Expressing Yourself Through Fashion

Each person is unique and special in their own way and while we might share similarities with others, we are all very different. Fashion is a great way for people to express their identity through their own personal style. As Marc Jacobs once said,

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression. There are hints about who you are in what you wear.”

A lot of people put pressure on themselves and think that they have to follow ‘trends’ in order to look good, but it is important to dress for yourself not others. It is important to find your own unique and individual style to portray your personality, wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself. A great deal of information can be found out about a person just based on the clothes they wear, and it can reveal a person’s cultural and social identity. You can often tell where in the world a person comes from based on their style, as each country and culture express their own unique fashion sense and style. Fill your wardrobe with colours you love and don’t be afraid to wear patterns or brighter colours.

It is important to wear whatever you feel comfortable in, if you’re not comfortable then you won’t feel good about yourself. Wear your clothes with confidence, once you feel good about what you are wearing your mood will also be better. Social media can lead you to believe that you have to look a certain way to conform in today’s society, but if we all look and dress the same the world would be a very boring place!

At the end of the day, clothes are so much more than just pieces of fabric that you put on every day. It gives us all an opportunity to express ourselves.   

The September Issue

Every year as summer comes to an end and we all get back into our regular school, college or work routines, the September issue is published. While magazines and traditional print media has taken a back seat to social media and the internet in recent years, the September issue is still vital for fashion magazines, Vogue in particular. So much so that there was a documentary made in 2009 following American Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her team in the production of the magazines 2007 September issue.

The September issue is usually the biggest, both in volume and importance, issue of a fashion magazine in the year. September marks the beginning of a new season and the magazine forecasts fashion trends for the oncoming year. However, in an age where social media sets the fashion trends, the September issues have lost some of their importance. Their saving grace is the cover, people always get excited to see who will be featured on the September issue and when it is unveiled the image gets millions of likes, comments and shares. It may even prompt people to buy the issue. Some of the most iconic Vogue September issue covers include:

In 2019, British Vogue saw Meghan Markle take up a guest editor role. The cover shows fifteen inspiring women, all from different parts of the world. Among them is environmental activist Greta Thunberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ireland’s own activist and lecturer Sinéad Burke.

2018 saw Rihanna grace the cover of British Vogue, becoming the first black woman to feature on the magazines September issue. Edward Enninful said that he knew his first September issue cover as Editor-in-chief “had to be Rihanna”. The super skinny brows were an unusual choice but just proved to us all that Rihanna can do anything and still look stunning.

1998 marks the first year that Anna Wintour put a celebrity on the cover of the September issue. Renee Zellweger in that stunning red dress began the iconic editor’s habit of having A-listers on the cover. Between 2004 and 2011 not one supermodel was featured on the September issue of American Vogue.

Beyoncé was given total creative control for her 2018 American Vogue cover. She commissioned Tyler Mitchell to photograph the cover, making him the first African American photographer to shoot the cover in Vogue’s history.

1933, Vogue’s first ever September cover star, Toto Koopman a biracial model. During the second World War, Koopman became a spy for the Italian Resistance after beginning a relationship with an anti-Mussolini resistance leader. Koopman was arrested multiple times but escaped before being sent to a concetration camp in Germany. Before the camp was liberated, she, along with hundreds of other prisoners, were released to the Red Cross in Sweden.

Fashion on a Budget

As college students we have all woken up in the morning and asked ourselves the dreaded question “what will I wear to college today?”. Although this probably shouldn’t be our biggest priority when it comes to college it is always on our mind. We can’t afford to be changing our wardrobes around every season as most students are on a college budget and don’t want to be wasting money on the “newest trends” which probably end up changing every week anyway.

Top Tip:

Invest in wardrobe essentials and timeless pieces that can be styled in multiple ways. A white t-shirt and good pair of jeans are a staple piece that can be worn during any season and will go with nearly everything else that is in your wardrobe. Wardrobe basics are one of the best investments you can make because you can dress them up or down no matter the occasion.

Wardrobe Basics:

  • The Classic white t-shirt:

It can be thrown on with a pair of jeans, a skirt or under a slip dress and you’re ready for the day in five minutes.

  • Skinny Denim Jeans

Jeans are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing that someone can have in their wardrove. Once you find the perfect pair of jeans, they will last you a lifetime and can be paired with other staples in your wardrobe.

  • White Trainers

A pair of plain white trainers has become a feature in many of our wardrobes. They go with literally everything. Nearly everyone you pass on a college campus or just walking around town will have a pair of white trainers on. Even going out to clubs and bars, students have switched their uncomfortable heels for white trainers.

  • Black Leggings

A pair of black leggings will never get old, they can be layered with jumpers and boots for the colder months or a t-shirt and white trainer for when the weather is warmer. Leggings are the perfect piece for college when you just want to be comfortable, especially when you have 9am lectures!

  • A Leather Jacket

You will not regret investing in a leather jacket, it is a timeless piece that you will wear for years. It can be thrown on over anything it goes with dresses, jeans, leggings and so much more.

The Evolution of Fashion Week

What is Fashion Week?

Fashion week is one of the largest seasonal events that takes place twice a year, once in February and once in September. The top designers in the fashion industry present their upcoming collections for fall and spring in a series of runway shows. When these fashion shows first evolved, they only took place in the four fashion capitals, which were Paris, Milan, New York and London. These shows were only for the elite and there was a very strict guest list. Today, international fashion weeks take place in countries all over the world.

How was Fashion Week Established?

