Liberation in Style


We know the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters globally, and yet the new seasonal collections, new trends, and new styles continue to hit the stores, and we continue to purchase.

But of course, fashion isn’t the evil of all evils, and neither are those who enjoy being connected and current with the industry. Because style is all about expressing yourself, showcasing who you are, and being able to wear something you feel good in.

But then why did Alec Leach, who spent nearly five years at the streetwear publication Highsnobiety, in an interview with GQ express this; “I realised that my life was just really clogged with stuff, and none of it meant anything to me, even though it all seemed important at the time. I just remember thinking that after chasing all the trends that I was supposed to be chasing, getting all the designers that I was supposed to be getting, I just had a bunch of stuff in my closet that didn’t mean anything to me. I didn’t think it suited me, and I didn’t enjoy wearing any of it,” he shared.

Is it truly you?

I’m confident all of us have experienced similar sentiments regarding our wardrobes as well. It might even extend beyond. If we are truly buying what we want, why are we unhappy with our purchases in the long term?

Well, marketing has to play a large part in answering this question. Each time a new collection drops, we are fed these fantastical stories, from supporting diversity and marginalised communities, saving the planet, cleaning up the ocean, and maybe even curing cancer (who knows).

We are fed concepts such as circularity, sustainability, eco-friendliness and ethical fashion, devised and planned by marketers who create narratives for the clothes we purchase. No longer is it the latest dress, it’s something more, and we just have to be a part of it.

But is it truly you? Or just something you want to be associated with yourself?

Enslaved by the system

“I think we often let ourselves get told what to buy and get told what we should be wearing. You can easily get trapped in a cycle of constantly being dissatisfied with what you buy because you are just listening to what other people think you should be wearing. It’s good to take a step back and ask yourself some deeper questions about what you want and what you need from your clothing,” Alec added in his interview, explaining how much of a role marketing plays in the clothes we wear, pointing towards a valuable question: do we buy the things we buy because we want them, or because of some marketing team, Instagram influencer or designer label wants us to want them?

Such a question challenges the notion that fashion is in fact an extension of ourselves and ultimately takes away the value of the choices we make in what we wear and how we wear them.

Liberation in style

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with chasing the latest trends, but it’s not something that is feasible or practical, especially given the current circumstances.

Instead, being able to break away from the bonds of marketing, and freely choose your style, and look is where fashion becomes liberating, something completely separated from the marketing shams that many brands tend to apply.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who try to apply mandates for fashion and your purchases to be better for the industry and the planet. That doesn’t sound very liberating either.

The best action is to be more focused on our approach, with you in the centre of it all. Whatever the marketing may be, you will finally be the one wearing it.

Now is the best time to liberate yourself in your style and create a look of true glamour that lasts the ages.

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage