We started last week looking sharp; Eda wore her Ruby Woo lipstick and Brian wore his expensive floral tie. Now, as we write this in Level 4 lockdown, the baggy jeans have come out along with the hideous puffers, and our pyjamas are having their time to shine once again.
Never fear though! Us here at Craccum, through a mixture of grit and contractual obligation, have soldiered on to bring you a stellar Fashion issue. This edition has undoubtedly been one of the most successful at engaging students (all done before the lockdown, that is). Because everyone wears clothes, everyone knows how it feels to have put on that item that made you feel badass, and also to have been once bullied for wearing your older sibling’s hand-me-downs.
Beyond this, we have also looked for the stories where culture and identity underpin fashion. How has expression of queerness in fashion been perceived? What subconscious influence does sexualisation have on fashion? As with many stories on identity, the narrative is not entirely positive. However, what is undoubtedly positive is being able to grow discussion amongst communities, and widen perspectives.
While fashion is an expression of identity, there is the potential for it to be cheapened or exploited—for instance, with cultural appropriation and microtrends: both a demonstration of inequitable power between cultures and class. Victoria Nicoll analyses how social media has assisted with constructing the power and social capital of clothing trends and speeding up the cycle of fashion production, consumption and disposal.
The desire to stay socially relevant however, comes at an expense of exploiting workers and resources from developing societies. Many students are cognisant of this reality and are taking it upon themselves to revolutionise the fashion cycle. We went around campus and photographed students’ outfits and found many students cherished their second hand items. With that being said though, students, who have low incomes and high debt, should not be to blame for dressing in cheap fashion when that is what can be afforded.
DIY fashion is one way to circumvent this, while attributing personal value and identity to the wearer’s collection. While we tried to capture its sentiment in this week’s Craccum, we’re not sure if Maddy and Naomii’s rookie attempts at sewing immediately match up to something straight off the mannequin…
But talking about experimenting, University liberates us from high school uniforms and for some, it’s the first time in our lives we can reinvent our presentation and continually do so as we meet new people and go to new classes. Just like the act of shedding our toxic friends from high school, it allows presenting a more authentic version of ourselves.
And to cap it all off, the piece that no one asked for but we’re giving you anyways, Lachlan Mitchell is ranking David Bain’s best sweater selections.
So yeah, I reckon you could say we’ve got a pretty killer fashion issue for you.
Yours stylishly, Brian Gu (he/him) & Eda Tang (she/her)
Co-editors of Craccum 2021