By: Bianca Sarro
Fashion is a part of every culture. Fashion is significant becasue it sends a message without any words. The clothes that people wear tell a story. They let us peek inside the intricate lives of each person. As cultures vary we recgonize the fashion norms and no-no’s from each culture. American fashion is interesting becasue it allows for free expression of individuality. Fashion is something that many people come together to celebrate and rejoice in but, it also is a way for us to feel unqie and express ourselves. Fashion is a way to claim ones identity. It says to the world “this is me” without having to say much at all.
The key feature of Western culture is freedom and individuality. Western culture allows for free expression becasue of the diversity that has been incorporated into the the culture. American fashion includes many different cultures on their runaway. Although, it is shown that celeberiteis and people of high social standing dress well it goes a bit beyond that for me. I see western fashion as a way to freely express yourself. Style is something you can not by it is ingrained in you. So yes, there may be fashion trends that are more expensive but it’s about theway you put peices together that create a great outfit. We live in a modern era where entertainment heavily influences our perceptions.
Western culture dresses for freedom whereas middle eastern fashion is influenced more upon religon and tradition which generates a more modest approach to dress. burka, hijab , chandor, niqab, and al-amira are typical clothing for middle eastern women in some states there are punishments for not covering up but in a few states it’s up to the women to express their religious ideals. Oppressive or religious? There’s been large debate over how middle eastern women are raised to be silenced in what they choose to wear traditional style unlike western cultures, middle eastern wear is traditional high end fashion commemorates the modest, muslim style.
It is important that Western culutre does not forget that roots of where there inspiration comes from. The idea of cultural appropriation accuses American fashion for using cultures traditions in superficial and sterotypical ways. We must not forget the orginating story of how a certain style became a style. For example Corn rows were originally an ancient African hair style that was worn by both men and women. We then see celebrties like Kylie Jenner with corn rows. Or Native American prints, shapes, and materials and stereotypical Chinese inspired outfits are also seen in American fashion. So, as we use other fashion trends it is vital that we do not forget where the trend came from and give credit where it is due. If we forget the roots of where a certain trend came from our fashion and culture becomes phony and waterered down.
As I go to google to type in “Muslim fashion” I scroll through and scan the page. The images that pop up are mainly caucasian women dressed in the muslim style. Which makes cultural appropriation a concern. It feels as if we have completely misused the traditions and cultures for our fashion inspiration. Before you buy a garment or wear it it is important to take in the cultural factors and background of the garment. Fashion is supposed to bring people together but, we must first appreciate the history of the trends we are using and wearing. Fashion has come a long way and I hope it continues to progress in a positive manner. But first, we must be conscious of the clothing we choose to put on our back.