There are no simple answers to such questions, of course, and any one reason is influenced by a multitude of others, but certainly one of the most prevalent theories is that fashion evolved in conjunction with capitalism and the development of modern socioeconomic classes.
Thus, in relatively static societies with limited movement between classes, as in many parts of Asia until modern times or in Europe before the Middle Ages, styles did not undergo a pattern of change. In contrast, when lower classes have the ability to copy upper classes, the upper classes quickly instigate fashion changes that demonstrate their authority and high position. During the 20th century, for example, improved communication and manufacturing technology enabled new styles to trickle down from the elite to the masses at ever faster speeds, with the result that fashion change accelerated.
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