In this day and age, with social media and technology, it seems like fashion comes and goes. Trends seem to disappear faster than one the one before it. However, something that has always remained prevalent in the fashion industry is making a statement with your style. For some, making a fashion statement means defying societal standards, or showing solidarity for a cause, or to attract attention.
Recently, society has been more accepting of fashion statements that would’ve been deemed “ridiculous” just a few years ago. There’s this new found, wide-spread appreciation for fashion statements. Standing out from the crowd and embracing one’s uniqueness is becoming encouraged. It’s a beautiful movement, fueled by self-love, affirmation, and acceptance. Fashion is a way for many to express themselves and share their passions. Here are a few fashion icons who were not afraid to make their bold statements:
In the early 2010’s, Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter, Lady Gaga was known for her unconventional red carpet looks. Her infamous “meat dress” from the 2010 MTV Music Awards gained media attention. Gaga said it was a part of her campaign against the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, a policy about the governmental restrictions on the rights of gay soldiers. When asked about the meaning of the dress in an article by Billboard, Gaga stated, “If we don't stand up for what we believe in, if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones." She’s been very vocal about her support for the LGBTQ+ community. Her out of the box style gets people to talk about her and she uses that platform to speak up for causes she believes in.
Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, better known as AOC, doesn’t mold herself to the idea of what a “professional congresswoman” should look like. She confidently rocks her bright, fiery, red lipstick with gold hoops, which she says is inspired by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Supreme Court. Whenever AOC enters a room, all eyes are on her and everyone is left speechless. She carries herself in a way that commands attention. AOC makes it clear that she’s not there to please others, she’s there to make a statement. Her professional attire doesn’t conform to the dull blue and white of her colleagues. She stands out and she stands proud. She replied to someone’s tweet about her red lips and gold hoops with, “Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.”
Emmy-award winning actor, Billy Porter, never fails to stride down the red carpet in the most beautiful and intricate looks. His looks are jaw-dropping, in the best ways possible. His journey with fashion has been well documented by the media - from wearing black suits to strutting around in the most extravagant ensembles. Arguably his most iconic looks were when he wore a Christian Soriano gown at the 2019 Oscars or The Blonds Bodysuit at the 2019 Met Gala. Those looks screamed fashion. When asked about his style, Porter stated to Insider, "What you're seeing is a human being emboldened by their own self-acceptance who can stand grounded on their own two feet and be authentic."
Rapper, Jaden Smith, and singer and songwriter Harry Styles, have both defied societal standards with their day-to-day fashion style. Smith has publicly said that he enjoyed wearing clothing traditionally created for women, like skirts and dresses. Smith has been criticized in the past for his non-conforming sense of style, but he was not fazed by the criticisms he faced when he was announced as the new face of Louis Vuitton with a photo of him wearing a dress. He continues to wear and dress in the way he feels best for him, despite any comments from critics.
Harry Styles is known for his androgynous style, painting his nails and wearing “feminine clothing.” His style ranges from floral Gucci suits to pearl necklaces that he sports during talk show appearances or on his own live shows. When talking to Vogue UK about how people would tell him an article of clothing was made for a woman, he said, “[It] doesn’t make me want to wear it less though… I think the moment you feel more comfortable with yourself, it all becomes a lot easier.”
The bottom line is, clothing has no rules, no gender, no judgement. Clothing is fashion and fashion is art and art is self-expression. All of these public figures made statements that they feel strongly and passionate about through the works of fashion. Fashion is a language that anyone can speak and when spoken truthfully and passionately, it speaks volumes.