The Lexicon of Fashion: How Language Can Unlock the Secrets of Style

The Lexicon of Fashion: How Language Can Unlock the Secrets of Style

Tastes and trends in fashion might differ from country to country, but the love of style is universal. That’s why fashion shows are a mix of local ideas and international influences.

It doesn’t matter whether you attend Paris Fashion Week, the Milano Men’s show, or preview the latest trends in New York, you always get a combination of cultures and creativity. You only have to look at the growing list of fashion shows to see the industry’s international reach.

The Fashion Industry is International

From Africa and the Americas to Asia and Europe, there are fashion weeks all over the world. For that reason, it’s worth having an understanding and appreciation of different countries and their cultures. A great way to understand another culture is to learn the language. Now, let’s say you decide to learn Japanese to delve deeper into Japanese fashion. It’s not an easy language, but the good news is that you don’t have to be fluent in it. A few phrases and a general sense of the language can give you a better insight into its speakers.

Sticking with the idea of Japanese culture, you decide to attend Japan Fashion Week. You’ve studied the works of famous Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada. Seeing the outfits they’ve created is one thing, but understanding what inspired them is another. Taking the time to learn Japanese can help you understand where these designers come from. It’s a tricky language to master, but there are multiple ways to learn Japanese and understand the culture.

Words Can Enlighten Your Perspective

You can learn the alphabet, practice some key phrases, watch anime, and listen to podcasts. This will help you build a picture of what life is like in Japan. For example, onomatopoeia is common in Japanese. In the west, onomatopoeias are typically used to describe sounds. In Japan, onomatopoeia is also used to describe feelings. Doki doki, for example, means “heart racing.” The cadence at which it’s said is designed to reflect the beating of a heart.

What we can deduce from this is that Japanese is an expressive, playful language. This culture is also expressed in fashion. Thus, by understanding some basics of the language, we can see why certain styles are expected within the Japanese fashion scene. This strategy can be applied to any culture that’s not your own.

Fashion is Inspired by Culture

We’re not saying that a basic understanding of language will make you a local fashion expert. However, we all know that fashion is an expression of the self and the culture in which the self exists. This is why language can be a useful tool. By knowing the words that shape a designer’s world, you get a glimpse into the way their mind works.

It might not be a full picture, but it’s a snapshot that can open the door to further exploration. Fashion is everywhere and so is the industry. Therefore, if you want to get a better understanding and appreciation of what’s out there, it’s worth learning about different cultures. Language can help you unlock the nuances of a culture, which is why it can be a good idea to learn the lexicon of fashion.


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