All posts filed under: Society

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

Over the last few months, the term ‘cultural appropriation’ appears more and more on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, often within posts conveying upset and rage. The people behind them are aggravated. But some of their followers and ‘friends’ just don’t get why, and 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?” On the surface these types of comments and questions are not necessarily ill-willed. However, they do illustrate that the issue of cultural appropriation needs clarifying. Here I attempt to explain. The fashion industry could not survive without diversity. For centuries, it’s been common practice for designers to borrow elements of style, whether it be colour, patterns and motifs, embellishments, cut, accessories etc. from a variety of different countries and cultures across the world. This mix and match of geographical influences leads to innovative design in clothes and footwear. And the acceptance, appreciation and adoption of fashion from other …

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 …

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 …