Fashion vs. Style. What’s the Difference?

By Madeline Mihalopoulos

In order to be successful in the fashion industry, one must really understand the difference between fashion and style. Fashion is what is popular; it is the spirit of the times. Fashion is the looks that you see in ad campaigns, on commercials and showcased on your favorite television shows. Style, on the other hand is what makes the fashion industry so exciting and unpredictable. Style is customizable and is something that is unique to an individual. You do NOT have to be fashionable to thrive in this industry, however you must have style.

My personal style, for example changes depending on my mood. One minute I could be really feeling the feminine look and rock a Kate Spade bag, six inch pointed toe heels mixed with a satin blouse, skirt and accessorized with pearls. Then two hours later, I may want a relaxed look and leave the house with some black leggings, fur vest, and leather boots. It may not be what’s walking down the runways, however it is my style and I tailor it to my mood. Having the ability to customize your look is what can spark innovation and creativity when working with fashion, whether it is in a styling position, when it comes to buying for a season, or even in a retail position understanding style and knowing your target consumers style can lead to success.

Many fashion designers build their empires on their own style. They may envision their muse as someone just like them. This is how fashion is created and then evolves into a cycle that is recreated throughout the years. If you are thinking about embarking on a career in fashion you must understand your style and be able to decipher what other individual’s personal styles are. Once you understand how to group styles, you can determine what you want to gear your collection towards, and find your target customer. This allows you to dig deeper into that customers mind and create clothing that speaks to them, which lead to success.

The fashion industry is really a mind game. Not only do you have to understand runway fashion and have style, you need to understand people and their minds. A fashion student or professional need to have their radar on at all times. Understanding societies personalities, habits, and humor can all lead to clues about what their style is and what they find pleasing. Fashion and style go a lot deeper than looks, it is about understanding a lifestyle and many people do not take the time to do that. It is what can separate the successful designers and fashion professionals from no names, and no one wants to be a no name.

If you are truly passionate about fashion, I would advise that you begin to indulge in various fashion magazines and read personal blogs sites, which will be perfect examples of the difference between fashion and style. It will also aid you in your ability to identify the basics of fashion and how to incorporate theses basics into your style.

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