Who gets to decide what Fashion is?

By : Maheen Ahmed

After the volcanic reaction to the fashion taste at this year’s Hum Style Awards, we must ask, who decides what is fashionable?
Is it the public or the designers?

The meaning and experience of fashion is as diverse as the amount of people who wear clothes. Fashion can be just something we wear everyday or it can be something limited to runways or fashion shows, it can be tradition and breaking tradition.

Fashion may look different for everyone, and can cause as much intolerance as it does unity and peace, but fashion in the very basic sense is an experience and more one takes note of that experience, the more fashionable they are.

Fashion is also always changing and evolving around us and one may seem like all they can see is ads and campaigns for clothes, so the concept of spectacle and performance are very important to creating that magic spell.

Designers and visionaries also enforce and envision feelings of greatness, newness and freedom to their clothes and it’s so real we all want to be a part of that vision, even if we look nothing like the people we see wearing those clothes.
Fashion is paradoxically both traditional and innovative, and it often a battlefield for artistic and conservative people.

The conservative masses fight to defend tradition that they respect and feel attached to, while the creatives want to innovative and leave their own. The conservatives buy the most while the creatives control the flow.

Fashion mixed with Capitalism and Vanity

To be fashion can be expensive and requires work and attentiveness to trends and brands. This kind of vanity is generally frowned upon by society and it is heavy on any pocket, no matter how deep.
Fast fashion is also destructive for the environment, but if one buys collective pieces it is supporting the artist.

If not ten one should experience couture at least once in their life, which is usually during their wedding where they get to spend money on the luxury of high fashion.
If not shopping we all enjoy looking at well made clothes and marveling at the craftsmanship that went into them. It is art that we can wear, actually, that is what it is.

But luxury is more of a thing for good economies, and we often hear people say it is better to give to charity than waste of clothes. It’s a valid point for people who can’t afford it any way.

Nakedness and Style
The major problem people have with fashion shows in Pakistan is that they don’t like it when people reveal too much skin.

Nakedness that can be achieved with both western and eastern clothes is looked down upon, but it’s more frowned upon if it is through western clothes, because then it is also not cultural and vulgar together.

You may have also heard the usual joke that ‘all that money and they can’t afford and full clothes’.
Since now the need to see cultural clothes are vocalized, actresses get picked on because of it. Mind you they do spend most of the year is society approved regular clothes.
We like to think if a bunch of actresses just dress more modestly, there would less problems of society.

There is also the act of widely sharing those images and the action of people collectively bashing both the people and the clothes. One wonders why they are being shared in the first place?

If wearing gowns that reveal the back shoulders is promoting the fashion, then isn’t widely and aggressively sharing those same images with a different intention doing the same thing?
Can people not just wear what they think is good among the whole industry dedicated to clothes, art and fashion, without being bashed and insulted for it?

Is a slutty or stylish dress really the end of the world?

The Fear of Variety and Experimentation

For some reason of the other, if you wear a particularly western gown once a year at a big event, it’s seen as leaving one’s own culture behind. There seems to a fear of experimentation and this idea that people are made for clothes and not the other way around. Also is it not people who make clothes in the first place.

One actor commented that ‘ladies, you don’t have to wear revealing clothes to be beautiful’. That really is a nice thing to say, but do people really think models and actresses are forced to dress in dresses, and that they have a fear of being ugly. It is us ugly and chunky people who need to be told we are beautiful, not the physically fit and clearly beautiful.

Also are people really just going to wear a dress just because a certain actress wears it? Maybe, they do get a lot of lawn ads.
If we can appreciate British Royalty and any other foreign diplomat wearing our clothes, we can get to experience something also.

Our identity is a lot more than just a dress we only wear once. And yes this is Islamic Republic of Pakistan! (Snaps fingers).

And for the record even the ‘western’ gowns they were wearing were made by Pakistani designers, so we can steal stuff also.

Silly Things
When designer and stylists dress in a way that is not normal for shows, people often think its silly, and see it as a joke or something to ridicule.
But that kind of is the point.

At the end of the day we shouldn’t be afraid of fashion. It is something we all should be experimenting with, but that’s not going to happen or less the sense of luxury won’t be there. But that’s fine.

We are the ones who make choice, and every choice is a statement and a protest.
The best thing to wear is comfort.

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