Photos by Demetrius McCullough
“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”
We can say, do, and wear almost anything we want without fear of repercussion.
We may have had to abide by strict rules and dress codes in high school, but now that we’re out in the “real world,” the only people we have to answer to are ourselves.
At least for us.
At least for now.
Style is what gives us our personal freedom.
I love that I can wear whatever I want, whenever I want.
I might get some strange looks if I wear a crop top and high heels to class, but I can do it!
And that’s what’s important. Not that I have to do it, but that I can.
I can’t imagine trying to take that kind of freedom from anybody.
Because of our love for fashion and our mutually preferred mode of personal expression, the two of us quickly grew to become close friends.
We would constantly ask each other where the other purchased some random piece of clothing or accessory, and we would bond over stories of finding hidden gems at TJ Maxx or Goodwill.
It’s because we were free to express who we truly were then that we are able to share it with you now.
Most people underestimate the value of freedom until it’s taken away.
I remember when I went to visit family in India a couple summers ago, I had to halt my day while we were touring the ancient city of Jaipur and change out of my denim shorts into pants because too many people were staring, and my family was genuinely afraid for my safety.
Before I left on that trip, I never gave it a second thought.
I just packed summertime clothes because I knew it was going to be 120+ degrees every day. To those of you who have never left your corner of the world, you may not understand how good we have it right now, but also how easily some of the freedoms we take for granted could be wrested from us, especially considering the direction we’re going.
We’re not just saying that women may not be able to “wear what they want” anymore.
It’s bigger than that.
So many times women are judged or accused of “asking for it” because of what they are wearing.
Women of the Muslim faith in this country are afraid to wear the hijab for fear of violent retribution.
In some places, trans women aren’t even allowed to use the bathroom of their choosing or are harassed for wearing heels and makeup.
Fashion is a tool to communicate who we are and what we stand for, and that should not ever be used as a weapon against us.
“We can never intimidate and discourage the people who voice their words with courage. The essence of freedom rests precisely here – in the freedom of expression of the people. And we must protect it.”
– Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj