Fashion and Culture Kinship

Winter ABC 2021: Day 18

Fashion is an illustration of culture and an innovator of societal progression. Fashion trends determined human rights movements with radical fashion statements. The greatest weapon for the contemporary woman is the transformative nature of fashion. It implicates power dynamics in every form and structure in interpersonal relationships of different communities. A non-verbal protest and declaration of certain philosophies and ethnicities.  

An essential piece of clothing that as become a part of us is the face mask. The facemask has been incorporated into our lifestyle as a symbol of the times that we are living in. Symbolic interactionism that marks a historical point of living during a global pandemic. The face mask transitioned from medical protective wear for medical persons to mandatory medically prescribed protective wear for everyone. It draws out the history of the Spanish Flu pandemic that wiped a third of the world’s population in 1918-1920. While reverting to the current era of Covid-19 pandemic culture of masking up. The creative industry is capitalizing on the facemask culture by converting it into a fashion accessory. Face masks and shields are coming in different designs, the Naruto trademark mask for anime lovers, subzero masks for Mortal Kombat fans, bedazzled masks with fashion forward fabric for high end fashionistas, designer masks, branded masks for campaigns & marketing, and animated face shields for children. The facemask is not only protective wear but trending fashion wear doubles as symbol for the of Covid-19 global pandemic era.  

Fashion Forward Facemasks

Fashion represents the political and cultural ideals of a community. In the 90s women were more reserved and repressed by the systematic iron hand of patriarchy. It marked the dark times of peak male domination. In Zimbabwe, women where sexually harassed in the streets for wearing tight clothing or trousers. Fashion inclined on baggy clothes, long skirts and dresses. The rise of the feminist movement advocated for the rights of women to dress however they want. Today there is a more daring, liberated fashion sense that reflects an empowered woman and a changing enlightened society.

 African statesmanship was marked by what is known as the Kenneth Kaunda suit. A safari two-piece suit worn by most of the first African presidents. A trend inspired by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh who engaged in African expeditions to reconcile former British colonies and Britain on equal footing. He assisted in creating the Commonwealth group of nations. This safari suit was the pan-Africanist uniform which became Kenneth Kaunda’s trademark wear. It marked an era of the beginning of African statesmanship and pan-Africanist influences.

Robert Mugabe, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda clad in the Pan-African trademark uniform.

Fashion is an integral part of the society that defines the different demographical attitudes. Capitalism thrives on the fashion industry creating branches of entrepreneurial routes, propelling the modelling culture, high-end chic publications and digital media. The biggest player in the commercial world that is relevant to world economy. With a lucrative designer and consumer balance. The chief pacesetter of global trends and cultural identity.  Africans celebrating ethnicities through our traditional outfits and accessories.  Fashion is the manifestation of culture.

Contemporary African Outfit.

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