Fashion to me is about so much more than what we see on the outside. The fashion we choose and hence the style we create that is all our own, makes us feel like we have our own space in the world. A statement we are creating, because, there are no two people IN THE WORLD who are exactly the same. Exactly as you are.
On another level too the sartorial world is about so much more than asthetics. Fashion trends can and are used as statements and social dialogue that highlight massive shifts in society. Women ditched the corset in the early 1900s as the suffrage movement gained steam; girls raised the hems of their skirts in the 60’s as the second wave of feminism rolled through the States; and the youth of the 90’s chose “non-fashion” grunge as a “no thank you” nod to the sellout ideals of “the man.”
Powerful. Yes, it is! But just as these big powerful statements take hold, so too can smaller waves of conversation become something bigger and we all play our part in this. Most especially as social media takes hold. Big statements start with one conversation after all. When I even look at my own approach to fashion and style and what I like to read about and hence talk more about cuts much deeper for me now.
Working with women and seeing the impact clothes really do have, I understand now how we can all play our part in creating change and opening up new conversations that matter to real women. So, this month I have been thinking about the little coversations and trends I see happening and that I hope will continue to grow legs and inspire women to be more confident in their own skin and their own style.
Being creative with what you have
Thank god the conversation is moving away from ‘new’ and in fact it is becoming more of a social no no to be constantly saying ‘thanks, it’s new’. More and more women feel inspired when they hear stories of women rewearing last summers dresses reworked and reimagined for 2019. We see people like Kate Middleton and even Anna Wintour rewearing and restyling wardrobe favourites. I simply love articles like this one that show how once celebrities start the trend, others start to follow suit and thank god the culture of always buying ‘new’ is dying a death. I’ve only been harping on about buying sensibly FOR YOU for the last ten years
Wearing and rewearing my staple black denim dungarees from new look. Layered with a Topshop tee and primary sunnies.
Influencer marketing we know is huge. Women are more likely to buy into products, brands and trends when they see people they follow (and like) wearing something. However, what we all wonder about is the truth behind the relationship of that real person with the brands that pay them. How much is money really chosen over authenticity. It’s hard to tell. However, there is no denying that their ability to influence others allows them to give a human voice to brands.
But what we are seeing now as it turns out is that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers. Now, brands are homing in on the power of micro-influencers, or influencers who generally have fewer than 10,000 followers on social media. Micro-influencers are seen as more like “normal” people. They engage and interact with their followers more frequently, and are viewed as more relatable and authentic. Bring on the change that sees us move more towards feeling engaged and valued in the communities we choose to be part of.
In recent months we’ve seen evidence that the seemingly unstoppable growth of fast fashion may be slowing. At the same time there is growing evidence of pushback by both Millennials and Gen Z, as awareness of the massive ecological damage that this throw-away fashion mindset is having on the planet increases.
More and more environmental and consumer groups are impacting attitudes, raising awareness and altering purchasing patterns. It’s slow but I totally believe that once this conversation starts with us consumers, the reality of the situation will slowly start to sink in and little by little, even sub consciously at first we all start to buy less from the Zara’s and the H&M’s and we are more tuned into finding out about how to make better choices and support smaller, eco conscious brands and to really just think more about what we buy and why.
Another day, another wear for my beloved dungarees :-))
The connection between style and substance
I think we all agree that one of the hardest things to do is to build and create a wardrobe that truly reflects who you know you are deep down. It’s hard to know what to buy, when faced with so much choice and so many opinions as we are now in the fashion industry. God, even those who are supposed to be in the know like myself, struggle with most purchases to be 100% sure this is going to be a good addition to my wardrobe. But the one thing that I know has helped to bridge that gap is not putting buying first, but putting myself and my inner happiness and confidence first. I have simply learnt that when I feel crap about myself, if i’ve eaten badly for a month, done no exercise to keep my mind on the straight and narrow, it’s all to easy to fall into the trap of buying through the eyes of someone we wish we were.
Gathering the knowledge about yourself and slowly over time trying to get the heart of your own style identity through what shapes, colours and styles connect with you and make you feel more confident is what women are moving towards.
Anna Wintour, editor in chief at American Vogue, whether we like to admit it or not has influenced how we all dress. Wintour’s personal wardrobe is a masterclass in consistency not, following fads. “Let it be unique to yourself and yet identifiable to others,” is one of her bon mots on the subject of style. Thirty years in the public eye has seen little change in her own style. This is what inspires me to believe that real women are starting to see the sense in this approach.
Changing With the Times
Change happens all the time, each season in fact. But I think now deeper changes are occurring and we are all feeling something inside that is telling us fashion should cut deeper – we want to feel good when we buy, wear and spend our hard earned money and that in itself is the thing that mostly affects the changing mindsets around what we want to buy and how we want to be inspired.
The opening line on page 1 of the first issue of Women’s Wear Daily, which was founded as Women’s Wear in June 1910, in response to the rise of the women’s apparel industry at the time?: “There is probably no other line of human endeavor in which there is so much change as in the product that womankind wears.”
Hope you enjoyed my fashion ramblings this month and hope it sows a seed in you too.