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The Financial Express

Fashion as an extension of our political identity


Fashion as an extension of our political identity

In the glittery world of chic, bohemian and vintage fashion, we often crave to express ourselves. It’s done by wearing clothes that represent values tied to our identity.

The ‘Manush ki bolbe’ t-shirt is a way for women to signal that they oppose patriarchal norms. The outfit made out of recycled fabric, worn on a date, is a way for people to reduce the carbon footprint they leave behind. 

The cruelty free makeup is a way of championing more animal rights. In every piece of fabric that’s worn, there is an influential message that shapes societal narratives.

Recall your newsfeed post from the recent ‘Met Gala 2021,’ there was a huge buzz about the infamous ‘Tax the Rich’ dress worn by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Many people felt that it was an iconic way of sending a message against capitalism. It showed people that fashion too can be weaponised to spread important political messages.

As fashion becomes more intertwined with cultural norms, celebrities and influential figures are picking up on political trends to customise it into their wardrobe. Many believe that this is only beneficial for big companies while others argue that it has also led to many societal benefits.

Taiyeba Muskan, who is currently a fashion design student at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, shared her two cents on the matter.

“I believe at present, fashion is capitalist propaganda. The marketing team finds its way to make people feel bad about themselves so that they keep buying more.”

“Nonetheless, it has also been a way of promoting self-expression, breaking stigmas, and making history through art. Or else it wouldn’t have stuck around for so long,” she concluded.

Fashion has been there to create traction for many urgent issues championed by social movements. In the 2018 Golden Globes, many Hollywood celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey wore black to show support to the #Metoo movement, spearheaded by women to fight against sexual harassment.

When these trends are all over social media, it informs more consumers about pressing social causes. As fashion is a relatable concept for everyone and it can be easily expressed, it has become a way by which people can connect to an important message.

Moreover, fashion embodies personal values in every piece of clothing. The saree or punjabi connects people to their heritage. People use fashion as a simplistic way of sending messages to society about themselves, how they’re feeling and what they’re advocating for.

With limited platforms available to express our individuality, fashion is needed for people to make a political statement.

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