Fashion is never just fashion. What we wear tells the story of who we are, where we come from and how we feel. Take a look at African beadwork for example: Admired for its intricate designs, patterns and colour combinations, the jewellery has fast become a huge part of contemporary Western Fashion. However, the cultural and historical significance belonging to the beads and the hands that weave them contain a far deeper story and message.
We have already established that clothes are never just clothes. They’re threaded with meaning and reflect our identities. We all have a relationship with the clothes we wear, whether we like it or realise it or not.
At a basic level, we need them to serve the primary function of covering our bodies, but the choice of materials and styles we choose to fulfill this purpose goes far deeper. The decision to wear what we wear is embedded in our psyche.
I am fascinated with this latter reason for dressing and so I decided to take advantage of the diversity of styles that inhabits Rhodes University’s campus and go find out what students wear and why they wear it.
I asked eight students to describe their personal style and explain why they wear the clothes they wear, and here’s what they said:
Photos: Jade le Roux
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer; I was a writer. Writing and story-telling came almost as naturally to me as breathing. I wrote everything down. Lists of everything and anything, words to songs I liked, even poems and stories and my own philosophical theories.
The other day I came across one of my four-year-old philosophical scribbles. My aunt had kept it safe in her diary for all these years, and hurled it out as ammunition for my 21st birthday party. The embarrassingly cute scrap of paper, messily scribbled in my just-learnt-to-write handwriting, contained quite profound views for a four-year-old on how freedom comes from self-acceptance (put in more plainer terms though), but more profoundly it held evidence of an innocent young mind trying to, through the medium of the written word, make sense of this conflicted world around her and where she fits into it.