Humans are the only animals in the world to wear clothing.
Perhaps it is something that came as a result of our increasing ability to build and make things with our hands. Or maybe it caught on because it helped us withstand cold and inclement weather and thus conquer the world.
Regardless, over tens of thousands of years, clothing became more than practical: it became symbolic of class, job, status, taste, tribe and so on. In other words, clothing became fashion.
Today it is an industry worth trillions of dollars worldwide. But it is also one of the fastest-changing markets—at any given moment, fashion is not just a signifier of station or taste but also of the zeitgeist.
The fashion worn by subjects in a photograph is one of the surest ways to date a photograph. It is the markers like these that make photography such an important document of our times.