(Article originally published on Wild Thing)
When you think fashion, do you think vapid, superficial, vain? Think again.
I know there are many people out there who just don’t understand the concept of fashion. I don’t mean that in a callous way. Some people don’t see the beauty of the fashion industry. It plays such an important role in not only establishing identity, but spreading messages of inclusivity, unity and diversity.
I’ve met a lot of people who attribute fashion with absolutely no merit at all. In fact, I’ve heard people describing the industry as plain supercilious. For all your criticizers out there – you are wrong. I’ve spent a lot of my life convincing others that I can still be smart and read fashion magazines religiously. Fashion, to me, is a sort of community where art and love and culture and knowledge can thrive with no judgements. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? There’s no point in getting angry at these people because they just need to be shown that fashion’s beauty is not only external, but internal too.
Ashish SS17 - image courtesy of ID
In my opinion, fashion has never been about vapidity or superficiality. Fashion is a wonderful introspective reflection of the human psyche. It’s something to be celebrated and praised, not knocked and castigated. We’re all human and fashion gives us all the opportunity to mould our own personalities, our creativity and lets us establish who we are to the world. From what I’ve seen, fashion is one of the only industries that truly and wholly accepts people for who they are.
Fashion can be many things; simply from being something you choose to wear to make yourself feel beautiful, or something timeless – like a piece of transformative art that reflects different cultures. It can also convey many different and important political messages. It truly is a dynamic industry which offers a variety of meanings to different people and it doesn’t stop there.
Celebrating diversity in fashion
Let’s take a look at the beautiful, rainbow-adorned Ashish AW17 collection. Here, a true example of how the fashion industry is wholeheartedly embracing change and encouraging diversity.
With a thought-provoking, emotionally-charged and sparkling collection brimming with sequins and poignancy, I’d say that Ashish achieved what they set out to do. With much of the clothing bearing positive messages, such as ‘As Often As Possible Be Polite and Kind’ and ‘Love Sees No Colour’, the whole collection was a beautiful symbol of togetherness and being able to unite in times of adversity. Seeing a fashion label taking a public and political stance and championing diversity was so refreshing and re-established the fact that fashion is as wonderful and valuable as I originally thought.
Image courtesy of Mitchell Sams
Head Designer at Prada and founder of Miu Miu, the esteemed Miuccia Prada stated:
“Fashion is the ﬁrst step out of poverty. You have nothing and then you put something on. It is one of the ﬁrst things you do to elevate yourself. … Why are people scandalized by spending money on clothes? Everybody is so passionate about this — there’s a resistance to fashion — an idea that to love fashion is to be stupid. Clothes are very intimate. When you get dressed, you are making public your idea about yourself, and I think that embarrasses people.”
So before you judge, please remember that fashion is not a one-dimensional, insipid industry – it’s a remarkable place where people can unite in love and diversity. It’s a place where we can celebrate each other and it can provide emotional shelter and refuge in times of turmoil and resistance. Trust me on this, fashion is way more important than you think it is. All you need to do is give it a chance.