fashion is dependant on the culture surrounding it.
People are directly affected by their cultural surroundings when making purchases.Consider peer groups, employers, clients, colleagues, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, etc.Consciously (more times than not), the purchaser has these people in mind when buying certain products.
Peer groups are crucial factors in the world of commercialism.For most people, a status symbol becomes old fashioned as soon as the peer group loses interest.A good example of this can be cell phones and the ever-increasing technology that they entail. As new products be…

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