High Fashion, Street-Level

When I was a teenager, I was taught that the outfits created by a small coterie of fashion designers set the trends for the upcoming season. The prevailing theory at the time was that the styles displayed on the catwalks of Paris and London, New York and Milan would dictate Britain’s fashion for the next few months; that these outlandish (and expensive!) creations would trickle down to the high street stores in a more palatable, affordable and practical form. There are obvious flaws in this programmatic view of fashion – just think of influential subcultures, historic movements like the Swinging Sixties, even the potential for popular culture to sway fashion. But, more or less, it proved truthful for many years. The road from exclusivity to mass market was pretty straightforward. High fashion dominated. Street style did not.

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Cultural Appropriation

Right now you might be thinking another article on cultural appropriation? Haven’t there been enough already? Short answer: no.

It’s 2017. I am still serving drinks to “Native Americans” on Halloween at work despite the current ongoing Standing Rock protests. I am still seeing authentic designs of various indigenous ethnicities being crudely rehashed “ethnic” and “tribal” for financial gain. I am still seeing black friends being reprimanded for their “dirty looking” hair whilst designers such as Marc Jacobs are kitting out white models with a near-identical hairstyle and profiting from it.

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Review: Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show 2017

Admittedly, my expectations for the Glasgow University Charity Fashion show weren’t high, due to it being the first student-run charity event I had attended. I confess, however, that I was wrong: the effort and production that transferred the harsh brick and steel interior of SWG3 into the 2017 show was flawless.

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Style Icons: Kate Bush

Nobody ever perfected the feminine as ethereal quite like Kate Bush. An influence on innumerable modern pop stars and style icons – Florence + the Machine, Bat for Lashes, Bjork and St Vincent, to name but a few, Bush is an icon of music, style, and feminism all at once. Incorporating costume wholeheartedly into her music videos and performances, she used her attire as an equal arm of her unbounded creativity as any other artistic medium. Her iconic, enormous wavy brown hair and angelic Wuthering Heights white dress cemented her place in pop culture iconography, and informed my relationship to femininity and performance more than any other artist.

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Space Age

The 1920s had the flapper; post-WWII saw the rise of Christian Dior’s New Look, but when it comes to novelty, it seems that the 1960s win the ‘otherworldly’ prize with the emerge of Space Age fashion. With the Cold War in full swing, the beginning of the 60s carried with it a strong futuristic spirit; people wanted to reach for the stars, and for the first time in history this was not just a possibility, but a certainty. Though space travel was hardly an innovative idea (one look at George Méliès’s 1902 film A Trip to the Moon will tell you differently), all at once it seemed accessible, and as politics reached new heights, the arts scene was quick to follow.

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