In some ways the word ‘fashion’ has some quite negative connotations for me. Fashion is often associated with clothing that is worn as a way of fitting in. To me it implies an almost slavish devotion to wearing what has been decreed by the fashion powers to be as ‘on trend’.
The definition of fashion in the Cambridge dictionary as ‘a style that is popular at a particular time‘ implies that
we would only choose to wear something because others are wearing it and also that we should change our style regularly to keep up with the latest fashion, which these days can change in the blink of an eye. This week it green is the new black, next week navy!
The emergence of ‘fast fashion’, allowing low cost clothing to be quickly manufactured in the latest style along with the dictation of trends by fashion magazines, has led to some of the big issues around sustainability in the clothing industries with unimaginable amounts of clothing being consigned to landfill. Clothing has become disposable as people try to keep up with the latest style of the season or lookalike designer and use shopping as a past time to satisfy their boredom.
That said, I often use the word ‘fashion’ to refer to clothing in a more general sense. In this respect, clothing or fashion is almost the opposite to the real meaning of fashion. It is about expressing myself and my personality in a creative way. It is about standing out from the crowd and looking different rather than fitting in and being the same. I don’t want to be told what to wear, I want to decide what to wear. I love bright patterns, bold prints and statement accessories but my clothes also have to be practical for my busy lifestyle.
I also think that fashion should make you feel good about yourself. For me this means that the clothing should have been made ethically with a minimal impact on the environment. Shopping in Oxfam shops gives me a way to indulge my love of the clothes and update my wardrobe whilst minimising my impact on the environment and helping a worthwhile cause.
I also focus on buying good quality new pieces that I can keep and treasure for years. Brands like People Tree, Thought Clothing, Bibico and Nomads, are all great for beautiful and unique styles. With these brands, I know where and how the clothes have been made and can feel confident that people are not being just so that I can keep up with the latest trend.
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