Fashion and style is the ultimate form of self-expression. By Mughni Che Din.
Celebrated American fashion designer Marc Jacobs once said, “To me, clothing is a form of self-expression—there are hints about who you are in what you wear.”
Indeed, for centuries, fashion has been used as a medium to communicate a person’s thoughts, beliefs and even emotions. From expressing ideas as controversial as a radical political statement or simply to highlight one’s personality, clothes are simply more than just what you wear—it is an extension of who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. A great example would be the punk culture in the ‘70s that was regarded as a defining moment in British cultural history. In its rhetoric and style, punk appeared to express the socio-economic and political climate of the late ‘70s.
However, it is important to note that there are distinctions between fashion and style, despite it is hard to distinguish since the terms are often used interchangeable.
Fashion can be defined as the leading style within a given culture at a certain time. Fashion is mainly determined by new trends: it refers to popular ways of dressing during a specific era. While “style” refers to a person’s preferences and how they express themselves. In the fashion realm, “style” is often referred to as “personal style”, or the way a person expresses themselves through aesthetic choices that is often inspired by their lifestyle (i.e.: pop culture, music, art, culture etc.)
Iconic ‘90s pop culture that has made a comeback into the fashion world.
It can be said that fashion and style can also be a path to self-discovery. According to studies over the past two decades, scholars have identified the relation between clothing and the individual; both on a personal and societal level. Taking the exploration of the “self” to the next level is Malaysian fashion composer, Alice Jane with her recent AMAP Opus 1.0 collection which was an ode to individuality. According to Alice, the collection is about “asking questions, reflection and discovery of the best version of yourself.”
All clothing sends a message, whether we intend it to or not. It communicates every aspect of an individual. In order for people to respond to us the way we want, we must understand how our clothing is a representation of who we are and what we convey through what we wear. After all, fashion is free speech and one of the pleasures of a free world. So, what does your clothes say about you?