Getting Honest about Fashion

As a fashion stylist, being invited to view the collections of different brands is a part of my work. Every season we look at the new collections to see what is going to be trending the next season.

Recently I went to a press event that showcased mixed brands. As I looked through the collections from different designers, I caught myself quickly falling into a numbing mode.

Fashion trends tend to repeat themselves, with each brand having their own distinctive flair, where details are added in or taken away each season to mimic change.  

Yet the truth is, fashion is never truly new because the energy that fashion is created in has never changed. 

We have devoted so much time, effort, hard work, money and labour, we have abused a lot of lives and nature to endlessly produce fashion, which takes us nowhere but around and around in circles.

As human beings we have not really improved, become more intelligent, beautiful or successful with fashion. We have not evolved one single bit.

The quality that clothes are designed, manufactured and worn in determines the quality of how fashion is. Fashion can be created for individualisation and competition, which is how clothing is mainly created presently in the world, and yet fashion can also be made with the intention that it is for all of us.

We all wear clothes every day, even a newborn baby is swaddled moments after it is born. But what is really going on if we are not aware of the energy of clothing, nor how we may be led by it all our lives?

On this day, as I went through the many different racks of clothing, I decided not to use my eyes to register their value, but instead connected with my heart and felt the quality in which they had been made and were then sending out to the world.

Whether loudly or subtly, some clothes imparted the feeling of female sexualisation, some presented rebellion and anger, others a cushiony numbing of allure, as well as supremacy and competition.

There were a lot of emotions to be felt: these expressions have all been made to be normal in fashion, even heralded as fashionable and (falsely) beautiful, so why were they making me feel uncomfortable?

Even though I felt uncomfortable and wanted to speak out against it, my habit of wanting to fit into this industry stopped me and my head still nodded in casual habit to earn the approval I was seeking.

We are all trapped in what we have told ourselves is a truth, a truth our bodies cannot lie about – and this lie about fashion is that it is all good.

As I stepped out of the showroom, I had a choice: to repeat this again or to make a different choice. 

The next day I went to another press event for a brand that I personally like because of its simplicity, and this season their standard of design had not dropped. Without a deeper awareness, I would have said the designs were beautiful. Yet, when I chose to feel into it more, this was not the truth.

Within the simplicity of design there lurked a subtle but undeniable desire to stand out in form and/or even fabric. The design, detail and production were all imbued with competition and comparison. In-truth, none of that is love, and neither is it beauty.

Visiting more events, I see how trends seem to be repeating themselves but in a more extreme form, as no one in fashion would ever want to be left behind.

There is more objectification of women where skirt lengths are now uber mini; checking out from life is rocketing beyond sky-high into space themes; glamorous gown designs are going high-tech and low-budget in material; power suits are now 3-D printed where cleaning can only be done by the atelier. Extreme hours and effort are being put into the intricacy of removing ourselves from real life; are we all lost and perhaps comfortable, hiding in beadwork embroidery?

But are we truly comfortable?

Fashion is an industry that claims authority to lead the way in trends, where we push our bodies to be one step ahead of even time itself. And yet when fashion is created in rush and disregard, and presented with emotions, what is fashion really trending?

When it comes to fashion, what you see is really not what you get.

The fact is everything is energy. Anything and everything in fashion that is designed, produced, marketed, sold and worn comes with an energy.

Without being aware of what this energy is we can be easily led and owned by it. If we are seeking acceptance or fitting in with this industry, we override what our bodies feel is disharmonious, for harmony would never dishonour the preciousness of our bodies. And yet rebelling against what we do not feel is true is not the answer either as, in energy, we are still being led, rather than leading the way.

With honesty, we need to ask ourselves how normal this all is, as inevitably truth will catch up with us and our bodies will reflect how we have chosen to live.

In choosing to fit into what is “fashionable,” as designers are we truly vital, joyful and with unending creative ideas that benefit everyone? And as customers, do we truly feel we are enough when we put on the latest piece of clothing? When our bodies do not reflect joy in our clothing, is fashion truly successful and does it really lead the way?

By Adele Leung, Hong Kong

Further Reading:
What is True Fashion About
Modelling sex in the fashion industry to being truly sexy
Who are you in the latest fashion stakes?

