Who’s a fashion icon?

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Fashion Talk 263
Knowing how to dress is key. We all know fashion icons — they headline the news, they are on magazine covers everywhere and their faces are regularly featured on every TV show on fashion.

But how do they become fashion and style icons? Easy to answer on the international arena; the fashion icons are the ones sometimes gracing the runways of Paris and Milan and are often quoted for their bits and pieces of advice regarding fashion.

They are the benchmarks of beauty, elegance, style and glamour, attributes embodied in current darlings of the fashion industry like Mary Kate Olsen, the Victoria’s Secret Supermodels or Sarah Jessica Parker, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga. People who have a deeper perspective on what a fashion icon would probably think immediately of the late Katharine Hepburn as she looked in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or the late Marilyn Monroe in her trademark white dress.

But just in general what is a fashion icon?

It is someone who is being constantly talked about because of their fashion statements, a person who gets idolised for expressing themselves differently from the rest by means of fashion.

A fashion icon is one who has dared to change the face of fashion and created a huge impact while doing it. A fashion icon first off, knows all about the latest trends and can recite them by heart even with their eyes closed.

Remember being a fashion icon also means being versatile. Avoid sticking to one particular look or being identified with only one. Take a cue from musician Lady Gaga — people love variety and look forward to seeing her on the red carpet, just to take a gander at what look she came up with.

However, the best thing you can do to be a fashion icon is to be as it really means — be a role model.

Always smile, be confident and don’t forget to mix and match well.

In Zimbabwe, we have the likes of Pokello Nare, Minister Walter Mzembi, Craig Zoowie, Phillip Chiyangwa, Genius Kadungure, Tariro Makanga and Trish Carmen who are making trends in the country. Mind you the list is endless.

The Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend each year crowns best stylist, best icon and best designer of the year.

Some sources say one criteria for the accolades is how much people who are wearing the brand are he or she is on social media. This does not make sense. Take Beyonce Knowles, she is an icon not a fashion icon because credit should go to Versace, Gucci, Prada and Louis Vutton among others. Let us give credit where it is really due.

The Council of Fashion Designers of American announced that singer (and sometimes fashion (“designer”) Rihanna is set to be the recipient of this year’s Style Icon Award.

Steven Kolb, CEO of CFDA, said of the announcement: “We are proud to present Rihanna with the CFDA Fashion Icon Award for her impact on the industry as fashion’s most exciting ambassador in recent memory.”

We’re confused . . . Let’s get one thing straight: We like Rihanna. She’s beautiful. We also think she’s very talented but there are other awards for that; they’re called Grammys.

So is she a “style icon”?

We’re not sure.

Although she wears an array of amazing looks to all of the events she attends, she has a lot of help and that help goes by the name of Mel Ottenberg.

He is Rihanna’s stylist, and he styles everything from her public appearances to her tours.

The key question here seems to be: Just how involved is Rihanna in the curation of her wardrobe? If she is very hands-on, there is a strong argument that she is, in fact, a style icon. Whatever that even means.

If she is presented with looks fully assembled by Ottenberg with little say as to much of anything, we don’t think its outrageous to say she is a fashion model (a hanger for Ottenberg’s creations) and not an “icon”.

Rihanna’s case is the same with most of Zimbabwean celebrities.

So we can safely say the definition of “fashion icon” should stop being so narrow and as inaccessible as it is these days. It should be about more than just wearing the most avant-garde or fresh-off-the-runway looks.

The term “fashion icon” should extend beyond the realm of celebrity. It is important to remember that at its root, the word “icon” refers to the representation of a common symbol. Reverence is implied, but if someone’s style embodies any cultural Zeitgeist, then they can be considered an icon.

Well with today’s fast fashion and fleeting trends, it’s not often that we come across modern day style icons who truly wear clothing the way the ones of the past did. Too often our best assets are now flaunted as opposed to embraced.

The influence of magazines, in addition to social media, heavily dictates what’s in and out of style more so than ever before. Interestingly enough, when we look back to previous decades, there was much more creative expression used to push boundaries and develop the most independent, yet classic, of styles.

Apparently, we have lost sight of a few things in fashion lately.

That being said, amazing personal style doesn’t automatically make your next door neighbour an “icon”, since he or she isn’t publicly known. (Unless, of course, your neighbour is Jenna Lyons or Kim Kardashian or Vanessa Chiyangwa or Barbra Mzembi).

Enjoy your weekend.

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  • ukreporter1

    So … Gaga can be a Fashion Icon in your books but Rihanna ..can’t,,, WOW!!