The Bigger Picture

   At its core, fashion is intrinsically linked to aesthetics and the external appearance of the body. Fashion can affect the way you present yourself to the world and the way you feel about yourself. It has the ability to improve self esteem and to destroy it through the use of colour, construction, sizing and silhouette. Depending on the way something is constructed, a garment can conceal certain areas of the body and enhance others giving the illusion of a more ‘desirable’ silhouette. The clothes you wear are also a direct projection to the world of how you feel internally and can be a clear indicator of how an individual regards themselves. We often assume that those who wear baggy clothes have something to hide and those dressed in tight form fitting clothes possess a high level of self confidence.

   It is not a secret that the current fashion industry idolises a certain body shape and facial structure, with most models having a UK dress size of around 4-6 which contrasts hugely with the national average of a size 16. These unrealistic body dimensions are plastered across campaigns on all media platforms and can create huge insecurities within the population. When we are constantly given an ‘ideal’ example of the perfect man or woman, it is not a surprise that people try to fit the mould. Our society is governed by aesthetics; recent studies suggest that men who are deemed good-looking earn approximately twenty-two percent more than someone with ‘average or below average looks’ carrying out an identical job. Those who are considered conventionally beautiful are placed on a pedestal and rewarded for nothing more than good genes.

    In some respects fashion could be seen as a less drastic form of body alteration, with the results only being temporary. In some respects fashion promotes individuality and freedom and yet we continue to conform to slender silhouettes, flawless skin and sharp cheekbones. With such an impressionable population, the image the industry puts out is possibly sending many people on a route of self destruction.

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