The Dictionnaire de la mode au XXe siècle (Remaury 1996) indicates that the French word for fashion, which meant the collective manner of dressing, first appeared in 1482. Fashion is a collaborative tool to display one’s belonging to certain class, social group, culture or religious or political belief. Ted Polhemus (1987) mentioned that fashion is not the attire of any class group, but of those people who ‘fall between’ rather than within social groups. The fashionable are bound together only by a common language of arbitrary sign images which acquire meaning within the context of the overall structure of fashion system. Ross (1908) in his study discussed the contagions of collective behavior that results group action. Yuniya (2005) argued that Fashion is a concept that separates itself from other words which are often used as synonyms of fashion, such as clothing, garments and apparel. These words refer to tangible objects while fashion is an intangible object. In the book “Fashion & Antifashion- an anthropology of Clothing and adornment” Ted Polhemus and Lynn Procter stated that just as adornment allows us to assert ourselves as individuals, it also allows us to identify ourselves as part of a social collective…dress and adornment may communicate ‘I’m one of us’ (Ted Polhemus & Lynn Procter, 1978).

According to Yuniya Kawamura (2005) Clothing production and fashion production are both collective activities which require large numbers of people to produce the finished product. While clothing production manufactures items of garments, fashion production perpetuates the belief in fashion. Therefore, the processes and institutions that they go through are separate. Clothing production involves the actual manufacturing process of material clothing. On the other hand, fashion production involves those who help construct the idea of fashion. Furthermore, treating fashion as a collective product is a broader task which refers to aspects of cultural production which do feature in the immediate making of the work. Although fashion is not about clothing, without it, fashion cannot exist. They are not mutually inclusive nor are they mutually exclusive. Roach-Higgins noted that awareness of change by members of a collective is a requisite for fashion (1985:394). Their collective recognition, acceptance and use of a particular form of dress, which they eventually replace with another form, makes it a fashion. Fashion is a social regulating system in its own right and differs from other regulating system (such as those of habit, custom, convention, morality, and the law) only in degree, not in essence (Roch-Higgins and Eicher 1973:31-2). Yuniya explained that non-Western ethnographical case studies of the way people dress often use term ‘dress’, ‘cultural/ethnic dress’ or ‘costume’, rather than ‘fashion’ because fashion is not only about change, but an institutionalized, systematic change produced by those who are authorized to implement it. That kind of fashion system is found, at least for now, only in the West. The French fashion system consists of different organizations with a hierarchy among those who design cloths: Haute Couture, Pret-a-Porter for women and Pret-a-Porter for men. The more exclusive the inclusion becomes, the more valuable the membership it. The French fashion trade organization plays a pivotal role within this system and has been instrumental in creating institutions that control the mobilization process of fashion professionals and organize fashion events and activities in Paris. Bourdieu (1984) argues that the designers need to earn “symbolic capital” for their products for those consumers who wish to share that capital to differentiate themselves from those with whom they do not wish to identify.

In the above discussion, though it is clear that fashion is a social phenomenon and it is a tool for social conformity, but explains that the prevalent process of producing fashion is controlled by the institutions and the authorities or certain segment of the society involved in fashion business. In the whole process of fashion production, the consumers (the users of fashion products) are not actually “involved” in ideation, value addition or designing the product but for mare consumption of the end product/ dress/ clothing or for post-consumption evaluation (to analyze their post-decision behavior to ensure repeat purchase).