Fashion and Intellect: Contrary or Cooperative?
If you're someone like me, who clearly has a big interest in fashion but was always afraid of acknowledging it because of the fear of being seen as a person with the shallow interests, I have something to tell you.
Growing up in a small town in Eastern Europe I was not exposed to the world's trends in fashion much. Usually it would be an open market full of Made in China cheap finds that were a guide to the fashion world for me. That's why next time you see an Eastern European woman whose style extremely astonishes you (if you know what I mean) remember that she's grown up being told it was cool, it's in the blood, and not everyone can fight their genes.
As I was growing, my interest in fashion grew with me. Unfortunately for me, we could only afford one pair of jeans a year, usually before starting a new school year. We would only buy something practical: pants that match everything, shirt that can be worn to school and out, black boots that fit with every other thing in your closet.
If you ever think of USSR, you probably think of people in identical uniforms. Well, since the USSR has fallen, not much has changed. People still love to wear the same things as everyone else.
Figurative stats that prove it:
2008 - Pants of the brightest colors with chess print, 87% of the population of my hometown is wearing it not including me.
2010 - Leather texture leggings, 95% of the population of my hometown is wearing it including me.
In my case, being a bookworm and an art student as well as a school superstar who sang, danced and performed at every school concert, I always lived in these two worlds which helped me to express myself in different ways, without the need to also express myself through clothing. It seemed too cliché for me to say that I loved fashion, I didn't want to seem a Typical Girl (the type that is very well described in Legally Blond before she actually proves that she can be both Barbie doll and lawyer).
It was probably my take on feminism before knowing this term at all. In my mind, fashion was a joke industry that did not carry any intellectual value, so everyone who had interest in it automatically was devalued too.
But something wasn't working with this logic, and it took me awhile to discover that you can be both highly educated and an intelligent person and have a great interest in fashion. You don't have to sacrifice one for another.
And this is my new take on feminism I think. Fashion is just one segment of our life, it doesn't have a gender and it doesn't make you less of a smart person. It is another way to train your creativity and express yourself that can enrich your life if used mindfully.
It is funny for me to say this now, but when I got into photography, I declared that I am not going to pursue fashion photography. Over time I came to the realization that it's a genre that allows me to express my artistic personality. Fashion photography allows me to deliver a deeper message in a visually appealing form that, for me, wouldn't be possible in any other genre of photography.
I can speak about social, political and ethical problems in more sincere and abstract language that is, in my opinion, more revealing and louder than words.
Fashion is never about clothing, it has never been about that. It's an art that transforms into something practical that we adopt to our lives. It should never be about the price or a tag, it is about the style and message that you want to deliver. And even in a place of all Made In Chine cheap finds, you can still use fashion to tell your own story.
So if you want to read works of Hawking while wearing those millennial pink culottes with navy blue suede mules, please do so and send me a picture of you doing it.
Editorial for Dorohin's Magazine with Miss Ukraine Universe 2015 Anna Vergelskaya.
Photography by Bogdana Ferguson
Makeup by Kate Danily