850 thoughts on “Getting Honest about Fashion

  1. This jumped off the page as I read your blog Adele
    “We are all trapped in what we have told ourselves is a truth, a truth our bodies cannot lie about”
    We have lied to ourselves and continue to do so, we cannot blame anyone else for this lack of responsibility towards ourselves and others because we have allowed this to happen. If we were meant to live this way then why do our bodies scream at us that something is wrong? Why do we have such high rates of illness and disease in our bodies if the life we are living is correct? And how much longer can we go on fooling ourselves that everything in life is rosy when everything is pointing to the fact that it isn’t?

  2. Thank you Adele, as you have eluded to dressing for our Livingness, takes on a whole new meaning as the energy that we are aligned to brings a deeper focus to the loving way we wear our clothes and how they are made.

  3. If our natural state of being is to be full of vitality and joy, why seek to prove it through fashion or other means? Our natural vibrancy does not need to be covered up with a false one – so, what if we learned to use fashion to enhance and show this natural vitality, joy and beauty within us all – how would this transform fashion? I can see it taking a huge pressure off many in the industry and the need to prove things or compete would fall away.

  4. Thank you Adele, for a great sharing around fashion and all the competition and emotional drama that is tied in with it all too often. And though I am not a fashion expert by any means, I get the strong sense that what you have shared in the fashion industry is a microcosm of the macrocosm happening in the world. So where we can see this in one area of life, we can feel how the dynamics and energy has an impact on a far wider scale. And herein lies the importance of our willingness to see things for what they are.

  5. The best way for me to go for shopping is with a friend and a lot of joy. I love to use my feeling to chose what I want to buy as if I am not feeling wonderful and delicate in what I am wearing I would not buy it.

  6. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of the carbon footprint of the world and being the second greatest polluter of local fresh water. All of this from our obsession with must-have wear and throw-away fashion.

    1. Interesting facts Steve, and is it possible when we are seeing each other as energy first would we not want this to end? And as we would all have our hands in the air with our feet planted firmly on the ground say no to this false energy that tries to make us feel good about ourselves by the use of a false energy that takes us away from our connection to our essences.

  7. Today I went shopping with a girlfriend and we had the best day connecting with each other and with all the shopkeepers. Shopping/fashion can be great fun when we don’t take it too seriously.

    1. Wise words that apply to all areas in life Elizabeth – I will take that one with me today as I get on with work, whilst connecting with people and having fun – thank you!

  8. Bringing multi-dimensionality to fashion, that is very much needed, Adele. About time it went beyond image. We are much more than what the eyes can see.

  9. Reading this makes me think of what we as consumers are calling for and how we ‘lead’ the fashion industry in a way by what we accept or even are seeking in clothes and so highlights the worth of our personal relationship with our expression through clothes…

  10. This is a great one to consider and feel when we are wearing clothes. I know I have gone through my wardrobe and culled what didn’t feel true. But also it has been a reclaiming of myself and how I feel in my body and choosing to wear my clothes that confirm this. This is very much a working progress and I love what you have presented here Adele. Very much needed.

  11. ‘details are added in or taken away each season to mimic change.’ I’ve noticed this too and it would explain why we can have a simple classic piece and wear it for years and years with just a slight twist or change now and again in what we pair it with – but what might be why this works more so, is the fun of expressing ourselves through what we wear, and not really anything much to do with the latest fashion accessory.

  12. Does my body reflect joy in my clothing? This is a great question and one worth asking as we dress for the day – actually I can feel another wardrobe cleanse coming on.

  13. When looking back at history one can see repeating patterns – rise and fall of nations, of morals and movements, etc. – not unlike to the repetition in the fashion industry you describe Adele. And as with the fashion industry we need to get honest about our purpose.

  14. As fashion is dictated to us by the fashion designers, wouldn’t it be lovely if we truly inspired them through our livingness, and designers put quality and love into their designs first, rather than in some cases the shock factor or sexualising clothes that actually devalue women?

  15. “On this day, as I went through the many different racks of clothing, I decided not to use my eyes to register their value, but instead connected with my heart and felt the quality in which they had been made and were then sending out to the world.” A beautiful reminder of the value of what we feel over what we see, and the integrity of quality.

    1. This is a great and refreshing way to evaluate – after all it is our visual sense that is fed and that we can all too easily give precedence to, over and above the actual integrity of the piece – from its conception to its production.

  16. These days I have learned to not only look with my eyes at what I like but to feel the quality of the clothing and whether it will support me or at least not wear me down. As with everything in life it is a learning of making everything about energy first and foremost.

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