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Maisie Allum

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We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our tenth instalment, we’re speaking to the founder of @tickover , Bryony Porter. 

Bryony Porter

Bryony Porter (she/her) is a seamster, craftivist and visible mender living on a canal boat in South West England. She enjoys using embroidery as a medium to challenge the fashion industry which exists at the expense of both people and the planet. She spreads awareness by posting her embroidery to her Instagram, @tickover, which has racked up a huge following.

Here’s what Bryony had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

To be honest, clothes more often than not are just clothes to me. The right fit and style can make me feel great. Sometimes I love to dress up in a more vintage 50s style, rarely now-a-days. Sometimes I’m really proud of my repairs and patches, other times I feel very scruffy and wish that I had a fierce wardrobe. Sometimes I want to throw everything out and buy things that my present self would wear, rather than wearing the things I bought years ago and that have been given to me but aren’t really my style… But that’s never going to happen. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

My most treasured item is this vintage 1950s dress, because its the oldest thing that I own. I love the synched in waist and full skirt. Putting it on after lockdown, I realise it needs a bit of letting out and perhaps a dry clean, that and I need to make an occasion to wear it.

I love the idea that it belonged to someone else before me, where did they go? What did they eat in it? Where has it travelled? And hopefully, when I’m done with it, it will intrigue someone else just as much.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

All decisions are political, including what we chose to buy and wear on our body. Since all clothing is made by human hands, every piece in our wardrobe is connected to garment makers all over the world.

Whilst all deserving of equal rights, dignified working conditions and living wages their individual realties are not often shared. Perhaps the individual that made your jumper is protesting against the military coup in Myanmar? That grew the cotton to make your underwear is fighting for farmers’ rights in India. Against union busting in Sri-Lanka, for the Accord to be extended in Bangladesh, against gender-based violence in Lesotho.

Maybe they have lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are struggling to feed their family. Or perhaps they have been displaced by the climate crisis, of which the fashion industry has played an enormous part. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Whilst my living as a seamster is dependent on garment workers and I see a direct transaction between the clothing made by others that I alter and repair and the food on my table this is a shift in perspective that I have learned through the pandemic.

I was privileged to be furloughed during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic for many months and this was highlighted by the stark contrast of my living situation and safety and that of others both that lost jobs and that had to make clothes at detriment to their own wellbeing. The pandemic highlighted the fashion industry as a system that was already broken, like nothing else.

Personally being furloughed gave me the space to do more learning, reflection and “activism” than when I’m working my day job although I was desperate to get back to sewing. Generally I wear a minimal wardrobe and repair the hell out of it, since I was practically living in my pyjamas they gained more repairs than usual. 

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Right now I don’t think that there’s anything that I actually need. I have limited space on my narrowboat for new clothes and can never throw anything away, no matter how old and patched, so getting new clothes comes at the cost of always stubbing my toe on the drawers that stick out from under my bed that I need to force closed. 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our ninth instalment, we’re speaking to CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress, Samata Pattinson.

Samata Pattinson

Samata is a British born Ghanaian entrepreneur working across fashion and media. She is the CEO of sustainable Oscars® design campaign Red Carpet Green Dress, published author of The Fashion Designer’s Resource Book, and founder of THE TRIBE™, a global collective, created for women to empower and celebrate each other. Visit SamataHome.com, a portal for her work, personal style and more to discover all.

“Fashion has always been a second skin to me, I never understand when people say they aren’t involved in it – if you wear clothes, you are involved in it.”

Here’s what Samata had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel enhanced, protected, seen and understood, comforted, dignified, beautiful, sensual and cultured.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

I treasure all my things differently, but right now I would say I am really comfortable in my Rothy’s slippers and a Headwrap. I also love this bag from Maison Eli which features Cowrie beads which are significant in Ghanaian culture – they symbolise destiny and prosperity. It’s hard to pick as I love all the things I have. I feel carefree and light, in them.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

Absolutely, even existing in western society and being able to dress a certain way to show parts of your skin, to wear certain fitted jeans and to be able to walk down the street without that being against the norm – it’s all political in the context of societies we live.

