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Shakaila Forbes-Bell

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During The Sustainable Fashion Forum 2022 conference I joined the conversation about the psychology of fast fashion.

I spoke on what fashion psychology is, the science behind why we buy what we buy, and how fashion psychology can help shift consumer behavior towards sustainability. 

Take a watch below to discover all! 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Alison McGill for Brides to discuss size inclusivity as it relates to wedding attire. As well as the importance of size inclusivity and what it means to me. 

“In the case of bridalwear, stores have to carry more sizes and styles of wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses in-store as samples. This is critical so anyone over a size 12 can try on purpose-designed pieces with their bodies and proportions in mind.”
“For a brand to be size-inclusive, it means that they have adopted ‘design thinking,’ which is a human-centered approach to fashion tackling problems like restrictive beauty standards geared towards size 12s and below. Size inclusivity in clothing options and in promotional images not only allows people to easily imagine themselves in a wedding gown, but it has also been proven to positively shape one’s self-perception.”
“Limited clothing size options might just seem like an inconvenience, but it can have a disastrous effect on body image. This kind of marginalization is easily internalized, causing people to consider their bodies unworthy—subsequently impacting their mental well-being and self-esteem. Growing up watching 90s and early 2000s runway shows made me feel othered as I certainly wasn’t seeing my body type reflected as the pinnacle of high fashion or beauty. This personal experience, plus my research as a fashion psychologist, has made me acutely aware of the positive psychological impact that media representation and size-inclusive offerings can bring.”

Please take a read of the full piece here and hear what other fabulous creatives have to say on the matter.

I conversed with the lovely Amy De Klerk for Harpers Bazaar about navigating society’s obsession with newness and how we can manage shopping thrills with mindfulness practises.

“The need to avoid losses – or what we might refer to as FOMO (fear of missing out) – combined with our ingrained desire for novelty, causes a rush of adrenaline which contributes to the thrill of shopping experiences. The hits of dopamine and adrenaline create a reward-seeking loop that causes us to reach for our debit card over and over again.”
“Despite the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about the impact of their purchase decisions, the thrill of shopping is not something that we can magic away. Like with any experience that creates a reward-seeking loop, the thrill of shopping is something that we all have to manage with both education and mindfulness practices.”
“Taking time before you buy something will ensure that you’re not being swayed by that chemical surge that takes place in anticipation of going shopping. Waiting will allow you to think carefully about if you truly want or even like the item that’s sitting in your basket.”

Please read the full article here.

I was delighted to speak with Charlie Boyd for Porter Magazine on how our jewellery can influence our mood, reflect our identity and empower us every day!

“The jewellery we wear can be a strong signifier of many things beyond our personal tastes. Jewellery can speak to an individual’s wealth, social status, culture and more about their self-identity – therefore, people should definitely consider the meaning behind their jewellery choices, as it’s another way to allow them to embrace their most authentic self.”
“Studies have shown that people prefer objects that are displayed on a shiny surface than those placed on a matte one. Some evolutionary psychologists believe that our attraction to glossy or shiny objects stems from our innate need to seek out water as a valuable resource.”
“The more I became aware of the powerful symbolism of jewellery through my research, the deeper my relationship grew with my own collection.”

Please find the article in full here.

When it comes to New Years Resolutions 60% of us suffer from The False Hope Syndrome. Find out how to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes each year!

Happy New Year! 

We’re two weeks in and for a lot of us, things are pretty much the same as they were two weeks ago.  Same job, same friends, same surroundings. The only difference is that we’ve promised ourselves that 2022 will bring with it a deep and meaningful personal change. We’ll stop smoking, stop splurging, travel more, worry less, eat healthily and pursue our dreams.

Every year 40-50% of Americans and 60-70% of Brits make New Year’s resolutions and unsurprisingly studies show that most of us make the exact same promises to ourselves year in and year out. More specifically, 60% of us suffer from what researchers call The False Hope Syndrome (Polivy & Herman 2002), vowing on average 10 times to keep a resolution we’ve failed at sticking to in previous years. It’s certainly admirable that in the face of certain failure we remain optimistic. We believe that by simply learning from our past mistakes, by making a few changes here and there that we’ll become the person that we’ve always wanted to be.

But what if, instead of engaging in this never-ending cycle of misplaced optimism that we join the percentage of people who actually see their resolutions come to fruition (those people do exist)? Psychology points to 4 main reasons why you’re unable to stick to your resolutions (and how you can fix it!)…2 

1.  Your goals are not Self-Concordant 

Have you ever asked yourself why something had made it to your list of resolutions? The self-concordance of goals reflects the degree to which they are consistent with your own personal developing interests and values.  Say for example you have resolved to learn how to play the guitar this year. Do you want to learn to play the guitar because you genuinely have a passion for it, or is it really because your ex-girlfriend’s obsession with John Mayer was always a sore sport for you? If it’s the latter it’s likely that come summer time, you would have lost your trusty guitar pick and your strings will be collecting dust.

​A study by Deci & Ryan (2000) found that you have little chance of realising your resolutions if your reason for pursing them are:

External:  Because somebody else wants you to do it
Introjected: Because you would feel ashamed, guilty, or anxious if you didn’t.

You’re significantly more likely to achieve your goals if they are self-concordant i.e. if they are:

Identified: It’s something you really believe that it is an important goal to have
Intrinsic: The fun and enjoyment  which  the  goal  will provide is the primary reason for having it and you’re simply interested in the experience itself.

2. Your list of resolutions is all wrong

Many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions because they’re structuring their goals incorrectly. According to researchers Baumeister & Heatherton (1996) and Austin & Vancouver (1996), some of the key mistakes that you’re making with your New Year’s resolution list is that:

You’ve set too many goals – if you’re planning to make 32 major life style changes this year more than likely, come 2018 you’ll find yourself bitterly disappointed. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. Start with 3 resolutions and take it from there, you can always add more to the list as the year progresses.

You’ve set goals that conflict with one another – although it’s clear to most that resolving to save more money this year whilst also resolving to treat yourself to a new wardrobe full of designer pieces doesn’t make sense, we still make the mistake of filling our lists with contradictory goals. Before you commit to any resolutions ensure that they complement one another, this will only bolster your chances of success.

Your goals are set too far in the future – there’s nothing wrong with having a five-year plan but when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions a sure way to ensure success is to make sure that your list consists exclusively of proximal goals – Live in the hear and now!

3. You don’t have an action plan

So, you’ve made your list, you’ve ensured that your resolutions are specific, proximal, complimentary, challenging (yet realistic) and most importantly self-concordant. Now what? Well now you need to develop an action plan. Research into New Year’s resolvers found that people who engage in wishful thinking such as those who think they’ll achieve their goals through a combination of willpower and winging it will most likely fail (Norcross et al., 1989).

​Making the list was the easy part.

​Now you need to plan specifically when you’re going to initiate your goal pursuit and how you’re going maintain your pursuit in the face of obstacles and distractions (Gollwitzer, 1999). Speaking of plans, another reason why you’re not sticking to your resolution is because…

4. You’re not scheduling time to break your resolution

A recent study by Vale, Pieters & Zeelenberg (2015) compared people who had planned moments in which they would deviate from their goal pursuit and people who followed a rigid and strict plan. Essentially people who had cheat days vs those who didn’t. Surprisingly, results found that cheat days can: 

a) Help regain self-regulatory resources
b) Help maintain your motivation to pursue with regulatory tasks, and 
c) Have a positive impact on your mood

This all contributes to facilitate long-term goal-adherence. So, if you want to have that red velvet cupcake its ok, just as long as it’s on a day where you plan to be bad and not in the middle of the night after a day of eating nothing but kale and cayenne pepper. 

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Sound off in the comments below. 

I spoke with Glossy about the psychology behind the elevated loungewear you can wear in the cold. The trend of Skiwear has become the ‘it’ girl uniform, even for people who don’t ski and psychology can explain why.

If nostalgia dressing and comfycore had a baby, it would be dressed in skiwear. Physiologically, the soft layers of skiwear support our growing desire to be comfort-centric. 

Psychologically, the retro styles evoke feelings of nostalgia which has been proven to provide mood-boosting qualities. 

And similarly, the bright neons, metallic fabrics and bold prints of skiwear outfits allow wearers to have fun and treat their outfits like a playground, while speaking to our ingrained desire to stand out from the crowd.

Please have a read of the full article here.

I spoke to Katherine Singh for Refinery29, Canada about how Balaclavas are the perfect mix of all the emerging fashion trends.

“We’ve seen a global adoption of the athleisure uniform this year and people finding themselves getting into the habit of shopping for what makes them feel good rather than what society has deemed conventionally appropriate.”
“Balaclavas are a mix of all the major emerging trends: cosy knitwear, maximalist accessories, and nostalgia dressing.”
“Balaclavas are functional pieces that can be played with to create edgy looks without compromising comfort.”
“Maximalist dressing goes hand-in-hand with this push to dress for yourself and experiment with personal style… This is known as “dopamine dressing. It’s the psychological lift we get from the clothes we wear and speaks to the idea that often what people choose to put on their bodies helps to fulfil an emotional need.” 

Check out the full piece here!

I spoke to Sara Holzman for Marie Claire about how we can use certain clothing pieces to empower and enable us to become who we strive to be!

“We have mental associations with clothing, based on the people who wear these pieces. When we wear the same clothes, we subconsciously embody the traits we associate with those people.”

“The more we wear a piece, the more value it holds, in turn, these pieces take on a life of their own.”

“Virtual life means we haven’t seen each other’s shoes in a long time, but they’re the first thing we see in real life. As we continue to socialise, now is the time to use an incredibly strong shoe to make your mark.”

“Jewellery enables people to inject their creativity into an outfit, a special piece will help you differentiate yourself in a meaningful way.”

Find the full piece here.