What Corona taught us about fashion

Written by Nsimire Karekezi

It all started with Corona

With Corona virus hitting 2020, fashion took a shift that no one really expected just like everything else that was affected by corona.

The world shuts down and we found ourselves spending more time indoors in our PJs and Sunday’s outfits and suddenly it didn’t matter what we were wearing because we weren’t going out anytime soon.


It gave people the opportunity to go back to their closest and create refreshing looks from old clothes. People started to be more creative and that was visible on Instagram.


Met Gala was canceled and some of us were wondering if we ever will share our enthusiasm with our fellow fashion lovers. However, Fairy Godfather Billy Porter encouraging people to recreate their favorite look from the events and #metgalachallenge. This also became a playground for all the creative kids out there and suddenly Instagram was a fun place to be.


Another noticeable thing was the fact that big brands were being forced to think more creatively to on how to showcase the new up and coming collection. While small brands where living off their creativity of showing their latest collection. Let’s face it corona or no corona being creative on how to showcase your creation comes with the job description when you aren’t a household name yet.


One brand that I was so impressed by was a Congolese fashion designer that goes by the name Hanifa. She launched a collection named PinkLabelCongo and made it digital with 3-D models. I was mind blown by the idea and the clothes were absolutely gorgeous.



I was left in awe. You could sense that she had put thought into it. The silhouette, the movement of the pieces and the fabrics was to die for even though I hadn’t touched it, I could just tell by the looks of it, because of the way the lights were hitting them.  The whole show was live on Instagram and I couldn’t help but listing all the items I was going to buy, even though I wasn’t going to any festivities anytime soon. Let me just say it was revolutionary and she most defiantly paved the way for digital fashion shows.

 

Fashion politics

While we were dwelling on corona, some of us were also affected by the injustice that were happening in the US, yes, I’m talking about an innocent man dying in the arms of those who are supposed to protect we the people.

                                                            

It started a movement that a lot of people were too quick to follow without proper supporting. Amongst them were a couple of household names that wanted to feel relevant by posting a black square showing their support.  Knowing very well that “raising awareness” and supporting the black lives matter movement was performative and a way of making sure not to lose any of the clients. There were so many other options to what they could have done to show that they stand in solidarity with black people but instead they posted a black square.


A lady by the name Sharon Chuter, raised awareness on these brands pretending to be allies. But taking a closer look, you’d find out that some of them didn’t have any diversity within the team. She simply created an Instagram account with the @pullupforchange telling big brands that black people appreciated the support, but they needed more than just a public support, they need a statement that stated the numbers of black employees within the company.


This helped me to do my research before I invest in some of the high-end brands. This led also to most black people embark the journey of investing in bands that were created by black people and it was so beautiful to witness.  Even Beyonce was out there putting light on black brands and believe me, there is a lot of creativity that is waiting to be discovered.


What we’ve learned

During all of this period I personally learned to stop being a consumer and start investing in sustainability.  I shop different now and I no longer need to follow the latest trend or “fast fashion” as they call it. I’ve mastered how to put things together and create a new fresh look with what has been hiding in my closet. One can still look brand new with their old rags, and one way to do that is by investing in pieces that will last you for a while and also to understand your personal sense of style. Having an understanding of who you are and what you stand for is very much mirrored in your way of dressing, which is why it is important to keep on investing time in who you are. And fashion will follow.


2020 has taught us a lot of things and fashion was defiantly one of them, one of the things being that fashion do help us to define ourselves, but it shouldn’t be the alpha and omega of our lives.  It also taught us that we as the consumers actually are the ones to define fashion and we are the ones who create traffic, as to why we should demand quality instead of mass production and most importantly we should demand diversity and representation. It is our money after all!  

All of this leaves me wondering how fashion is going to evolve the next 10 years.

And I will leave you with a question: “What did you learn about yourself and fashion? Now that the world gave you the opportunity to really slow down and rethink every aspect of your life”

 
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