In addition if I decide to wear something that has a bit more of a statement culturally, whether it’s traditional Ghanaian fabrics with those prints, or if I choose to wear my head wrapped up, all of that is in a way a conversation that gives insight into my views on my culture and that is definitely political.

I do think there’s this idea of Soft or Hard politics in fashion and some of these are politics which are an invitation for a conversation, versus perhaps a T-shirt or item of clothing which shows an alignment to a specific political ideology.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

No, I always looked for a story first, I always shopped discerningly and never with real impulse because my mindset completely shifted when I started on my sustainability journey.

From a personal perspective, I was always customising, tailoring and fixing the clothes I had, beyond initally being really selective about what I bought and so on, so it hasn’t really changed me a great deal.

If anything it’s giving me the opportunity to talk to other people about how their relationship with fashion has developed, which has been exciting for me to hear about more people starting and developing their own journeys.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I honestly don’t need anything right now, I’m always open to seeing beautiful pieces of fabric which can be tied as a top or a head wrap or something but right now I don’t have a need. Or a want. If anything it’s something for my 3 year old who is growing like a tree.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that Covid has forced fashion businesses to accelerate their digital transformation. Technology has become more of a necessity than ever before, rather than just something experimental, hence the rise of virtual influencers and models

The computer-generated images (CGI) help to promote products and share fashion content. Brands ask their agencies such as @thediigitals if they can digitally wear their designs, just like real-life models. An example, I’m sure most of you are familiar with is Lil Miquela, who has racked up 3million followers and collabed with many well known brands.

CGI Humans as a marketing Strategie

Virtual Influencers have almost three times more engagement than real influencers now (shocking, I know). Research revealed that consumers’ interaction with digital humans may change the way businesses interact with consumers regarding communication channels.⁠ The findings unveil positive consumer attitudes towards interacting with digital humans. However, it is interesting to note that men were significantly more positive towards their intention to interact with digital humans than women.⁠

So, what effects will virtual models have on consumers?

In the fashion industry, the most common concerns for consumers are what CGI models mean for setting realistic body standards and the overall influence on body image. The negative impact of fashion models on appearance is not new to us. There is already numerous criticism relating to the number of images of models with a slim physique and activists campaigning against the false representation of beauty on social media. There is no wonder that virtual models would have an impact on consumers who desire to possess a thin image and be seen as fashionable. 

Transparency and Authenticity

Now due to the rise of technology we have the most perfect models who don’t even really exist marketing our clothes. So, with authenticity already a big issue wouldn’t you agree CGI models are a step too far? 

 

Shudo Gramm is another famous virtual model, she is based on a barbie doll, the princess of South Africa, instead of a real person. At least when we were younger we knew that Barbie was just a doll, but will younger children think she is real? 

 

A study implied that early exposure to dolls epitomising an unrealistically thin body ideal may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling. So if toy dolls weren’t bad enough, we now have models based on dolls but without really knowing if they are real. 

Virtual Models and Social Comparison

From a psychological perspective, one of the negative consequences of virtual models is social comparison.  Instagram has created a ‘comparison culture’ amongst its users and the lack of transparency of models is a big issue in terms of social comparison. ‘Social Comparison Theory’ suggests individuals drive to evaluate their progress and in the absence of objective standards, people compare themselves to others to know where they stand. 

Women that define self-worth by meeting idealised beauty standards could be more likely to engage in social comparisons. This is because the tendency to base one’s self-worth on appearance often has negative consequences for affect and esteem. It can also negatively influence consumers to engage in behaviour in an attempt to achieve unrealistic beauty standards.

Upward comparisons occur when consumers compare the self, often subconsciously,  with a model’s body as it is perceived to be “better”, but this can lead to negative self-perceptions. 

