First Day’s Fashion Statements and Remarks
by Nikki Ochoa
First days of school are the same old introductions, syllabi, and greeting games. The only factors that seem to change are the short stacks straight out the oven that are referred to as freshman and, of course, the ‘new back to school fashions.’ Actually, that is false. To be accurate, it must be said that sadly, year-to-year those trends are more or less the same supply of cottons, satins and 90% polyester 10% nylon threads from the same ‘coolest’ of stores. Walk into any Urban Outfitters, Active, American Apparel or Forever 21, purchase what’s on the mannequin from plastic neck to ankle, buy the shoes placed where the feet have disappeared, and wha-bam! Hello new wardrobe. Walking out of the security sensitive doors with purchases in hand, you’re a little worried that the buzzer going off is in regards to that shirt they missed when you paid. But you’re glad to see the security guard is too interested in the small space between the changing room wall and curtain that closes it off to notice anything but the activities inside. With half a smile and half repulsion, a last thankful glance is beckoned toward the manufactured model for inspiring a fresh collection of clothes. Hugging the store bag tightly, a daydream materializes about the first day of school. The scene’s setting is school’s first period, with stage directions as follow: slow cool walk into first period with Starbucks in one hand, texting utensil in other, and a breezy ‘I’m still in summer mode’ smile on the face. Pause, glance at peers, bask and breathe in offhand stares as well as admiring gapes from bodies at desks as they admire your garments and aura.
Unfortunately, the production didn’t turn out as well as the director intended. Turns out 20 other girls decided that cowgirl boot chic would be a terrific way to say, ‘I’m different’ in a now commonly accepted way. Rings and gypsy jewelry no longer say, ‘I’m a crazy nomadic woman who will steal your baby and swap it for bread.’ But now carry the tone of, ‘I got this wooden tree bark necklace 50% off of a hundred dollars from Urban Outfitter’s Urban Renewal Line.” Of course now, saying something eco or peace- friendly with your clothes is a craze, but think, are TOMS popular because people care for the poor children’s thorny bleeding feet that will be fitted with a pair of shoes for every pair bought? Or are they simply popular because mindless trend chasers will empty their wallets for a fad. Although it must be said that the irony of the TOMS shoe movement is nothing compared to the beauty of the classic sock and sandal with basketball shorts elegance that so many boys grace our halls with. That fashion statement definitely says, ‘I be ballin’ all day long.’ Very cool guys. The flannel ‘I’m a laid-back lumberjack’ statement also seems to be back for more with girls and boys this season. And of course the ever so ‘steezy’ active screen print t-shirts make their appearance on many males who would like to state simply, ‘Hey, I bought this shirt at Active.’ Very fashion forward.
However delayed or advanced our school may be lies in the hands of the students and what they feel is most important to voice through the subtle yet effect means of fashion. What has been in vogue has always been directly connected to the events of the times. The styles of the roaring twenties was a direct rebellion from years of orthodoxy and traditional often-demeaning values for women. The 60’s style is of course known to represent the ‘free love’ and psychedelic drug induced views of the counter culture. Style is much more than shopping to buy what is ‘popular’ in fact its quite the opposite, this abstract form of history and art is to meant to signify our generation and what we did to the world that was unique to our time on it. Make a statement.