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Imagine that everyone's possessions (jackets, shirts, cars) were identical. Think of how it would feel to be completely uniform in dress, transportation and even living quarters. There would be no surprises, no originality and no way to express your individualism. This is why style and fashion are such a huge factor in everyday life. Your personal style keeps you interesting. Your tastes give you a voice. They make your life richer, more diverse and full of ingenuity.
Expression and Identification
Your choice in shoes, cell phones, jeans and...practically anything...separates you from the next person. It's what identifies you as belonging to a specific group or not conforming to a stereotype. Anuar Rosaldo demonstrates how fashion reflects his culture and heritage. He paints and designs tennis shoes using colors and religious symbols with strong Meso-American influence. Like Rosaldo, your style and fashion choices help others get a sense of who you are.
Artists' works are constantly a source of inspiration in the fashion industry and can lead not only to trends, but also to change. Andy Warhol's own sense of style created an entirely new category for fashion and art. Transcending the world's view of design at the time, Warhol helped usher in the Pop Art era where household products took the form of mass-produced prints and dresses were adorned in slogans and brand names.
Innovative concepts and commodities are often a byproduct of style and fashion. The minivan has diminished in popularity and has been replaced by the SUV as the preferred multiple-passenger vehicle. Cell phones are getting smaller and thinner with every model. These changes do not represent a response to the need for greater functionality. They are a response to people's preferences for a certain aesthetic. As people's tastes change, so will technology.
Many people and institutions use style and fashion to express their views on or invite discussion about controversial topics. In 2010, "Italian Vogue" did just that when it published photographs by Steven Meisel where he used a model covered in black grease to depict the BP oil spill. Many argued for or against the photos in the editorial, but there is no denying that a prominent publication in the fashion industry had indeed spoken.