But, are virtual models really that bad?

With everyone using GCI more often such as Instagram filters and being constantly exposed to retouched models in beauty marketing they can be argued to be just like what we already have. 

Cameron James Wilson, the creator of Shudu said he’s “adding imperfections rather than taking them away, you’ll see more natural imperfections on Shudu’s page than your average influencer.” A Virtual plus-size model with visible stretch marks has also been introduced, Shudu sister, and Lil Miquela has posted displaying her armpit hair. This suggests that using virtual images as a marketing strategy could be used to promote self-acceptance, prosocial emotions and enhance self-esteem. 

Ads are more effective when the physical features of human models match those of consumers, so consumers may be more likely to purchase as the model looks more similar to them. As people prefer brands that are humanised, so basically the more human-looking these nonhumans look, the better. Consumers may think, if even the most perfectly made models have these perceived flaws mine must be accepted?

To sum up, though brands should embrace new technologies that add value for the consumer, they should be wary of the ethical challenges that CGI influencers pose to an industry that should be built on transparency and authenticity. 

I think it’s all about curating your feed, Instagram is said to be one of the most inclusive platforms if we use it properly and limit our exposure to unrealistic beauty standards.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our eighth instalment, we’re speaking to Senior Creative at ASOS, Jess Cheng.

Jess Cheng

Jess is an incredibly talented creative and art director based in London. Originally from Toronto, she now works at ASOS as a Senior Creative. Just like Jess’s bio reads “based on a true story”, she loves to share aspects of her life over at @thejesscheng, capturing moments on film or creating reels with her pals in her spare time. Although the main focus of her gram lies in showcasing her latest fashion pieces, from elevated basics to hot pink satin skirts, she has her audience hooked.

Here’s what Jess had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

When I’m out wearing a good outfit? Confident, in-control, and self-actualised – in the best case scenario. The clothes I wear are something I have total control of, and I always try to dress to make me feel my best.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

I don’t tie much sentimental value to my items, and my wardrobe is always evolving. I do own a gigantic fluffy pink hat that I don’t see myself getting rid of anytime soon.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

One hundred percent. The way you visually present yourself is an instant signifier of your identity, without having to say anything. In the past there was a standard ‘uniform’ people were expected to wear to different occasions (e.g. a suit to work, a white dress on your wedding day), but society nowadays is a lot more accepting of self-expression.

Without getting too deep into the semiotics of fashion, I let certain influences and inspirations shape what I like to wear. My style is quite accessible and practical for use. I do enjoy tapping into trends and changing up my look, and I think that also reflects in my personality as well. I don’t like subtlety or elegance, I gravitate towards bright colours and interesting cuts. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

I’ve always leaned into a comfortable and casual aesthetic, and Covid was just an excuse to add more interesting joggers and sweat sets to my wardrobe! Sneakers over heels, any day!

I want to diversify my wardrobe with some more standout pieces with texture or pattern. I want to get my hands on a vintage LV multicoloured bag or a Charlotte Knowles top.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our seventh instalment, we’re speaking to product Designer and podcaster Stephanie Irwin.

Stephanie Irwin

Stephie (@Stephieirwin) is the host of the Fashion Originators Podcast (@fashionoriginatorspodcast) where she interviews game-changing fashion entrepreneurs.  She distil’s fashion content down to what’s important, creating solutions that are fun, inclusive and data-driven. Alongside podcasting, she is a product designer and associate lecturer at London College of Fashion.

Here’s what Stephie had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing:

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel whatever I want to channel in that given moment – whether its a luxurious black roll neck for coziness,  or a loose fit blazer over jeans so I feel casual yet put together. With time, I’ve learned that great fabric is the most important thing in a piece helping you feel a certain way. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

100% my Acne Studios camel coat. Not only is it a classic that elevates even the most lazy outfits, but it was the first purchase I ever made with my staff discount when I worked at Yoox net a porter! 

