The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word ‘fashion’ is “a popular trend; producing and marketing styles of clothing etc.”, only barely verges on the true meaning and potential of fashion. While it often finds itself unjustly dismissed as a subject of frivolity, this is a grave misconception. Fashion’s function is in fact so complex that it is rooted in paradox as it operates on the basis of the amalgamation of opposites. Its effects can mirror the cathartic power of any good piece of art, ranging from awe to tragedy to comedy. It performs as a reputable tool for the sociological study of any given era, race or gender and also acts as both a physical manifestation and stimulus of psychological feelings.
Fashion is a soldier of great valour, honoured with the task of executing its duties in opposing territories. It possesses the ability to serve contradictory purposes through its paradoxical functions. For example, fashion is a means through which one may stand out from the crowd by exemplifying a unique sense of style. But it is also a method of fitting in if one chooses to dress similarly to others. For individuals who yearn for acceptance and approval, fashion can offer a sense of belonging. And for those who do not wish to be seen, fashion can be camouflage from the eyes of the world. However, for others, who view style as creative expression, fashion can be a means of transmitting their skill, embodying their personality and attracting coveted attention. Fashion is reality because of its primary role to clothe you. But it is also fantasy due to its capacity to act as an artistic medium for exhibitions of the imagination, just like paint or words. Fashion’s ambidexterity stems either from an elusive, fleeting nature that makes it incapable of deciding where its allegiances lie; from a tyrannical soul that intends to make us slaves to its limitless power; or from a heroic sense of duty to serve divergent realms.