How Can We Think About Fashion at a Time Like This?


Fashion can seem - frivolous. It can seem "extra", even ridiculous in a year (month? 12 days?) when it seems like our country is being turned upside down by discourse. Whether you agree or disagree with the current state of politics, it has been difficult to focus on day to day life when every second turns into another headline. While we typically enjoy a celebrity red carpet or an interesting street style moment, we have to ask - how can we think about fashion at a time like this?

That's the thing about fashion...

Fashion doesn't stop for anything or anyone. Style doesn't slow down, just because the world has been awakened from a passive state. As people grow more aware of the reality around them, and their opinions of it, what they wear becomes all the more important.

We all know the point of fashion - to identify yourself as a part of a group or as different than a group. It can be as simple as saying that fashion can be used to express yourself. However, fashion can mean much more than its definition. Clothing can be used to convey acceptance (think "Make America Great Again" hats). What you wear can signify rebellion or disapproval (think pussy hats). The clothes that you wear speak for you, and in the current political climate they have more meaning than ever.

Beyond that, how can we think about fashion right now?

Here's the practical answer: fashion is a huge piece of the economy. According to, the American fashion industry has a domestic market value of $385.7 billion. The clothing industry is extremely relevant to the "real world" and should be treated as such. As we report on things like how the oil industry/banks/auto industry will be affected by political changes, we must also keep in mind how things will change for the fashion industry. For example, with the latest executive order regarding immigration, we have to consider potential outcomes for this industry. Will workers be allowed to enter the United States? Will certain editors be able to travel for Fashion Month based on their citizenship or religion? These are the questions that Elsewhere Magazine will continue to ask over the next few years.

Creativity is Bliss.

In a softer sense, how can we think about fashion? Fashion has always served as a creative outlet. While it may be difficult to turn away from the never-ending news cycle, even fashion girls have to give themselves a break. Defending your beliefs over and over can lead to exhaustion and cause even the most outspoken to become passive. Use your style as an outlet for your stress, for your anxiety and for your frustration. Take a moment to focus on something other than the state of the world by giving that time to yourself instead.

Give "Normal" the Middle Finger.

In our most honest voice - how can we think about fashion right now? Fashion can serve as the ultimate f*ck you to the status quo. As an industry that embraces change, diversity (recently) and sexuality, it is not afraid to "poke the bear". As evidenced in the '60s, it rips holes in paper bag dresses and stabs safety pins through earlobes in rebellion. During the Women's Rights Movement (arguably still going on today - but that's another post) it hemmed skirts ever higher and burned bras in defiance. Fashion is the cornerstone of many movements. It embraced outrage when not many industries would - and did it proudly.

So yes, the current state of our world is a bit shaky. Our country is full of disagreement and instability. But one thing remains true - fashion will always be around to make its voice heard. By using this creative industry to its full potential, you can make your voice heard too.