When you first meet a person, before they open their mouths, you create a mental first impression of the individual standing right in front of you. It may be their polite facial expressions, their exotic pixie haircut, and/or what they wear that makes you think, hmm, he/she seems ____. The social interaction following your mini-evaluation of this person will enable you realize whether you were right or not.

Fashion is a form of art that has mattered since the earliest days. Each culture has created and developed its own recognizable style, and today, it’s one of the fastest growing industries in the world. New individuals and brands continue to rise as tomorrow’s most influential fashionistas, with trends coming and going.

Though one can argue that this fashion world is largely prioritized by the female population, I believe that the industry continues to be dominated by men. It seems that while women are cluttering around the fashion industry, those at the top tend to be males. This arguable topic is for some other time, but my point is – fashion is gender unbalanced, not just in favor of the female side.

Why does it matter to me?

I’m a girl. I care hugely about other people’s opinions, and the way they see me. Fashion is so extensive and covers so many trends and styles that it can offer that escapism feeling. The types of clothes I wear can determine how comfortable, beautiful and confident I feel when I’m at a social or public outing. Though I’m not a huge makeup & hair guru, I am occasionally intrigued by the beauty YouTube videos and articles detailing on DIY’s, tutorials and fashion tips. It’s everywhere that it can’t not matter to me.

That rush of happiness when you go shopping and find pieces of clothing that you love at reasonable prices, and those moments you spend in your room putting together outfits and trying them on give me momentary self-satisfaction that, though is superficial, is something I occasionally enjoy doing. Does superficiality mean that it’s not okay to do something? If fashion outfits were exhibited in an art show, would that make it less ‘superficial’?

Fashion is what society makes of it, and today, it’s often easy for one to be so caught up in the industry for superficial purposes.

That’s why I loved wearing a uniform to school. If my school didn’t have uniforms, I would have wasted countless hours deciding on a comfortable, yet good-looking outfit for school everyday, worrying about whether the skirt I chose was too short, or whether my shoes matched my outfit, etc. Though I love fashion, and I love the endless possibilities it offers to portray yourself aesthetically, it is heavily time-consuming.

So… should fashion matter?

My favorite fashion style is 50’s vintage (or anything in the 80 years of vintage, actually). Though I don’t think I have ever seen a thrift store anywhere in my area, and though the pieces of ‘vintage’ clothing that I wear are just imitations, vintage just screams history and evolution to me. As a female, the 1900’s was the era that fashion changed the most: when the majority of countries started allowing women to vote, when females could finally wear shorter skirts, and basically have the liberty to express themselves.

In most cultures, brides wear white to their wedding ceremonies, we wear black to funerals (or to classical music presentations), formal / casual attire to work, etc. There seems to be a fashion ethic for everywhere, and even if there isn’t, one would feel out of place if they stepped into a cocktail party in a swimsuit and flip-flops.

What I’m getting at is that if fashion is dominating the public industry as much as celebrities and social media does, there must be ways to combat the ‘fashion is superficial’ stereotype. A few months ago, I mentioned in the article about Emma Watson that she supported the work of People Tree, a clothing catalog that uses fair practice in the industry to promote sustainable production.

Fashion can’t be stopped. And if we’re going to let it continue going uphill, we might as well take advantage of such statement to imprint positive impact upon society – it’s the least and best thing that we can do right now.