Fashion 101: Fashion Terminology


It’s quite difficult to keep track of the who’s who and what’s what in the fashion industry these days. In the last few years the fashion industry’s leaders have evolved, from fashion designers starting fragrance lines, models are designing clothes, and the number of self-appointed visual artists is proliferating.

Here’s 7 confusing fashion terms that you think you know the meaning of, but probably still confuse with something else:

High Fashion

Women in white dress

It’s been said that the ambiguity of the term adds to its appeal; it’s meant to induce confusion in the public that is its point. High fashion doesn’t really even know what it is, except that it is important. All we know is high fashion made a name for itself as the expensive clothes produced by leading fashion houses.

Ready-To-Wear

Shopping

This is the opposite of high fashion. The name speaks for itself. This is factory-made clothing you buy in your average shopping mall, from Edgars, to H&M, and more – it definitely does not have its own atelier in Paris like a couture brand. 

Couture

sewing

This is short for haute couture, which I always understood as handmade clothing. Not your simple mass produced factory made clothes. This isn’t completely true, but it has truth to it. In order to earn the right to call itself a couture house, a fashion house must follow three simple rules: design for private clients, have a workshop (atelier) in Paris, and twice a year present your collection to the Paris press.

Show Notes

Model walking

Show notes are the bible in the fashion industry. These are notes about a fashion show, by the designer, that are only given to the show’s attendees.

Street Wear

Colorful girl

This is made popular by brands like Vans, Converse, and Supreme. Street wear is considered skater-friendly clothing, and normally has a touch of sportswear to it.

Street Style

girls walking

Not to be confused with street wear. Street style is very simple, it is really nothing more than the documentation of someone’s style who happens to be walking on the street. Street style has more to do with the suspiciously commissioned photographers.

CMS

pantone

This acronym stands for Central Saint Martins, a school described as the Hogwarts of the fashion industry, where everyone from Marc Jacobs to Zac Posen to Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen were taught.