In a Responsible Fashion
I love fashion; there is absolutely no doubt about that. I don’t love it for the mere aesthetics, though I do appreciate that aspect. I most appreciate the powerful, beautiful and transformative ways in which it engenders self-expression and communication. With fashion you get to see an idea, a mode of expression, a perception, and a story come to life. It is a real and tangible communication of beauty, personal gifts and talents, and creativity. Fashion allows for so many different avenues of expression, the designer creates the design but the wearer gives it personal distinction.
Though I love fashion, our relationship is complicated. I cannot separate fashion from something else that means a lot to me: social responsibility. Fashion does not exist in a vacuum. Uncovering the beauty, creativity and glam reveals complex quagmires relating to body image, exclusion, selfish indulgence and materialism. The discord is there - the intermingling of beauty with ugliness, of social responsibility with blind bliss. Do we muddy the waters of escapism that some fashion lovers seek when we think about these questions aloud? Even if the answer to that question is yes, I believe that perhaps the waters should be muddied some more.
The truth is fashion helps to shape culture; it affects the way we see and define ourselves. It is one of the most prominent markers between the “haves” and the “have- nots.” Fashion highlights concerns about moral and social responsibility including child labor, fair pay, diversity, and wealth distribution. In thinking about these issues and fashion how much responsibility do fashion lovers have and how do we exercise it? I don’t have the answers, but I do ask these questions of myself. Is fashion simply a form of expression or is it more than that? Like you, I love fashion, and I think we can only begin to find the balance between fashion and social responsibility by being willing to have a discussion. Where do we draw the line?