When I was in school I was quite confident, and I took a lot of space in the classroom, which the teachers were reaffirmative of, whereas some other people gave me a hard time about it. Especially, I believe, as I was a girl.
I think that was a feminist awakening of sorts
I think that was a feminist awakening of sorts. I wish that there’d been – and I hope that it will be – a lot more focus on gender studies already in elementary school. I believe a lot of people in their early teens, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, realize that something is wrong and that something is making them feel small and inferior without being able to point out exactly what it is. Applying knowledge about patriarchal and heteronormative structures early on, making them transparent, is important on a personal level simply because it’s so hurtful to always be called out and always be called wrong despite doing all right, and not knowing why.
When I left elementary school I began to express myself through style. Dressing kind of like an eccentric became a new way to demand my space, to stop apologizing for myself. I could be loud without using any words. That was a turning point for my school years as well as for me as a woman, as a human being. I cut my hair off and started wearing leather jackets, tights and boots – not an amazing fashion statement and it probably wouldn’t have meant anything today, but within the walls of the school building it was a way for me to challenge the reigning gender norms. All of a sudden people started to ask me about my sexual orientation and putting me in new boxes without knowing me. It was exciting to me that without actively doing something, I was being provocative. It dawned on me that the exterior can be really powerful.
Dressing kind of like an eccentric became a new way to demand my space, to stop apologizing for myself. I could be loud without using words
That’s why the knowledge of fashion and my personal style has always gone hand in hand with feminism. My style is an extension of my opinions and of who I am. When I understood that, I knew that I wanted to work in fashion and I’m so glad to be where I am today. What it gives me is far from superficial. What I wear and what I learn about fashion gives me the strength I need to move forward in life, it reminds me to dare to be loud.
And that’s why fashion and clothes will be a part of me and my personality throughout my life. I’ll always use the way I dress to emphasize who I am at the moment. I look forward to growing older. I’m not sure if I’m all grown up yet or if I ever will be, but I’m sure my style will change organically along with me through the different stages in life . Though I think I have already found a stable foundation for my style – just like I have for my values.