Interesting Facts about Fashion and the Fashion Industry

An interest in fashion doesn’t mean just flipping through magazines and watching any fashion show that comes on the air. If you’re really passionate about this industry, it might be time to take things up a notch and learn some of the most basic yet interesting facts.

The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the economy. It creates several jobs for all kinds of people. Plus, all these fashion magazines and shows are the result of grueling hard work, discipline, and determination. It’s worth learning more about this industry if only to get some inspiration for your own goals. Here are the interesting and fun facts that will fuel your passion for fashion!

The Four Major Fashion Cities

Anyone with even a tiny bit of knowledge about the fashion industry would know that the fashion weeks are highly important here. These are usually held in the four major centers of fashion. These are the cities of New York, Milan, London, and Paris. Each of these fashion cities holds shows twice a year (February and September.

Evidence of the First Clothes

Before we had fashion, humans needed to have basic clothing. The earliest recorded clothing likely consisted of leaves, grass, and fur. The evidence of the first clothes dates back to around 100,000 or 500,000 years ago.

Most Widely Used Clothing Material

Before we had access to processed material for fabrics, we had to depend on whatever was available in nature. For this purpose, the skin of animals, large leaves sewn together, and other materials were probably what adorned the bodies of humans.

However, cotton became the most prevalent clothing material by the time Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin during the mid-19th century. This was the machine which made separating cotton from the seeds much easier.

The Average Spending on Clothes

Over a lifetime, an American woman will spend about $125,000 on clothes. This is according to a study by the Daily Mail. Despite the amount, the study says that over 60% of women still struggle to decide what they would wear on a daily basis.

Percentage of Income

In 1950 about 11 percent of the annual income for an American was devoted to clothing expenditures. It might sound like we’re spending more now, but the statistics show the opposite trend.  The fashion scene back in the 1950s, was at another level.

Now, studies show that Americans in the present day spend less than 4% of their income to clothing expenses (which is equivalent to about $1,700 per head). This could be due to a number of factors, though it seems as if other living expenses could have a large influence on this declined percentage

Blue Jeans

“Jeans” comes from the word “Genes,” a regional term for Genoan sailors who wore them. Blue jeans are probably a symbol of American fashion the world over. It’s estimated that on average, Americans own about 7 pairs of blue jeans apiece.

This study was conducted by ShopSmart Poll in 2010. Interestingly, it also showed that American women in particular own seven pairs of jeans, but usually wear only four.

Decrease in Price of Clothing

Another surprising piece of information is that the price of clothing has decreased by 8.5% since 1992. Even when this figure is adjusted for inflation, the price of clothing has still tremendously declined. What even more surprising is that this trend may most likely continue. In the United States, employment in the apparel industry has also decreased over 80% in the last two decades.

These two factors tell us that technology is making the production of clothing faster, cheaper, and easier. With machinery picking the crops, refining it, making the cloth, and even stitch mass-producing items, it’s only logical that the prices are going down. The shortage of jobs is an unfortunate result, though.

The First Fashion Magazine

The first fashion magazine is thought to have been founded in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1586. It became so popular that it was widely copied.

Revenue from Fashion

There’s whopping $20 billion revenue each year from the fashion industry. As of 2004, it is estimated that the fashion industry generates 35% of the world’s GDP. That figure is likely to be much bigger now.

T-Shirt Sales

More than 2 billion T-shirts are sold each year. Did you know that the production of one T-shirt requires up to about 700 gallons of water? The production of T-shirts, as well as other clothing, leads to textile waste as well as industrial pollution. This is why it’s important to stay responsible about what you’re buying.

Buttons for Men and Women

Many of us know that the buttons on men’s clothing are stitched on the right, while for women it’s the left. However, why is this so?

The buttons on women’s shirts are on the left so that it would be easier for other people to close them up, specifically those who are right-handed. Throughout history, men tended to dress up by themselves, so their shirts have buttons that are on the right. Women, on the other hand, usually had a maid to help them dress, especially the women of noble classes.

The Most Common Fabrics

There are four fabrics that are the most commonly used in clothing and textiles. These are linen, rayon, cotton, and polyester. Their relatively low cost and high durability probably had something to do with this fact.

“Jeans” come from the word “Genes,” a regional term for Genoan sailors who wore them.


There’s still a lot to learn about the fashion industry, so you might want to pick up a proper book for that purpose! We recommend the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry by Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle. Check it out here:

This work covers the whole of fashion history, from the time of animal skin covering to the haute couture of the fashion world today. Since fashion is an industry that seeks to our socio-economic goals, our inherent longing to belong, and the need to look plus feel good, it’s a highly important sector of our society.

With the right resources and facts at your disposal, you could read up on fashion and make it work for you. Whether you want to update your wardrobe or launch a fashion startup on your own, a little knowledge goes a long way.