By Joyce Chua
We all know that fashion is more than just models strutting down the runway in this season’s latest pieces. It is more than haute couture, than celebrated designers setting the trends.
We know that fashion is a medium and a tool, and a pretty powerful one that can effect social change. It is a field where both the designer and the wearer have equal impact. It is a reflection and an expression of the cultural zeitgeist of the time.
The Historical Evolution of Fashion in Society
Throughout the course of history, fashion statements have been made as a proclamation of affiliations, beliefs and values, and, on a more personal level, an assertion of the self. They are a push for change.
And it is this desire to assert one’s identity, compounded with an increasingly emphatic call for diversity and representation, that fashion is expanding its sociocultural sphere to encompass minority and marginalised groups, not merely reserving its space for the upper echelons of society.
It began with women appropriating heels (first worn by men) in the 16th century, and then men’s pants in the 30s (go, Katharine Hepburn). Fast forwards a few centuries and the 90s grunge movement saw street culture making its way to catwalk, followed by androgynous fashion that blurred gender boundaries, plus-size fashion that encourages women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their unique beauty, the rise of ethnic wear and the celebration of ethnic wear designers like Guo Pei and Ashley Isham.
My, how the fashion scene has evolved in the past few decades. And we have every reason to believe that we are only just getting started.
Own Your Identity Now
Whatever our gender, orientation, race, religion, or inclinations, we now have fashion at our disposal to express ourselves freely and unapologetically.
The OWN NOW project by ZALORA aims to democratise fashion — to let fashion-lovers set the trends and shape the sartorial landscape of our time. This allows more room for experimentation, free expression, and spontaneity, and frankly, this makes fashion a lot more exciting than ever before.
OWN NOW also encourages everyone to believe that they can own their world and any situation they find themselves in. It aims to inspire confidence, having fun with fashion, to present their most authentic, unique selves and own it.
Fashion gives us a voice. It’s our tool to wield, our platform to step up to. It’s high time we shone the spotlight on the everyday taste-makers and listened to what they have to say.