The-FT-Times-Fashion-Blog-Finalist

JOIN THE FASHION REVOLUTION!

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to work in fashion. Clothes are my bag. LOL!

As a little girl, I would watch with fascination at how my Mum would meticulously organise her wardrobe and accessories (the original Marie Kondo!) and could see how my Dad had a certain swagger when he wore his favourite flares.

Even at a really young age, I could see how this outer layer had an almost magical quality about it; the symbiosis of how looking good and feeling good played a huge part in peoples’ everyday.

However, looking back in hindsight, my sartorial super powers were stifled as a kid.

For a start, I never got Fashion Wheel (I am still so upset about this to this very day!) and I never got to choose my own clothes.

My Mum, instead, would dutifully insist in dolling me up in frills and bows and stuff that I never really liked or had much of a say in.

Actually, there was one time when I got to pick my outfit – I was probably only 6 or 7.

I’ll never forget the bollocking my Dad got from Mum when she came back from work or wherever.

“You took her out, into town, with JUST a petticoat on!?”

Oh the shame! I felt awful that Dad got the telling-off – but admittedly, it was my choice – mainly because I thought the white broderie get-up made me look like Laura Engels. 

Maybe that’s why I am so drawn to the different when it comes to my own wardrobe today? ‘Cause, once given the opportunity to express myself, I fucking went for it, ha!

I am massively digressing here!

I could wax lyrical forever about my love for fashion – and I’m not talking about trying pretty things on in a changing room in Hennes! 

There is so much more to fashion than the shallow, bitchy, exclusive label it’s often given.

It’s the psychology behind it all that takes my breath away; the painful inspiration behind a designers creations, the reason why/how we become so tribal and together with this outer shell of ours and how this is often a reflection of a society – communicating and influencing.

To quote Saussure, the don of semiotics, ultimately, we are in discussion about  “the sign and the signifier.”

Fashion, you see, is ultimately a message. Your message.

And the only thing in my youth that started to satisfy this appetite for fashion and the questions and the creativity – was watching The Clothes Show.

The only problem being – blink and you bloody missed it! (Why was it soooo short? Gah!)

And now, to the reason why I’m writing this blog post.

As a hardcore fan of TCS – you can imagine my face when I was invited to a breakfast with former Clothes Show presenter… Caryn Franklin MBE.

WTAF!

That wasn’t my RSVP, of course!

They say you shouldn’t meet your idols – well ‘they’ can go and do one – because in this case, it was inspiring and more.

Ms Franklin was and still is EVERYTHING I understand fashion to be about.

It is in flux and it is fluid.

And it’s an industry that needs to change. 

I know I am totally fan-girling Ms Franklin here but just listen to what she has to say about disruptive behaviour and the reasons why we can as individuals create noise and subsequently action change.

“…we can critique and change the fashion industry we support. As a feminist who loves clothes and believes in the power of image to influence how people read us and how we feel about ourselves, I have always brought fashion into my life on my terms.”

“I can now engage with a variety of thinkers and activists to challenge fashion behaviours and process. After all…you gotta love something enough, to care about making it better.”

If I could insert a round of applause/loud wooping or a fist pumping gif here, believe me, I would. (Not very techy, soz!)

From talks about sustainability and societal shifts that we can all participate in; at the breakfast, Caryn went on to explain how it’s not about being a hardcore activist and calling people out but to remember that in whatever workplace and world we exist in, be empowered to be that person who asks ‘why?’ or ‘could we possibly do it like this instead?’ 

Be that person who challenges a decision with professionalism and politeness. It’s not about being preachy. Ask the question and don’t be afraid to disrupt the norm.

Needless to say, I left that breakfast BUZZING!

With hope, with positivity and with a mission in mind. We can all make that bit of a difference to ignite something that can slowly start to shift mindsets.

Without a doubt, we need to be more conscious and  considered when it comes to consuming.

I’ve included below a little bit more (including a really powerful video link) about the campaign, Power of One and Pure London who kindly reached out to me with this incredible breakfast meet-up. 

From wearing more to washing less, recycling and upcycling, buying less and asking ‘who made my clothes?’ – the message is clear, no voice is too small.

Thank you for reading.

I’d love to know what you think, so please do scroll down to comment below.

FT x_________________________________________

London’s largest festival of fashion, Pure London, and British fashion commentator, activist and Professor of Diversity Caryn Franklin M.B.E. MSc (Psych) MBPsS, are joining forces to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, by launching the Power of One campaign and a set of pledges they are inviting the industry and individuals to adopt.

Designed to galvanise the fashion industry into making it more ethical and sustainable, Power of One champions individual actions and invites small changes in the way we produce, consume, and reuse clothing to collectively make a substantial difference to the effect we are having on the world, the people living and working in it and our natural environment.

Watch the very powerful #CatwalktoCreation video here by Charney Magri, co-founder of Fashion4Change and award-winning director, photographer and author who was also in attendance at the breakfast. 

Plus, you can also read more about the UNs’ Sustainable Development Goals, here.

4 Comments

  • Love this post. Me and my mate at primary school somehow managed to rebel against the uniform and always wore whatever coloured trousers we wanted! Think we got away with it as we were studious. I think that way the start of my love of dressing my way. Red school sweater with bright lemon trousers…;)

    • Thank you Sunita. School uniform definitely was my first foray in rebelling against the sartorial ‘norm’, too!

      FT xx

  • Wow FT this is a brilliant article my friend and such a coup for you both as a journalist and Woman. I often find it quite difficult to be non judgemental when it comes to ethic fashion and sustainable fashion. As you know I’m rather vocal on these subjects. In particular I find it so damn frustrating to see rich Women on Instagram promoting fast fashion simply to appeal to the masses. It’s deadly because middle class Women envy her wealth but they can’t afford to buy new designer clothes every week so they copy by getting the cheap version.
    This new society of envy is not only fruitless to the individual but it also perpetuates fast fashion! The irony is that the rich don’t even need the income they generate from affiliate marketing, it’s just fulfilling their vanity. In many ways it’s two sides of the same coin. This is why your Style Triangle is so important!
    Thank you for this brilliant post Fatima xx

    • I totally here you.
      It’s the nut of advertising though and social media has provoked a new medium to sell the ‘dream’.
      And as you know, there are plenty of people out there who are happy to rack up the $$$$$ without the conscience.
      Advertising has money and it bloody talks – without ppl asking why. It’s hard not to feel really sad about this…which is why meeting with Caryn came at such the right time, especially as you say with all the My Style Triangle events we’re doing. It’s important that we show women, brands, companies, who are willing to listen, that there are other ways.

      FT x x x

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