My Love-Hate Relationship with Fashion
Ihave loved clothes since I was very young. I remember organizing my closet into outfits when I was about 10. I couldn’t afford to buy what I wanted to wear so I learned to sew because at the time, it was cheaper to make than buy. Now with the realities of fast fashion, people can buy clothes so cheaply that many fabric stores have stopped selling fabric for clothes. It’s even hard to find a fabric store these days.
I was going to study Fashion Design after high school but the scholarship that my parents had been putting money into since I was born only applied to Universities, not trade schools. And a Fashion trade school in Montreal at the time was crazy expensive. So I travelled around Europe for a year and then studied Political Science and Sociology so I could understand the world around me. I tried pulling my work life back into the fashion industry a couple of times but I was never able to make it happen. So I joined the office world and continued to make a lot of my own clothes.
But I never stopped paying attention to what was happening in fashion. And, I can tell you that 99% of the time I was really glad I never got involved. I have ranted about it for years to anyone who would listen. To break it down:
I love the way clothes can change the way you feel: strong, relaxed, cozy, cool.
I hate that the fashion industry makes you feel like you have to be “white, skinny and rich.”
I love the feel of a good quality fabric and the satisfaction of a well made outfit.
I hate that the big brands charge so much for something so little and that something is getting smaller every day (example: the opacity of t-shirt fabric)
I love a well made garment that stands the test of time.
I hate that you can get bespoke suits for men but not for women. We don’t all fit into your standard sizes.
I love that most offices have moved with the times and don’t require women to wear skirts and heels, aka Mad Men. Though my last boss (who was gay) preferred the woman wear heels. I didn’t.
I hate that there are numerous practical pockets in a man’s coat and useless ones in a woman’s coat. You know who designs a breast pocket in a woman’s jacket? Someone who doesn’t have boobs.
I love that there are so many ways to express yourself through fashion from bohemian to rocker to sporty.
I hate that historically, so many fashion trends were designed by men.
I love a strong, kick ass female lead in a movie who is wearing boots not high heels. (The latest Wonder Woman wore wedges which is an ok compromise, I guess.)
I hate that so many fashion trends are never made to empower women, instead they make them feel unworthy or vulnerable.
I love clothes that have a bit of stretch in them to make moving around easier.
I hate super high heel stilettos and especially platform heels because they make women unsteady on their feet and you can’t take on the world when you are falling over.
I love to see independent local designers – unfortunately, they don’t often last long.
I hate stupid impractical trends like super short skirts and high knee socks. We are not your school girl fantasy.
I love that “slow fashion” featuring ethical and sustainable clothing is getting stronger every day.
I hate how superficial the industry can be.
And I could go on and on…
Most importantly, in all of this, is the reality that fashion and its trends are voluntary. Woman don’t have to wear stupid high heels or short skirts and they don’t have to spend thousands on a ridiculous designer bag. They choose to. They do these things because they have been conditioned to believe that if they don’t follow the crowd they will be considered of less value.
So I didn’t study fashion, I studied Sociology and became a feminist. A feminist who still loves clothes. A feminist who wants to see women empowered and ready to take on the world and one who is so disheartened by all the women who would rather follow fashion trends blindly. Fashion may seem irrelevant to some but we still need to clothe ourselves against the elements. And it’s a fun way to express who we are.
Let’s stop buying clothes and shoes designed for the person they want us to be and start buying clothes designed for the Amazons we were born to be.