Fashion. It is everywhere. A constantly changing art form. Fashion itself reflects political, social and cultural changes, it a nonverbal communication. Some express who they are through fashion, others take fashion for granted. Fashion is self-expression of a person’s character and spirit, it is always around us in shops and on billboards, we are surrounded.
Fashion has existed since the beginning of time, from cavemen wearing animal fur to lady gaga wearing a meat dress. If we go back in time, we see that fashion was not a statement, but a functional necessity needed for everyday life. If we fast forward to the 21st century we see that fashion is not just about function it is about identity.
In this world everyone wants to be accepted, it is one of the human beings most prominent requirements. When wearing styles that are “popular” at a certain point in time can make someone feel better about themselves. So, what is it about an item of clothing that we are wearing that makes us feel good about ourselves? Is it because we get compliments that make us self-assured? Or is it because we deep down know we look good? I believe that it is both.
Exploring culture and identity through fashion: We use fashion as an identification tool, even though we try not to, we read people depending on what they are wearing, you can judge where they might come from, their religion and some personality traits.
For instance the kilt is associated with Scotland, originating from the traditional wear of Gaelic men and boys in the Scottish Highlands, although this is no longer a form on casual wear, the average Scottish person would wear the kilt on formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, highland games and is the formal wear for pipe bands.
Secondly, we see in some cultures such as Islam women are required to wear a hijab which covers everything but the hands, face and feet. In Islamic culture the women are required to appear in the hijab in front of men they could hypothetically wed to, yet women are not required to wear the hijab in front of family members.
Cost of fashion: It is not hard to believe that the fashion industry is worth £214.4 billion and is soon to increase to £251.1 billion by 2022, this is partly due to Fast Fashion, Fast Fashion is when the production process of garments are sped up in order to have new catwalk trends into stores or online as soon as possible.
The problem with Fast Fashion is that the money that is bring in from it doesn’t reach the pockets of factory workers and cotton farmers. Cotton is the most widely used natural fiber, this plant is grown by farmers and 20 million tons of it is grown a year so you would think that the farmers would get goof pay?
However that is not the case, most cotton farmers in developing countries cannot afford essentials for everyday life, so you begin to wonder, where is the money going we are spending? I think that the money that is not going to farmers and factory workers are going behind the brands name, which in most cases are already well known.
One single item of clothing can transform your mood in an instant, dressing outside your comfort zone can make you feel a sense of power in my opinion. Breaking the boundaries and making your own style can morph you into someone you never thought you could be. In my personal experience when I made a slight brake in my comfort zone, I felt fearless, even though it was me just buying a pair of camouflage trousers I was breaking my average day to day jeans and a T- Shirt look.
Fashion against the environment, what are we going to do with all the clothes that we are throwing away? what are we doing with the clothing that is not up to standard? what are we going to do with the clothes that are never bought? And how is producing these clothes treating our planet? Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, this is mainly caused by the overproduction of garments and the use of synthetic fibers.
Another contribution is the the transport from factories to the stores themselves. In addition to this the dyes used in clothing can cause environmental damage by leaching chemicals into the ground. For fashion to become more sustainable we need brands to offer clothing made with more organic fabrics, but also instead of constantly buying big brand names we should look at supporting sustainable brands.
Social media plays a huge role in the fashion industry because the industry if not just influenced they are inspired. Through social media we can explore how others express themselves through fashion and how we can interpret their style into our own form. Social media allows fashion designers interact with customers in ways that where never possible, a major shift in social media is the average person can now influence and inspire major designs. According to a study 85% of people are influenced by celebrities’ posts. However, a result of this social media users could feel pressured by buy into the latest trends which are being promoted by celebrities who are most likely getting paid to do so.
Fashion is really important in life, especially to me as it gives me an outlet, one to use when I am struggling, it gives me an escape from everything that might be stressing me out or annoying me at that point in time. You are judged on what you wear, people are unable to get jobs because of what they wear some are not taken seriously. In this day and age your style makes a statement, first impressions do really conunt because people cant help judging you even if it isnt in a bad way, yes you may not be able to afford a lot of things.