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

I think the most political thing one can do with shopping is to avoid fast fashion, take good care of your clothes, and REALLY think before making a purchase. Resell or rent out pieces you don’t wear much.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

100% – I’m far less judgmental of sweatpants!

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I’m in a phase of life where I’m trying to be super sensible with my cash, and only buy things that I could either sell later or keep  forever. I’m eyeing up some Mejuri diamond hoops, but think it will take a few more months of saving before those can happen! 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our sixth instalment, we’re speaking to Fashion Psychologist Dr Dion Terrelonge.

Dion Terrelonge

Dion (thefashionpsychologist_) is a Practitioner Psychologist, interested in the link between personal style, self-expression, and wellbeing. She advocates person-centred styling, drawing on positive psychology, transactional psychology, coaching and Enclothed Cognition. ⁠

Here’s what Dion had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

Clothing makes me feel like myself. Most days I wake up and have a sense of what will best reflect my vibe that day. I’m forever running a couple of minutes late because I’ve not been able to leave the house until I felt comfortable and “right” in what I was wearing; what that outfit may be differs day to day and isn’t as simple for me as wanting to wear bright colours if I’m in a lively mood.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

Two items come to mind. The first is the bridesmaids dress I wore for my sister’s wedding. At the time I wasn’t the biggest fan because it was pink and a bit froofy, but on that day I felt very close to her and was able to be the type of big sister I had been wanting to be as we weren’t as close as I would have liked. I remember being in that dress and holding up the train of her wedding dress while she did the Candy dance (if you know, you know). She passed away a few years back and that pink froofy dress reminds me of that day; when things were good.

The second item is an ex’s jumper; it’s dark blue and super soft. I went to do some voluntary work in Bali in 2019 and took it with me in lieu of a comfort blanket. If I feel down or anxious, wearing that jumper brings me comfort because I know it belonged to and was given to me by a friend who was and is massively supportive. It makes me feel safe.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

I don’t know about political but I do use clothes to be a little socially defiant at times. As an academic, as a doctor, as a psychologist people presume and expect you to look, speak and dress a certain way and I do not meet many of those preconceived notions. While I was studying I dressed more conservatively and in line with course mates in an effort to blend in and hide my blackness, which might be viewed as an indicator of not being right for the profession or good enough.

So, I used clothes to tone down my blackness and working class roots in a hope that it wouldn’t be all people saw of me and therefore would leave more space for my voice to be heard and my capability to be seen. But when I graduated and I got that certificate that said Doctorate, I cornrowed my hair and went into work wearing my own version of what I deemed as professional looking.

I stopped caring about the opinions of others because I had a certificate that said I was competent, and I was good enough. It’s a shame that it took a piece of paper to do that, but we black women in particular struggle massively from imposter syndrome and society does not help.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Well somehow magically, the pandemic has made all of my clothes shrink. No idea what happened there. It hasn’t changed my general relationship with the clothes I already own but it has changed my relationship with buying. Prior to the pandemic I was trying to be more sustainable in my approach, but the lockdowns really gave me time to be still and really take in how many clothes I already have.

During the pandemic I bought very little clothes wise; I just didn’t see the need. I think the pandemic gave many of us time and space for social issues to really percolate and become actively embedded in our consciousnesses. Now I try to only buy what I need, not just want and ensure that the item can be worn with other things to increase the life wear of other items in my wardrobe also.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Like I said my shopping behaviours have waned greatly. What I am on the look out for is a medium sized cross body bag that can be worn out to nicer places but also just to the farmers market. I find it hard to leave home without feeling prepared for every possible eventuality, so I tend to carry a tote bag stuffed to the brim. I would love a crocodile skin pattern bag that’s big enough to carry my most important leave-home item, a book – oh and my keys. I don’t understand the trend for these super tiny bags; I’d feel prepared for nothing with that 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our fifth instalment, we’re speaking to sustainable style blogger and stylist Rosette Ale.

