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February 14

Head Girl Team Blog: how fashion can be empowering

The dictionary definition of fashion is “A popular or the latest style of clothing, hair and decoration”, therefore, it is interesting to see how fashion over the years has allowed people to express themselves in a way that clothes cannot.

Through observing the inspiring process of the schools annual fashion show, it has been fascinating to see the creativity and ingenuity of students, and how they each have effectively conveyed their own personalities alongside their individual briefs in their pieces. For this reason, I thought it would be interesting to interview Sixth Form, Year 13, textiles student Eve who has created her own catwalk collection for the fashion show, and hear her take on how fashion can be used as a tool of empowerment.

What does fashion mean to you on a personal level?
Fashion is a way to express myself in a way that I can’t really do through other forms of art. Because fashion is around the body, you have to think about the way the fabric falls and the way the body moves in clothing and if it’s deliberately meant to inhibit or enhance features of the body. To me I am most interested in the materials and the textiles, so less to do with form and more to do with surface. For example, in my piece last year I was looking at weaving and structure, and this year I have been experimenting a lot with knitting and surface finishes because that’s what I'm interested in.

How do you think fashion can empower people?
It’s definitely a way to express yourself or a way to rebel against society if you want to, which is evident in this school with skirt lengths and bag sizes. I know when I was in Year 7 I had a skirt that was definitely about five sizes too big for me which conveyed my anxieties.

Why do you think people use fashion, specifically now, as a means for empowerment?
In recent years there has been a trend for items such as power suits and big shoulders inspired by the 80’s, which can reflect the current political climate surrounding issues such as Donald Trump and his controversies. Furthermore, politics has recently directly impacted our everyday life, more so than when we are younger, though it could have just been to do with our age. Because fashion, daily clothing and couture fashion is something that filters down into our lives it means that fashion is something that then intertwines with our political standpoints and culture.

Overall, it is clear for me to see the connection and parallels between fashion and an individual's identity and ideology. Furthermore, it is inspiring to see so many students feel the same way and take a step further in creating their own pieces to reflect this.

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