The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century,[12][13] though they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery[14] and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century.[15] The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks,[16] sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger.
In the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry. Robert Glariston, an intellectual property expert, mentioned in a fashion seminar held in LA[which?] that "Copyright law regarding clothing is a current hot-button issue in the industry. We often have to draw the line between designers being inspired by a design and those outright stealing it in different places."[69] To take inspiration from others' designs contributes to the fashion industry's ability to establish clothing trends. For the past few years, WGSN has been a dominant source of fashion news and forecasts in encouraging fashion brands worldwide to be inspired by one another. Enticing consumers to buy clothing by establishing new trends is, some have argued, a key component of the industry's success. Intellectual property rules that interfere with this process of trend-making would, in this view, be counter-productive. On the other hand, it is often argued that the blatant theft of new ideas, unique designs, and design details by larger companies is what often contributes to the failure of many smaller or independent design companies.

fashion, style, and fad mean the way that up-to-date people do things. fashion is used of any custom (as a way of dressing or behaving) that is widely accepted at any one time or place. It was once the fashion for everyone to wear hats. style may suggest a fashion that is approved of by people with taste. The house was decorated in the latest style. fad is used for something that is very popular and often only for a short time. Beach tennis may be just a fad.