Rosette Ale

Rosette (@thriftqueenlola) is a sustainable style blogger and stylist who loves sharing thrifty style inspiration and tips as a secondhand clothing enthusiast. Her love for fashion and environmental interest lead to the birth of @revivalldn, a slow fashion reconstruction brand specialising in the repurposing of textile waste. Revival aims to propose a new way of thinking about clothes, opening the consumer’s eyes to the potential of their unworn and (about to be) discarded garments.

Here’s what Rosette had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel eccentric, bold and confident; I’m a lover of bright colours and bold prints as I love to stand out! Also, I buy a lot of secondhand/vintage so these make me feel unique abs special as (usually) no one has the same item.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

A vintage jacket I bought about 10 years ago! I think it’s the oldest time I own and it any favourite thing ever. The print is so 90s and unique and it feels like it’s made from duvet type of material which is kinda strange but I love it!

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

In some ways yes I do. I use clothes as a form of self expression so they reflect who I am (the different layers of my personality) and also what I want the world to see/know about me. But also I am not my clothes, I am so much more than that; my clothes just give you a sneak peak!

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Slightly but not massively. I had a wardrobe clear out in the first lockdown and it felt so refreshing but instead of giving them to charity like I usually would, I actually took some time out to revamp and rework some items. Also, the pandemic really showed me how much I love charity shops and I’ve missed them so much!

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I don’t have plans to buy anything at the moment but as soon as the charity shops open, I’m going to have a good browse. Spring/Summer is my fave season so hopefully I can find some nice bright pieces!

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our third instalment, we’ll be speaking to fashion designer Richard Kolapo. 

Richard Kolapo

Richard is a designer and pattern cutter at Euler after studying Menswear fashion design at London College of Fashion. 

Here’s what Richard had to say when we asked him about his relationship with clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

They make me feel accomplished mainly, sometimes sexy, at other times unique, stylish or cosy.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

DEM Pantz by @bamboorazaq– they are the original samples. I think the mere fact I named them Dem Pantz brings me joy. I called them this on a whim.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

Yes, now I think about it. They exhibit my understanding and appreciation of different women’s skin tones, body shapes and forms of beauty.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Yes, I thought more about the psychology of how people will navigate lockdown in terms of spending, what they would like to buy generally and what they might appreciate most from me.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I’m planning on buying more underwear as I cut many pairs up to help make patterns for some lingerie I’m trying to develop.

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our second instalment, we’ll be speaking to founder and influencer Charlotte Williams

Charlotte Williams

Charlotte is the Founder of @sevensixagency which specialises in building unique brand marketing approaches, it runs influencer partnerships and management division with the aim to amplify the visibility of the most interesting yet overlooked content creators. She is also co-host of @sustainablyinfluenced, a podcast centred on discussions about ethical consumerism.

Here’s what Charlotte had to say when we asked her about her relationship with clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

Depending on the outfit my clothes can make me feel so many different things. If I am feeling anxious, sad or uncomfortable in my skin certain loungewear or PJs can leave me feeling comforted, supported and relaxed. Whereas, certain dresses can make me feel happy and excited. It depends on the material, texture and history behind the piece. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

I weirdly don’t have any pieces I treasure more than others. I love all my clothes individually and everything I own excites me, even down to my pyjamas! 

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

I feel like I wear clothes that make me look and feel good. My style is colourful but also quite classic and is perhaps reflective of my personality. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

I have spent the majority of the last year wearing loungewear, which is very out of character for me. I’ve recently made an effort to wear some of my favourite or more expensive/dressy pieces on a regular basis so they get worn rather than just sitting in my wardrobe like they are on display in a museum.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Nothing, I actually don’t need anything and have so many pieces I haven’t worn in a long time so am just excited for the weather to warm up so I can get rotate my wardrobe.

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.