All posts filed under: Features

Fashion and Fake News

It started with politics – a term coined by Donald Trump when he aggressively responded to questioning by CNN Journalist, Jim Acosta. It was his premier press conference as President-elect. “You are fake news!” Similarly, this catchphrase was used to retrospectively describe the claim by the UK Independence Party that a vote to leave the EU would result in £350 million worth of net savings a week. Allegedly, this instead could have been directed towards funding domestic institutions, namely the NHS. Bending the truth, embellishing the truth, a white lie, and lying by omission are all tactics that have long been endorsed in political warfare. They’re employed to influence the vote of the public in favour of a particular party, while damaging others. When I first learnt about such broadcasts on TV, radio and print media, in history lessons at school, we called it propaganda. But since then, the concept is no longer confined to the realms of electioneering. Fake News has become some sort of phenomenon, applicable to other areas including fashion. The purpose …

So, what’s the deal with fashion and cultural appropriation?

Over the last few months, the term ‘cultural appropriation’ has appeared increasingly more often on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds. They accompany other words and images that convey an incredibly strong sentiment of rage. The people behind these posts are angry. But some of their followers or ‘friends’ just don’t get what they’re going on about exactly. “I hear it has something to do with race”. “What’s wrong with wearing a bindi or liking a pic of a girl with her hair in braids?” Now, on the surface these types of comments and questions are not necessarily ill-willed. However, they do show that this issue of cultural appropriation needs clarifying. Here, I attempt to demystify and explain. The fashion industry could not survive without diversity. For centuries, it has been common practice for designers to borrow elements of style, whether it be the use of colour, patterns and motifs, embellishments, the way a piece of apparel is cut or accessorised, from a variety of different countries and cultures across the world. A mix and …

Why are the fashion and beauty industries so obsessed with age?

It’s the morning of my 24th birthday. I should have woken up feeling excited by the prospects of celebration, gifts and attention. But instead, I’m overtaken by a sense of dread and I’d even go so far as to say disgust and shame. One year left to go before hitting the big two five and losing my young person status. No more young person’s railcard, graduate bank account or ability to tick the 18-24 year old box on random surveys where I could indicate that my views belonged to someone who was barely an adult. I was soon to be an OAP and declared that next year on my birthday and every subsequent anniversary thereafter, I was going to have to lie about my age. Ridiculous, I know. But it wasn’t just about the concessions if at all. It was more the embarrassment that I hadn’t achieved what I would have expected to by now in my professional or personal life. No promotion, no house, no man, and with that no babies in the near …

Since when did fashion get so political?

For decades, fashion journalists have been chronicling the outfits of First Ladies, Prime Minister’s wives and the royals.  They track their sartorial strategies on the global stage of international politics and diplomacy. On their visits to foreign lands, do they respect the host country’s dress customs and norms? Do they choose to wear a designer from that country? Or do they stand patriotic and wear a home-grown brand? And what does it even matter? Fashion is an extremely powerful means of non-verbal communication. World Leaders and associates can use clothing as much as speech and action to shape the public’s perception of their values, their belief system and their policies. Attire that references and celebrates in someway our identities in particular, influences our judgment of that political figure, sending us cues that subconsciously inform our opinion of what they stand for. When Melania Trump recently wore a black, lace, knee-length dress on an overseas trip to the Vatican, she showed recognition and respect for the Pope and Catholic tradition. Before the Trump election, throughout the …

Enninful becomes Chief Editor of Vogue

The vacancy has been filled. The CEO and Chairman of Condé Nast International has confirmed the appointment of Edward Enninful as the new Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue. Enninful will succeed matriarch, Alexandra Shulman. She is the longest serving Head of the publication after 25 years. An unexpected pick, but endlessly exciting. The rumour mill has been abuzz for the past 3 months on who would be next to take the throne. The fashion community have been hedging their bets, notably either on Katie Grand, the founder of LOVE magazine, Dame Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter and outgoing Chairwoman of the British Fashion Council, or Emily Sheffield, the Deputy Editor of Vogue, who is also the Associate Digital Director and sister-in-law of former Prime Minister, David Cameron. But in an unforeseen and unprecedented move that breaks a white and debatably reverse-gendered ceiling, the first ever male and person-of-colour is preparing to take the helm. Edward Enninful was born in Ghana but grew up in Ladbroke Grove in West London. He emigrated together with 5 siblings, Dad, …

Victoria Beckham receives OBE

Victoria Beckham receives an OBE from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace to recognise her contribution and services to the fashion industry. The honour comes just 6 months after the release of her emotional letter to her 18-year old self where she talks about past struggles with body image and reflects on friendships, relationships, motherhood, school and career. She reaffirmed that “When [she] was at school, [she] was never naturally the brightest of students”, first expressed in an interview with Imran Amed, BOF Founder and Editor-in-Chief. “Then I went to theatre college”, Victoria continued, “and I was never the most talented. I have always had to work…I’m not sitting back and waiting for things to come to me: I will go out and get it”. Victoria Beckham has no formal training in fashion or art. In 2008, the news that she’d be launching her own line was met with a somewhat prejudiced reception. She was undermined. The cynics lambasted her, mocked her WAG caricature, big boobs, fake tan and questioned her commitment to hone …

I am an immigrant

I am an immigrant is a simple but touching production by W magazine in response to the popular vote of the American people to build a $12bn “impenetrable” southern-border wall along the US-Mexican frontier, a vote in support of the refugee ban to restrict inbound travel to the States from 7 predominantly Islamic countries, a vote that signals a belief in President Trump’s promises of a stronger, more prosperous economy built on anti-immigration rhetoric, echoing the outlandish claims of the Brexit campaign and giving life to the harrowing rise in popularity of France’s Le Pen. Over the last 12 months, political swings closer and closer to the extreme right, continue to send shockwaves across the globe, leaving no corner and no industry, including fashion, untouched. Led by W Magazine’s Creative and Fashion Director, later announced incoming Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful published a powerful piece of film. The video alerts us to the reality that the fashion community is made up of designers, models, photographers and other actors from all over the world. Enninful himself …

Elle Magazine: The Feminism Issue

Every now and again when I’m flicking through a fashion magazine and I come across a truly inspiring article, a quote or an image, I have to archive it. Recently, I’ve been digging around my inspo treasure trove in search of a little pick-me-up and motivation, and this Thursday I’m throwing it back to Carey Mulligan on the cover of Elle magazine: the feminism issue, November 2015 #ThrowbackThursday #TBT. In this issue, Carey describes her experience of playing Maud in the impassioned and awe-inspiring film Suffragette. Maud is a working-class mother who joins the fight for the right for women to vote (c.1905-1915) but is made to endure police brutality, imprisonment, hunger strikes, force-feeding, job loss and social exclusion from her community as a result. Similarly to her character, Carey continues to challenge the oppression and discriminatory practices against women that still exist today. By 1928, women over the age of 21 years old had achieved the same voting rights as men in the UK. However, 89 years later in 2017, women are still on the …