Taking Back Your Identity: Fashion as a Tool for Change - Zainab Qadir

In todays world, fashion is often looked at as something to keep yourself relevant - to fit in with the crowd. We’re often pressured to keep in touch with all of the latest trends because ‘nobody wears THAT anymore’. Arguably, fashion is something that can force us into uniformity - when used a certain way it holds social capital, making us seem acceptable, fitting into the mainstream. While a lot of these mainstream trends are pretty cool and in, there are still some people who decide not to follow the mould and turn to fashion as their tool for change.


In todays age, while it may seem normal to want to throw on some shorts or a tank-top to go with the scorching summer heat, or even just some figure-hugging pieces when you’re really feeling yourself, a new wave of fashion strives to prove that you don’t need to give up your identity to look great. Mostly driven by muslim women who are not willing to give up their religion to fit in, the modest fashion movement has sprung up tons of independent brands that aim to give women a tool to feel great while staying true to themselves. Brands like Louella, owned by Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete at the Olympics wearing a hijab, aim to provide modern, functional and stylish pieces for the modest consumer. The modest movement has even begun to influence mainstream fashion as things like oversized pieces are becoming crazy in demand.


There are also those people who want to create a space for those who don’t feel the need to conform to the mainstream culture of big-name brands that make us all look the same. These people use their clothes as a tool to empower themselves and show their unique take on what it is to be fashionable. Independent brands like Born To Stand Out London aim to provide good quality and fashionable clothing while emphasising empowerment to the modern consumer through uniqueness and enabling the average person to be confident not just in what they are wearing, but themselves. This movement takes power away from mainstream marketing which can make us feel like we need to wear certain pieces or brands in order to look good, when in reality, we don’t need to fix ourselves but rather tap in to what it is that makes us truly stand out.