Fashion has gotten a bad rap over the years: people think it’s frivolous, exclusive and too precious for an ever-complex world. But at Pildora, we insist that fashion is part of the glue that binds us together and keeps us connected to the world around us. Fashion isn’t merely a designer dress or name-brand stilettos — it’s an act we engage in daily, collectively, that has historical impact and is rich with personal emotion. Through our choices, we tell the world a story about ourselves and the times we live in — a language as powerful as any.
Personal style and identity
Consider what your eye goes to when you meet someone new: We can’t see into a person’s soul, so we make a quick assessment of their values through the objects they surround themselves with and the clothes they wear. Perhaps their weatherworn sneakers tell us that they value their time outdoors. Maybe the silky scarf thrown around their neck hints at a dream for travel and adventure.
Style is a telling piece of someone’s identity. Even an unconscious choice can express so much about a person’s history, values and personal goals.
Many of us, when getting ready in the morning, gravitate toward the items that reflect what’s going on inside. A tailored blazer helps boost confidence when feeling unsure about a meeting. A lightweight dress (with a jacket) is a sign of feeling hopeful about upcoming warm weather.
We are all emotional chameleons, influenced by the dips and peaks of our own lives. What a joy it is to be able to express that through fashion and to have that emotion received by others in such a concrete way.
To connect to yourself through fashion is just the beginning of a larger journey, that of connecting to others and the world around us. The impact of our decisions can be far-reaching, and once we begin to create community from that sense of self-awareness, the world starts to shift in the best possible way.
Relating to others through fashion
The beauty of fashion is that it doesn’t exist in isolation. It is an inclusive movement with the ability to build relationships and context.
Perhaps you have an item of inherited clothing that is dear to you — a vintage wedding dress, a hand-knit scarf. It is a reminder of the relationships you hold close and a way to experience that connection anew.
New connections happen effortlessly through fashion, too. We’ve seen women become instant friends in boutiques, gushing over one another’s choices and giving advice freely, as if they’ve known each other for years. Fashion can be a low-stakes way to start a connection.
Given the importance of fashion in relationships, why not engage in these decisions more mindfully?
Instead of heading to your nearest fast-fashion venue, try a secondhand shop. You can find treasures by sifting through racks of clothing, often discovering a designer you’ve never heard of or a pattern that is no longer in circulation. Daydream about the previous wearers or the historical context of a vintage dress. By learning to cherish what has come before, we can make space in our lives for a more conscious mode of consumption.
It’s also admirable to support current designers whose values align with yours. Do your research about the creators of fashion, who are artists and craftsmen in their own right. Many of them value sustainable materials and work hard to produce their garments ethically. These are the designers whose clothes are made lovingly, with an eye for sustainability. To support them is to invest in the future of our world. It’s fashion you can feel good about.
Historical Relevance in Fashion
To us at Pildora, fashion is anything but frivolous. It’s part of the greater history of the world around us, a form of sociology in itself. We’re fascinated by the way the history of fashion continues to have relevance in our lives.
Think about the evolution of gender politics: In the age of suffragettes, a pair of pantaloons signaled a revolutionary movement for women and sparked indignation from those who would hinder progress. In the 1920s, the merest hint of a bare leg began a new awareness of sexuality and power. Post-Depression, padded shoulders made women feel that they had agency and self-determination, even as men around them embraced hyper-masculine tropes.
Clothes also played a large part in the context of wars and political shifts. Culottes signaled a wave of violence in the French Revolution, forever changing world politics. The rise and fall of an entire noble class was bookended by a single pair of pants.
Even now, one’s allegiance to a particular group or movement can be signaled by an item of clothing: dark-colored clothing in the Black Panther movement of the 1960s, pink pussy hats in the post-election fervor of 2016. What do your choices say about the community you belong to? Are you attracted to a certain brand of shoes because you like their philosophy on giving back? Maybe you own a pin or brooch because of a political organization you support?
History can be mapped by connections and disruptions, by people who have separated and come back together. Through it all, we remain consistent in our need for each other and our desire to be seen and heard. To all of us, fashion is a vehicle for that connection, a substantial series of acts and decisions that can, in its best form, lead us right back to one another.
To learn more about the connection we can build with ourselves and others, watch our videos about the sustainability journey: