One of my favourite interviews latetly was one I did with the lovely Faran Krentcil for The Newsette. I spoke about a question I get asked a lot ‘how did you get into Fashion Psychology’. When I stop and think, this was really something that was on the cards for me for a while. Ever since I was stressing the hell out about whether to study fashion design or psychology and my mum simply said ‘do both’ I never looked back. I’m loving being part of a growing community of fashion psychologists and can’t wait until everyone and their grandad knows exactly what Fashion psychology is!

Here are a couple of questions from the interview:

How did you get your job?

“I studied psychology at University College London. Because they’re so rigorous in their program, they wanted to push everyone into clinical psychology, which is very traditional. But I found myself leaning towards social psychology, asking, “Why do people do what they do in certain environments? How can we understand people’s behavior depending on their social scene?” Plus, even though I was studying psych, I was so obsessed with fashion. From a very young age, my mum and I would make clothes for my dolls. As much of a nerd as I was at school—and believe me, I was a real nerd!—it was a real toss-up between becoming a psychologist and a fashion designer. But I thought psychology was a “safer” career path at first.”

Can fashion psychology help us become more sustainable?

“Oh, definitely… You know, when I was in school, I knew sustainable labels were important but I had 2 big barriers: I couldn’t afford most of it—no matter how much I love Stella McCartney!—and I’m a curvier woman, so fit was so important, and not always available in my size. I wanted to understand a different way to be sustainable, which is how I found “mindful shopping.” You take purchasing something a bit more seriously. You ask, “How does this make me feel? What do I want it for? How will I wear it? Does it have a short shelf life? Do I agree with what this brand stands for? Do I love how it feels?” And by engaging in that kind of shopping, you’re being more sustainable, too, because you’re more likely to re-wear and even repair something with an emotional connection. That’s been proven.”

Author

Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a Fashion Psychologist and writer who has been featured in Marie Claire UK, i-D, Who What Wear, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Fashion Bomb Daily, The Voice Newspaper, Gal-Dem, Black Matters US and more.

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