After my short internship as an assistant opinions editor of the student newspaper Spectrum in my high school, I decided to ask my adviser if I could create a fashion page for Spectrum. And when I directly spoke with her, she shared her concerns with me. She recalled some of the failures Spectrum had faced when they created a page focused on a single content such as fashion.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that there exists an entire facade that’s created on the word fashion. For instance, many people perceive fashion as materialistic, luxurious, and useless, and ultimately, these negative perceptions on fashion ties into misogyny, according to the arts&culture editor Zoe Wellik of Spectrum.
For the may Spectrum issue, I assigned an opinionated article answering the question “does interest in fashion lower your intellectuality,” inspired by an episode of the podcast presented by Man Repeller, Oh Boy. As Alexa Chung describes in the British Vogue series Future of Fashion, the founder of Man Repeller Leandra Medine hit a real caught with women all over the U.S. and beyond, with her self-deprecating comedic fashion focus commentary. When Man Repeller launched the podcast Oh Boy, I instantly fell in love with the very first episode featuring Leandra Medine. In the podcast, Medine said,
“I don’t want women to feel like just because they’re interested in fashion their level of intellect is being minimized. You could be incredibly interested in what you’re going to wear tomorrow or what someone wore the day before and then walk into a board meeting and kill it.”
As a teenage girl interested in fashion, Medine’s comment immediately struck me. An industry predominantly targeting young women, the typical stereotypes associated with fashion is being less creative, unintellectual, or artful than any other form of art, Wellik explained in her article. And it’s frustrating to see how the negativity affects young women. Whereas I truly believe that a woman’s interest in fashion should be respected, it’s often degraded in our society.
In this era of constant connectivity through media, I think now is the perfect time for certain people to rethink about the ways they treat fashion and the people who are interested in the industry, because there’s plethora of online sources that show a scholarly approach to how fashion can be viewed in a broader and analytical context. For example, the constituent college of the Arts London, London College of Fashion in the UK, are leading the way, according to an episode entitled Positive body image and diversity of the Future of Fashion.
But most importantly , as a form of art that allows self-expression freely, fashion can absolutely “reveal a person’s intellectuality and their awareness of the culture they are immersed in,” Wellik comments in her article. When Wellik interviewed Addie Anderson, a female student at my high school, Anderson pointed out that the process and the thinking that’s put into the outfit she’s wearing tells her that she’s a conscious person who cares about how she’s being perceived by the world. And I cannot agree more with Anderson.
Though it takes courage to wear whatever you want without the fear of judgement, taking baby steps helps you to overcome that fear, and it will help you to feel easier to slowly find your authentic style. After all, your style belongs to you, according to Wellik. Life is too short to care about people who will ruthlessly prompt stereotypes on my clothes, and I’d rather wear what makes me happy, whether it’s wide pants or silver enamel boots, to add some spice in my life.
My decision to launch a fashion page for my school newspaper was to show that fashion can totally be a colloquial topic such as the 2016 presidential election. At times, the glamour and extravagance revealed in high-end magazines and the articles on the latest trends in Hollywood can make you feel as if fashion is too manufactured. However, fashion isn’t just about having them [the trends] all, so don’t be afraid to open up a fashionable conversation because you don’t want to be perceived as a pathetic person. Instead, lead a highly sophisticated conversation that will spark others’ interest.