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Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

The December issue of Vogue US saw Harry Styles grace its cover, making him the first solo male to front the magazine in Vogue’s 128-year history. Whilst it may not be surprising that Styles was chosen for the cover of Vogue magazine considering the success that 2020 has had in store for him, the shoot instantly became a defining moment in fashion history. The cover photo shows Styles wearing a classic double-breasted black Gucci jacket over a custom-made baby blue, lace Gucci dress (designed by Gucci’s Creative Director and Styles’ close friend, Alessandro Michele). Naturally, an image of a man wearing a dress on the cover of the world’s most notorious fashion magazine drew headlines and ruffled a few feathers. The most famous quote that this image bore was Candace Owens’ tweet “bring back manly men.” This controversial quote lead to an onslaught of praise in support of Styles, as well as some right-wing commentators supporting Owens. Whilst it is evident that 2020 has proven that masculinity is no more than a concept formed by societal norms, it is also worth considering if Styles deserves the praise that he has been given. Continue reading Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

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Boobs and Books: How Women Often get Told They Can Only Have One or the Other

When Emily Ratajkowski’s interview with French Marie Claire in 2018 went viral this year, I don’t expect many women were all that surprised by its contents. The writer Thomas Chatterton Williams was shocked to learn that the now 29-year-old model and actress was writing a series of essays about the modelling industry and commodification, because apparently you can’t have boobs AND brains in the twenty-first century. Ratajkowski is sadly not the only victim of the sexist trope, that conventionally attractive women are not intelligent, and any signs of intelligence are merely a ploy to seem even more attractive to men. Time and time again, famously beautiful women are mocked for having an interest in politics, literature or anything other than material items. But this issue doesn’t end with just the famous ladies out there, it trickles down even more potently to all levels of society. Continue reading Boobs and Books: How Women Often get Told They Can Only Have One or the Other

The Dangers of Face Changing and Body Morphing Filters on Social Media

Reality, sadly, is not always attractive. Contrary to what television and media may suggest, life is not always on a good day, from the right angle, or with good lighting. We do not always look our best, and the worst part is that we imprint this illusion of perfection onto ourselves and our expectations. Selecting and altering the best photographs. Feeling like we are not doing well if we are not looking good. The endless, vicious comparison of ourselves against those we see on social media and in film. Continue reading The Dangers of Face Changing and Body Morphing Filters on Social Media

Hair Discrimination: How Work and School Dress Codes Discriminate against Afro-Textured Hair

As a mixed-race woman whose tight afro curls are more than unruly, I know a little about what it means to be made to feel other as a result of something you cannot change. What I’m only just starting to learn is that these feelings aren’t misplaced or trivial; they are important and worth writing about because countless others are feeling the same way. Continue reading Hair Discrimination: How Work and School Dress Codes Discriminate against Afro-Textured Hair

Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

When you think of 90s fashion, what first comes to mind? Cycling shorts, baggy sweatshirts and high-waisted jeans? Oversized blazers, scrunchies and tiny shoulder bags? If you’re thinking that sounds like a rundown of what you’d see walking into Urban Outfitters, you’d be correct. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a revival for all things vintage – and no-one exuded 90s cool better than Princess Diana. Continue reading Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

In the wake of the recent global Black Lives Matter protests, discussions surrounding racism within the workplace have been bought to light, with individuals and former employees finally finding the courage to speak out about their experiences of discrimination. As a result, many industries and companies have come under fire for their problematic attitudes towards their non-white employees and their consequential lack of action, with the fashion industry being one of the most revealing. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the fashion industry lacks diversity, with runways and fashion campaigns featuring predominantly white, thin models, and constant instances of cultural appropriation seen on the runway and in collections. However, recent years have shown a development in the diversity seen on the runway, with South Sudanese model Adut Akech winning model of the year at the 2019 Fashion Awards. Whilst this improvement cannot be said for every fashion house (just look at the Dior AW20 campaign), the inclusivity seen amongst models is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. One well-known luxury fashion brand that has been hailed for the diversity of their models is Jacquemus. This French fashion house, founded by designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, is most well-known for its stunning runway show backdrops, the Le Chiquito mini bags and also inclusivity of models of all sizes, races and genders, with Vogue even congratulating the brand for their “gorgeously diverse casting”. Whilst Jacquemus has been praised for this diversity, recent revelations prove that this inclusivity goes no deeper than surface level. Continue reading Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

Beautiful Bodies and Damaging Diets: TikTok and Body Image

If you haven’t spent significant time in lockdown on TikTok, either you have been living under a rock or simply have better willpower than the rest of us. What began as a platform for lip-syncing videos (musical.ly), has now become a popular social media app broadcasting diverse content from short travel videos, daily lifestyle vlogs, challenges, trending dances, and different memes. Especially with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, … Continue reading Beautiful Bodies and Damaging Diets: TikTok and Body Image

Creative Corner: NinaValentine Designs

During the early stages of lockdown, when I still had a dissertation to write and exams to sit, I was able to keep the boredom at bay. Even though it was hard to motivate myself to do work, at least I had something to aim for. Once I was finished however, suddenly I had all this time on my hands with nothing to do. All of my summer plans were cancelled, jobs and internships were postponed, and I had to find something to do to fill my days – so I wouldn’t go completely mad! Continue reading Creative Corner: NinaValentine Designs

Review: Re:Claimed Fashion Show

On Saturday night, I walked into Unit 1 at 6:45 (truly the earliest I think I have ever set foot there), excited for a night of fashion. The main dance floor had been filled with chairs, set up to include a runway right through the middle. We took our seats, second row from the front – the front rows were reserved for the designers responsible for the garments we were about to see grace the runway (this was the moment when I felt like I really was at a real fashion show). The Re:Claimed Fashion show, put on by Exeter Fashion Society, aimed to showcase local and student ethical, sustainable brands with a focus on celebrating the diversity and creativity of the sustainable fashion industry. The show promised a celebration of fashion’s creativity, as well as performances from URBN Dance, Pole Fitness, Breakdance, Dance Society and Mishaal Javed. Continue reading Review: Re:Claimed Fashion Show