As a young professional aspiring to work in the fashion public relations industry, it has really irked me to hear different people put down others, like myself, for their love of fashion. Additionally, as someone who writes a blog that focuses on personal style, the claims these people make about fashion being “materialistic” or “shallow” are offensive.
Whether or not you’d like to admit it, a person’s first impression of you, conscious and unconscious, is your outward appearance. A huge part of this initial judgment stems from the clothes you’re wearing. More often than not, you can tell a significant amount about someone by their outfit, or lack thereof: current mood, culture, personality (to some extent), class, religious affiliation (based off symbolism like the cross, Star of David and many others,) etc. Not to say that just because someone wears a hoodie and moccasins means this someone is lazy, careless, or feeling down in the dumps, because this may be a huge leap. There are many many possibilities that could very well have nothing to do with the individual’s personality or mood. But, these things definitely factor into the initial first impressions we have of others.
Firstly, I’d like to make the definition of fashion and style clear. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fashion as, “A popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people,” while its definition of style is, “A particular way in which something is done, created, or formed.” Furthermore, blogs are tools that allow people to express their versions of what fashion and style means to them. It is a form of self-expression and art that shapes individuality, diversity, and uniqueness, which no one has the right to say is wrong.
Choosing what you are going to wear in the morning will never solve any of the world’s massive problems – at least not directly – like hunger, violence and pollution, but neither did Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, the Mona Lisa, or Michael Jackson’s hit, Thriller. Fashion is, in a sense, materialistic in that a part of fashion is clothing, which is made from material; but, how is taking time to appreciate what people wear, whether this is yourself or someone else, any different from admiring a painting, sculpture or piece of music? In the grand scheme, are any of these things solving the world’s problems of hunger, orphaned children or violence? All different types of art bring happiness, passion and inspiration to people all over the world, just as the Mona Lisa and Thriller has. An appreciation for fashion is no different or less shallow than that.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that humans have evolved to care about looks of all different sorts: health, strength, fertility, wealth, etc. Not to say that the more expensive you dress, the better people perceive you, because that is not necessarily true. But, it is absolutely fair to say that it is paid attention to and engraved in the human brain. Historically, human minds were wired to judge others in search of a healthy, fertile (for women), strong, etc., mate to have children with. Although humans have evolved since that time, it would be naïve to think judgments like this do not still persist.
Although some sectors of the fashion industry have become a contest and comparison of wealth, it’s not all this way. Artistic personal style is individual and does not always require the newest, hottest, brand name and trending items, which happen to, typically, be the most expensive. I find that the people I look to for fashion inspiration and ideas are individual, unique, and seemingly fearless of being different. The ability to take old pieces, vintage clothes, or your grandmother’s dresses from the 60s and wear them in a fresh, new way is fashion. Creating your own designs, whether new and inventive, or a collaboration of your personal inspiration pieces is fashion.
Lastly, the industry of fashion has an enormous impact on the economy. According to a study done in 2012 and shared by www.thoughteconomics.blogspot.com, “The global fashion industry is conservatively estimated to be worth over US$1.3 Trillion (around 2% of the value of the world economy). To put that in context, the global pharmaceutical industry (supplying all the medicines in the world) is just over half that in size (at US$880 billion).” Whether you appreciate the art of fashion or not, it has unarguably taken the world by storm, which emphasizes the appreciation for style not just in the United States but worldwide. This fact alone should be enough to stifle all the fashion-haters out there.
If you have a love for fashion, an obsession with pinning adorable pieces on your “style inspiration” board, or take your sweet time when picking out the perfect outfit in the morning, GO YOU. No matter what your passions may be, don’t let anyone tell you they are insignificant or irrelevant. Be unapologetically you. Period.
Here are some photos showing different beautiful interpretations of fashion that will get your creative juices flowing.
Phew! Can you say longest post ever?! Thanks for reading my rant! 😉