DEMOCRATIZE FASHION

It is the end of a dreadful year. But, despite the ultra-lows, there is one high: my first year anniversary at Perime Magazine. Recently, I’ve spent time looking through my articles and reflecting on how I’ve chosen these topics. Many of them aligned with “real life”–all of its chaos and all of its moments in fashion. It was nice to see how many stories covered a large idea, and gave light to many perspectives. But still that doesn’t cover the purpose of nearly a dozen articles, which eventually sparked my next topic. 

While discovering these things about myself, it got me thinking about how I’ve used this platform to represent the magazine. We’re all about “democratizing fashion,” which is actually our slogan; and yet we all write so differently, about a wide variety of topics. But in the end we all maintain the same goal. So how have I used my words to democratize fashion? Am I doing it justice? Or am I blabbering? To get started, I asked my fellow Perime mates how they felt they’ve democratized fashion through their work. Starting with: 

John: To me, the most important part of democratizing fashion is giving a platform to a diverse range of creative perspectives in the fashion community. Creating a symbiotic relationships between a diversified range of fashion gatekeepers, like magazine editors, and creatives, plays an important role in stimulating more creative growth in different areas as the promotion of queer designers or artists generates income for them to create more. As a queer person, I think it’s important to represent the queer community in the fashion industry. Even in Boston, there are so many talented and innovative queer creators–giving them a platform to promote their work is my contribution to democratizing fashion.

Maddie: My articles are mostly focused on individuals or movements in pop culture that have had huge impacts on the fashion world, and by extension, society as a whole. To me, democratizing fashion means writing so that anyone, with or without my knowledge on the industry, can engage and hopefully come away having learned something interesting. I choose topics that I want to research and learn about, and I aim to show that fashion cannot be isolated, as it is connected and influential to everyone and everything going on in the world. Also, I just really like clothes. 

Grace: To democratize fashion means to give alternative lens and point of view to the realm of fashion, giving voices to those who participate in it everyday but may not have the luxury to make their voice heard. With my articles, I hope to bring a fresh, poignant take on the fashion industry with equal doses of curiosity and criticism, all while giving light to fashion’s relationships with feminism, cultural style figures and vintage galore. 

Jamie: Before joining this team, my knowledge on all things fashion was essentially nonexistent. I write with the intention to better my own understanding on how fashion interacts with society. The topics I research and the articles I write are as much for myself as they are for others in similar standing: those who know nothing but are infinitely fascinated and eager to learn.

Hamza: When it comes to democratizing fashion, I still think I have some ways to go. However, I do believe that I am constantly being influenced by our fellow writers here at Perime, which allows me to look at the bigger picture. I am a big fan of ADL and Noah, but those brands do not align with the idea of fashion democratization (although Noah might pretend it does with its campaigns). Some of my favorite articles written at Perime were the ones where I break down these brands and funneled interpretations of fashion. The targeted audience and behavior of these brands play a large role in upholding their elitism, which makes it inevitably harder to bring these brands down and make them socially cautious. This is a topic I hope to dive deeper into with the help of everyone on the team.

Ian: Democratizing fashion has to begin with seeking and promoting knowledge, and then communicating that knowledge in an accessible way. With my writing, I not only engage with information from the fashion industry, but also reference concepts as broad as economic psychology, anthropocentrism, and epistemic justification. I cover a range of topics, but I always build off of my previous thoughts to flesh out my overall perspective. It’s really all about continuing to zoom out to try to to contextualize the topic at hand. 

Nic: I democratize fashion by connecting something with deep cultural or artistic significance to a trend everyday people are aware of. 

Tovya: Democratizing fashion means making fashion accessible, but not to everyone. Not everyone can get a custom Mugler (despite what Fashion Nova has to say about it), as not everyone should; it’s a custom. Democratizing fashion acknowledges these boundaries. It also acknowledges clean resources, work environments, and laws protecting the people who create our clothing.

Theo: I democratize fashion through my writing by creating articles that can be enjoyed by all sorts of people. When we started this magazine, we wanted to create stuff that fashion beginners and fashion experts alike wanted to read, and I think having something for everybody is a pretty effective way to “democratize”.

Tudor: I believe everybody should be able to talk about any topic within fashion if they have the knowledge and analysis to back up their opinions, and they should do so in a way that is understandable to everyone. As the general editor I democratize fashion by ensuring the writers accomplish just that at every step of an article’s evolution from idea to publishing, but I surely wouldn’t be able to do so if I wasn’t surrounded by such an amazing team!

An overall consensus of what democratizing fashion means from the members above is essentially creating an even playing field in fashion. All voices in fashion should be heard and all aspects of fashion should be translated in such a way that is inviting to everyone. Yet, we still aim to respect and acknowledge the boundaries in fashion. Because of it, we are able to represent the multiple facets of this industry, all while falling in line towards a singular mission.

In general, when it comes to how I’ve written this year, there seemed to be a bit of everything. I love womens’ fashion and modeling, so I was interested in writing about its evolution and staple fashion changes. These were topics that I not only was knowledgeable about, but felt were topics that would engage the public. Because they are more prominent topics in fashion, a lot of people have a better idea of what’s going on within it as compared to other topics. I enjoyed challenging myself with deeper stories that allowed me to research and analyze interpersonal relationships in fashion. There were conversations, such as A Fashion Cycle, that observed younger creators and their significant impact on established brands. From a story like that, I was able to give voice to the unheard, and shed light on not only the situation but the creatives’ work as well. They are the vision behind so many of the things we claim to love, and as a young creative I was honored to write it. Lastly, there were stories that were very personal to me, the ones that pertain to my culture. Black and hip hop culture are the two topics I covered the most. Their influence is too deep in fashion to ignore, and so much of the things we enjoy wearing come from their hype. While we do know democratizing fashion includes giving a voice to all levels of fashion, how we’ve gotten to that point is barely spoken about. This mission of democratizing fashion exists partly to derail deeper systematic biases, such as financial, racial, or societal prejudices that block so many from being as successful as their richer (and whiter) counterparts. Without covering this idea specifically, I still was able to highlight the heavy influences this culture has in high fashion, society and trends. Being able to discuss elements of this culture, such as durags, rap influence in designer brands, or champion strides in fashion such as Telfar, allowed me to examine how these classist/racial biases and their origins can obstruct the rightful acknowledgement of black success. 

It’s a big deal to be able to champion and celebrate our thoughts, and many take it for granted. This is why it was important to ask those around me how they felt about their own work. Not necessarily because of the question asked, but just so they can scroll through their own articles like I did, and try to understand why we write about what we write. I see the Perime Vanguard, Perime Pirate and the Perime Curator through everyone’s work, because we are not just one single thought or voice, but many. I have done my work justice, and my fellow Perimembers (I just made that up) have too. When looking towards the future, I hope to continue to bring the mezzanine to the forefront, because they deserve it. 

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