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Wear It Your Way: Fashion and Identity


Choosing what to wear isn't just about finding something you like (though that's always important!); it's about choosing the identity you want to project for the day, the life you want to live. Whether it's something as practical as knowing you need stretchy clothing because you want to hoop later, or as abstract as wearing clothing intended for the other gender to play into stereotypes and popular images of queerness, it's all about what we want to do, and how we want to be seen.


Punk rock emerged in the 1970s, and was a protest against the materialism and excess of mainstream music, and the fashion definitely reflected that; simple pieces, with dirt, rips and spikes added (in contrast to the flashy colours of disco). For women, mixing soft, feminine pieces with heavy, tough pieces (eg leather boots) was incredibly popular.

Circus fashion has always been a mixture of the practical and the spectacular; pieces that would allow performers to move, while drawing the eye. Sequins, glitter, feathers, ruffles anything that could move or sparkle without restricting the performer's movement was ideal. Female circus wear also tends toward the sensual, simply by virtue of how close-fitting costumes needed to be to avoid getting tangled or tripped.

Fashion is a cultural melting pot, and it's important to recognise the difference between inspiration and appropriation. Being inspired by particular styles and ideas and turning them into something simultaneously new and storied is great; stealing from another culture and removing all context is not (eg, it is NOT okay to wear a Native American war bonnet unless belong to that culture and you've earned it according to that culture's rules, end of story). Tribal fusion at its best celebrates the raw, earthy, warrior vibe that runs through the clothing of all indigenous cultures, celebrating without stealing.

To learn more about steampunk, check out our blog post on it; in short, it's the future as it was imagined during the Victorian Era (Steam Age). Female steampunk fashion is just glorious, infusing the style of an era known for its modesty and propriety with pure steel and spunk.



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