In 1943 New York became home to the first ever Fashion Week, which was known as “Press Week”. During World War II, Americans could no longer travel to the most fashionable capitals like Paris to buy clothes and go to fashion shows. Fashion shows in America became more dramatic and serious because they wanted to draw retailers in the industry into buying American clothing. A few decades later “press Week” turned into Fashion Week and America became a serious fashion force. Shows during Fashion Week took place in locations scattered all over New York, such as department stores, nightclubs and showrooms. However, the press began to complain that holding runway shows in these locations was dangerous and posing as a safety hazard for everyone attending. It was the last straw when at a Michael Kors show in 1991 part of a ceiling collapsed, debris and plaster was falling and hitting the models while they were walking on the catwalk. New York Fashion Week needed a new location, majority of the shows began to be held in Bryant Park.

What is Fashion Week like Today?

Social media has really transformed the fashion industry in recent decades. Fashion brands rely on using social media platforms to showcase their clothing and sell straight to buyers online. On Instagram, we see bloggers and fashion influencers being paid to promote brands to their thousands of followers by simply posting a photograph of them wearing the clothing. These popular social media platforms introduced a new way of showcasing the newest upcoming style without having to put models on the runway. Recently, we have seen Fashion Week take place in Seoul, to showcase Korean style and the “Lakme Fashion Week” in Mumbai. Many countries and designers have also decided to cancel their Fashion Week due to the shows not being sustainable, for example Stockholm Fashion Week was cancelled last year.

Isolation and Influencers

For the last month, many of us have been working or studying from home due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and our style has changed with that. For me, now that I don’t have to see anyone other than my family, I have been rocking a uniform of joggers and hoodies, the odd time I am too lazy to even change out of my pyjamas! With all this extra time I have been scrolling and scrolling through endless Instagram stories of toilet paper challenges, song of the day challenges and of course, hundreds of ads. Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and ASOS ads regularly pop up throughout my feed, but there is no escaping them on stories either as countless influencers have been providing us with handy swipe-up links to their LSOTD- Loungewear Set of The Day. Some of them are kind enough to add them to their highlights so we won’t forget to use their affiliate link. After about two weeks of these of seeing these ads from a certain Limerick/New York based influencer, I was starting to crack up, I mean who needs that many matching sets of clothes to wear at home where no one will see it!!! As I am writing this post, I am wearing a pair of burgundy joggers I got in Penney’s probably 5 years ago and a TY hoodie I stole from my brother that has burn marks on the sleeves. It’s not red carpet worthy but sure, as mammy used to say, who’ll be looking at me.

Now my major problem with loungewear sets is the fact that they usually can only be bought separately. For example, this cute pink velour hoodie and jogger set on Pretty Little Thing is listed separately on the website for €35 and €32 respectively. That is almost €70! Some online retailers have started sales during the lockdown, Nasty Gal have reduced much of their loungewear to half price from €40 – €60.

I know scrolling through online retail and fast fashion websites are a handy way to ease the boredom, we have to remember that on the other side of our screen are people who are forced to work side-by-side everyday without social distancing to get the package to your door. Whether it be the manufacturer of the clothes, the websites distribution workers or the men and women sorting through orders at post offices and distribution hubs around the country. Why not support some independent clothes sellers on depop or on Instagram, many of these sellers are running their shops alone and it may be their only source of income. Gracie, @spice_vintage on Instagram, is constantly dropping gorgeous vintage bits on her stories even when shes not at her Limerick City store. The Wild Éire have some fabulous vintage and reworked items on their website and are always posting unreal outfit inspiration on their Instagram page. Depop sellers, Vintage Revamp and Past Trash, and all the others mentioned above are taking precautions with all of their stock and shipping during Covid-19.

Stay Safe xo

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world. As we now know, it is also one of the most harmful to the environment. Fashion is one of the most resource intensive industries, requiring both natural and human resources. To make one pair of denim jeans 3,00 litres of water are required, that is more water than the average person will consume in a year!

Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and are some of the most well-known fast fashion brands, alongside the likes of offline stores like Penney’s. Most items of clothing sold by these brands is made from polyester and other man-made fabrics, these fabrics are very difficult to recycle so usually end up in the landfill. According to The Waste Resources and Action Programme around £140m worth of clothing ends up in the landfill each year. Microplastics found in clothes that are made from these man-made fabrics end up in the ocean after each wash, damaging the eco-system and animals living in the water.  

In the last few years we have seen the rise in popularity of sustainable fashion, more consumers are buying vintage, second-hand and thrifting. Depop, an app where you can buy and sell second-hand clothing and accessories has grown in popularity since its development in 2011, as of June 2019 there were 13 million users on the app. Sites such as Pretty Little Thing are also having an effect on the traditional fashion industry, where previously there were two collections per year these sites have began selling 52 mini collections per year, a new collection every week. Many of these collections are dupes for clothes often seen on influencers like Kim Kardashian, who in 2019 won a lawsuit against Missguided to the tune of $2.7m for knocking off clothing she wore and using her name to generate sales.

While many bloggers and influencers continue to do sponsorships and work with fast fashion brands, Keelin Moncrieff (@kee_mon) has been outspoken in her criticisms of these brands and bloggers, stating the environmental impact of the online shopping industry. Molly Parsons (@mouldyparsnips) and Tara Stewart (@tarastewartdj ) are also advocates for more sustainable consumption, the latter of the two hosts a podcast called Dirty Laundry where she discusses all things sustainable fashion.

As consumers, we must all make an effort to reduce our fast fashion purchases and make purchasing second-hand and vintage clothing, or even better, revamp our old clothes to make them wearable and stylish. By practising these we can develop more our own individual styles as opposed to everyone wearing the same Missguided or BooHoo dress on a night out.

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