Tafadzwa Zimoyo Fashion Talk 263
Growing up, we were told that relationships should be like a pair of trousers and a belt; with the two parties involved ever intertwined and inseparable. In fashion it is actually the shoes and the belt that should not be allowed to divorce each other, you have been told over and over again. It is
your socks that the pants must always be matched with.
But who makes the rule and where do they derive the power?
Most of us are not sure who ever made these rules. Is it about your employer like school heads are so socialised into the formal look that some retired heads still wear suits and ties to sun themselves all day?
“Rules” are just guides to current fashion form and not the holy gospel. Think of the famous “Tezvara” who wore a short at his daughter’s wedding last year and became an instant meme hit on social media. He decided to go against the grain and do exactly as he wished and behold, the wedding went on and they all lived happily ever after.
As trends are constantly evolving and changing at a faster rate than ever, there is one thing we can be sure of when it comes to fashion — rules were meant to be broken. But power remains the same so we tend to follow trend-setters in breaking the rules to make new ones.
But there is more room than ever for individual style. We are in the new era in fashion — there are no rules.
Top designer Alexander McQueen, once said it’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.
Fashion and “Power’’ is a subject as well-trodden as it is open to new interpretations.
Dress, we know, can be a powerful weapon of control and dominance but it can also be both revolutionary and empowering.
The power of fashion is of course integral to identity and body politics, but today it is as important in terms of global economy, nationhood and celebrity culture as well as in all practices aiming to subvert the status quo.
In contemporary consumer culture the link between power, social discipline, conformity and fashion is often so entrenched that existing norms are beyond our taste, causing us to often regulate and control ourselves without any deliberate oppression from others.
Let us then explore on what you risk when you deviate from the norm and what you gain from following the beaten path, but we also examine the consequences of a system that doesn’t encourage opposition.
We have looked at how the politics of the fashion system allow power relations to be built and maintained, why it is so hard to be critical in fashion and who gains from the industry’s rigid and static power structure?
Seeing as fashion is often described as a mirror of our culture, we have been curious to better understand how the demonstrations of power within the fashion industry are displayed and why so few today appear to challenge them.
In Zimbabwe, the fashion industry, to those both inside and out, is a place full of smoke and mirrors that can often be as confusing as it is annoying.
As much as fashion itself can act as a support to allow us to present an idealised version of ourselves to the world, so the fashion industry is keen to conceal its flaws.
Everything is fabulous. Just dress for your self.
Let’s us look at rules then.
How many times have you gotten dressed, looked in the mirror and said ‘Something looks “off” here?
It might simply be a matter of proportions.
Proportion is the framework with which we build our outfits, consciously or not.
And the relative proportion of colour or design elements can make or break a look.
A balanced one-to-one ratio can be dull or boring. Unbalanced proportions are much more interesting and pleasing to look at.
As you put items together, think in terms of dividing your overall look into thirds rather than halves or quarters:
Combine items that are uneven in proportion to each other: Instead of two items that are the same length, look for a long and a shorter garment to put together.
There is also a new trend in men and women who are seen wearing bright coloured socks which stick out in flashing contrast to the rest of the outfit.
Recently gospel rapper Mudiwa Mtandwa wore the look and it didn’t go down well with some fashion analysts. So do we call him trendy or misguided?
Well, to pull that look you definitely need to be a risk taker otherwise you will end up being labelled a clown.
The colour of your sock should match the colour of your trousers — that is the golden rule but alas it can be broken.
That means wearing black socks with black trousers, dark gray socks with charcoal trousers, blue socks with your blue jeans, and so on.
Yeah, it’s a good rule that keeps most men looking sharp and will always be appropriate for business settings — but for adventurous dressers, it gets dull after a while.
However, this new trend requires a little more care, because it’s not a simple, neutral choice, but if you take that care it can look great.
Remember to know your power and rule in fashion but don’t mix the two.
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