Armour’s Summer Issue is OUT OUT OUT OUT
and I got some musings on the book Overdressed and a lil DIY feature inside
Educate yourselves here
I want to die saying that even if love doesn’t exist, even if I end up unfulfilled by my career and personal relationships and even if I die alone in a ditch somewhere or half-eaten by wild dogs, I believed in the ecstasy of life. I dared to believe.
--Nico Lang, “Why Being A Romantic Isn’t Hopeless”
Feminism’s Changing Place in Fashion
Sometimes I lend my mind grapes and fashion inklings to WashU’s on-campus fashion and style magazine, Armour. Below is one of my most recent non-DIY articles.
pictured: Leandra Medine, better known as The Man Repeller
The fashion industry in its simplest definition is the constant sartorial creation that perpetuates an ever-changing concept of beauty. Of course “beauty”, as we have always been told, is in the eye of the beholder and perhaps the pen of the definer. But that’s an exploration for another day. Feminism, on the other hand, is more complex in that it has varying extents. For the purposes of this article, however, I’m going to say it’s feeling and acting on capital G-P, Girl Power— academically, professionally, socially, the list goes on and on. The two concepts often butt-heads through their stark contrasts. Fashion is beauty, vanity, fantasy, man-made and is showcased externally while feminism is brains, reality, a widened scope of the world and a fire within us. The common question that lies between the two worlds is: is it possible for feminism to exist within fashion?
Today, the answer is a whopping “hell yeah!”
Thanks to personal online channels, women in fashion at any level are able to bring an opinionated voice to the face and job-title us plebeians see, where they can speak in a setting free of advertisers, content quotas, or formal editors. For example, one of the most popular fashion bloggers today, Leandra Medine better known as The Man Repeller, has completely changed the feminine and all-too-posed fashion blog formula through being smart, candid, and unconditional in embracing her quirks. While Medine hasn’t explicitly dubbed herself as a feminist, her witty writing and personal brand foundation revolves around the fact that you should always dress for yourself, with bonus points for man-repelling androgyny. Her mantra works too— this lady’s got over 250k and 150k Instagram and Twitter followers, respectively. Not to mention her blog gets 2.6 million page views a month (that’s like the entire population of Chicago checkin’ you out on the regular). The internet allows for an audience far larger than ever before, which is why we can look at Medine and ‘get’ her as opposed to writing off her stylistic quirks. As she says herself, “[my blog and man-repelling] is not really about fashion, it’s about the freak behind it”. The point is, Medine continues to break barriers, not only in what’s cool for a woman to wear, but also bending the perceived gender standards within fashion.
On the opposite end of the fashion influencer spectrum, betcha didn’t know designer Miuccia Prada was an ardent feminist. Prada, who holds a PhD in political science and is known for her designs’ eccentric elegance, is a fashion institution, however it was only recently that she was given a stage that reached a little further beyond the fashion bubble. Miuccia Prada was part of 2012’s always popular Met Costume Institute exhibition, where visitors were exposed to not only her designs, but her values as a creator and a fashion industry influencer. In one instance she is quoted as saying, “fashion fosters cliches of beauty, but I want to tear them apart”. Through her industry stature and exposure through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she has given people a lot to think about and shows us that fashion not only has brains, but needs it.
While both of these women are still feminine to their own extent, their voices are strong through words and visuals. What’s even better is that they are two of dozens and counting. As we continue to progress as a society at large, changes in technology and gender barriers allow for feminism and fashion to merge more and more. Even though at the end of the day fashion will always be about aesthetics, that should never prevent the women within it from being seen and heard as strong, opinionated, and innovative leaders who are grounded in values outside of fashion. As Beyonce, our agreed upon God, once asked, “who runs the world?” GIRLS (and we look good doing it).