Tara Orange and Aashna Mehta
As the leaves turn bright colours and the days become shorter, the autumn season falls upon us; and with it, many exciting events. In the month of September, the biggest and brightest designers meet in Paris, Milan, New York, and London to display their finest works for the next year, making the harvest season an exciting time for fashion lovers all over the world. However, Fashion Week is not the only anticipated fall event; in September, students all over North America reunite at school for another agonizing ten months. Along with their school books, teenagers fill classrooms with style. From the runways of New York to the halls of Lisgar, fashion has never been more diverse.
One of the big trends coming back into style are looks inspired by the 80s/90s. Almost all of today’s street style has, in one way or another, been influenced by the trends of these decades. Successful models like Kaia Gerber and Bella Hadid, who are among the leading representatives of the fashion empire, have displayed this. High-end brands like Fendi, Marc Jacobs, and Chanel have highlighted this trend in the latest fall collections. Of course, with these stars showing off their finest looks on social media and the runway, teens get inspiration and replicate or start trends of their own; and what better place to show this than at school. It is the perfect place for students to exhibit their tremendous style and express themselves through fashion. Here at Lisgar, one can encounter an immense variety of designs and trends. Although each and every style is unique, it does not create any form of divide. You can easily find the hypebeasts cracking jokes on the first floor or the future Blair Waldorf’s sipping coffee at City Hall. That is one of the best parts about Lisgar; each and every student is different in their own way, yet everyone gets along.
Along with this 80s/90s craze, comes renewed interest in thrift shopping, which has also become a recent trend amongst Lisgarites. Many people donate their old clothes without realizing that some brands are selling similar things for an expensive price. You can find a denim jacket at the thrift store for $10 and it would normally retail for $60; this is why thrift shopping appeals to many teenagers. Another benefit of thrift shopping is that it is eco-friendly- something that many people do not recognize. Most of the population does not realize just how environmentally damaging clothing production is. Out of all the material produced, only a fraction of it is used, and the rest is sent to landfills. Thrifting allows teens to buy fashionable, affordable clothing while helping the environment.
Another problem in fashion for Lisgar students is purchasing ethically made clothing. There is a massive issue with clothing being produced in sweatshops in South and Southeast Asia and Latin America, often by underpaid workers and even children. Although it benefits the company’s economy, their workers have no rights whatsoever, are paid very poorly and work in very poor or unsafe conditions. Although still an obscure topic, more and more students are becoming educated on the issue and working around it in order to stay fashionable while doing a good deed to society. However, despite these desperate attempts to boycott the multi-million dollar companies such as H&M and Forever 21, it is extremely difficult because they are so widespread and do not break the bank. As said by Simon Zhu, a grade 11 Lisgar student and common thrifter, “I want to care, and I am trying to care, but it is almost impossible to avoid it because it is so widespread and practically every store contributes to underprivileged workers.” Fair-trade or domestic brands, such as Roots or Patagonia, are often very expensive. There are many students who acknowledge and understand the issue of ethically made clothing; however, it is still a big struggle for teens to buy affordable clothing. Considering the huge environmental footprint in terms of the harmful chemicals used in the production process, the amount of material being wasted, and then the mistreatment of sweatshop labourers in Asia, it is a cry for help in the fashion world.
Fashion is something that is a struggle for everyone, some more than others. It is not just pairing different florals with stripes; it affects the environment and the people manufacturing clothing. It is not a matter of pointing fingers and blaming brands or the industry: protecting the environment and human rights is something society must work towards as a whole, even the smallest little things can help, like recycling clothing or reading the tag to see if an item is fair-trade or not. Fashion is something that should be bringing the world together and embracing its beauty, not destroying it.