Fashion is an expression of who we are. Whatever outfits you choose to wear says a lot about your personal style and preferences. Fashion also reflects a version of yourself that you want the world to see. It also highlights individuality and allows you to express yourself without the need for words.
How are women empowered through fashion?
Every woman has a unique way of looking at the world, and that is reflected in what she wears. Every woman’s version of empowerment is different. Some women prefer to wear modest clothing, while other women prefer to wear more revealing clothing. Fashion designer Rachel Zoe, who is one of our Fashinnovators, says, “In my case, the mission of my brand has always been to empower women to live a life of style, whatever that means.” Just like everyone’s definition of empowerment is different, so is everyone’s definition of living a life of style. What does living a life of style mean for you?
Fashion and Politics:
Fashion can also be used to inspire and empower women of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds politically. Shirts with slogans such as, “Cool Girls Vote”, “Nevertheless She Persisted“, and “She believed she could, so she did”, encourage women to become politically active. In fact, these slogans are visible on pins and bookmarks as well.
The #MeToo movement is one particular movement that has entwined fashion and politics. It has enforced the rhetoric that just because a woman is wearing a revealing outfit does not mean that she is “asking for it”. It has gotten less attention in recent years, but the idea of women being able to wear whatever they want without judgment, whether their outfit is revealing or more modest, is one way of empowering women.
Influencers and Influence:
Influencers capitalize on various trends, particularly in the fashion industry. They are paid by fast fashion brands to promote their products. However, as interest increases in ways to make fashion more environmentally friendly, the influence of influencers may ultimately decrease. According to fashion designer Rachel Zoe, “I think a brand is only as valuable as the person behind it now.”
When women see other women wearing a certain brand or outfit, it can influence them to want to imitate each other if they have similar tastes in fashion. This is especially true of women who are celebrities and have large fan bases made up of impressionable young women. By wearing the same clothing, the thinking is that you can be like your idol.
Many women in the fashion industry have built their brands around the idea of empowering other women. Rachel Zoe says, “You have to be very clear on the mission of your brand, the focus of your brand, what you mean not only for yourself but to the greater world in terms of what you want to do.”
One way that fashion brands built around the empowerment of women can achieve their goal is to be inclusive of women of all ages and body types. This could mean offering sizes from petite to plus size and making those sizes more accessible for the women who purchase them.
How can fashion help to further empower women in the future?
Every woman has a different way of feeling empowered through fashion. Factors such as economic status and race have a large influence on the idea of women’s empowerment. Shirts with various slogans, such as “Nevertheless She Persisted”, are available online through various fashion companies. They can be purchased at prices ranging from $10 to $78, which is affordable for women of various economic backgrounds.
How do you personally use politics, celebrity influence, and brand missions in fashion as ways to empower yourself?
By Anna Swatski