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Fashion – English Discursive Essay

Fashion. Fashion has played an essential role in human life since the beginning of time when a prehistoric person first donned the beginnings of the fur coat, and from that day forth, it has been an ever-present feature of day-to-day life. Although fashion never made claims for itself, it is an important influence on what we wear and think. Moreover, fashion is part of the social world we inhabit; we are surrounded by shops that sell it and judge one another by it.

Fashion has become a massive industry in modern day times. The emergence of enormous billion-dollar companies and brand labels such as Versace, Polo, Levi’s and Armani are testaments to this. These companies are global brands sold from the shores of Costa Rica to the bustling cities of Japan. For example, clothing, footwear and fashion are some of the UK’s largest export areas. In 2005 the clothing and fashion industry produced exports worth �5.8 billion in the UK alone, while imports totalled �10.5 billion. (source: UK Fashion Exports).

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We cannot say that fashion is mere “a space for self-expression and play”; it has become one of the largest money-making businesses in the world. Fashion also lends its hand to many issues present in modern day society. In our society, people no longer have to think for themselves. People no longer wish to strike out and go against the stream, as the idea of fashion was perceived to do. Still, in actuality, all it does is turn you into another follower, another sheep in the flock of society. Everyone in life wants to be accepted; as shown in Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the need for acceptance is one of a human being’s most essential requirements.

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By wearing the latest fashion, people feel accepted but are trapped in the black hole of unoriginality and the loss of individuality. One of the more worrying and disturbing factors of fashion is the health risk. Catwalks show the public the main fashion trends with a lot of exaggeration. When such larger-than-life outfits face real-life, they not only look ridiculous but can be very harmful. For example, a model wearing a pair of eight-inch heels on the ramp is not the same as a regular person wearing them on the streets.

These dangers of fashion are not only linked to clothes. Tattoos can be extremely harmful, but people see prominent figures such as the sexy Angelina Jolie and funny Drew Barrymore and can’t resist getting one for themselves. One of the most dangerous health risks associated with fashion is anorexia and bulimia. The modern-day perception that being a stick model, size two thin women is desirable, attractive, and the word discussed earlier: “accepted.” So people get surgery, starve themselves, and obsess in front of mirrors, thinking how fat they look.

A study conducted by the University of Heidelberg showed that 10% of reported cases are still suffering after 20 years, and a further 16% have died due to these disorders. The element of fashion affects the economic system and the society of people. Fashion is more than a light-hearted issue; it is a global industry, one of the largest in the world. There is so much money involved with fashion that it has become a severe and crucial part of society.

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People all want to conform, so they go along with the current fashion rules, and like lemmings, some will even pursue it to their death. Fashion never made extraordinary claims, but it has become a vast subject nevertheless. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”


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