Fashion: Courage & Confidence
I have always considered fashion a source of incredible richness and power. Fashion, to me, is more than garments. It is the tapestry of our unspoken narratives, the brushstroke of our ever-evolving identities, and the silent anthem of our collective expression.
In my work as an educator, I always find immense pleasure in demonstrating how fashion has been crafting and telling our story, day in and day out. As I have expressed before, fashion has been our perpetual, ever-present companion since the dawn of time. There is no other element that is so indefinitely ingrained in our shared journey as fashion. Let’s also understand the roles of courage and confidence.
The Language of Fashion
As a social language, fashion is a means of communication. It is also a powerful tool that allows each of us to feel more comfortable in our own skin. It allow us to navigate this often confusing and always complicated world. Fashion provides us with a voice, a platform, a weapon, a shield, and an armor. And more than that, it is something we all share, giving us something we can easily talk about. In addition, it potentially bring us in agreement, in this world flooded by disconnection and torn by disagreement.
We interact with fashion on three distinct levels: as individuals, as groups, and as a society. On the first one, fashion is our daily companion and invaluable promoter of who we are as unique beings. Beyond that, we also use fashion to show the world, and more importantly, ourselves, who we have the power to become. On the second level, we interact with fashion as group members. We use it as a badge to showcase our belonging and a platform to communicate our beliefs.
Finally, on the third level, we interact as a society, using fashion as our constant ally to guide and secure the world we want future generations to live and thrive in. Each of these levels depends on the one before to sustain. These levels of interaction are the lifeline of fashion’s work and legacy, and they conform to what I like to call Fashion’s Cell Cycle. Each level is a crucial event that, when it takes place, it can potentially lead to duplication and, through mitosis and cytokinesis, is able to bring fashion to its second and third levels.
Courage and Confidence
When you recognize the power fashion has, you are automatically showered by its undeniable force and everlasting impact. Fashion embeds you with all its strength because it needs each one of us as hosts to carry out its social responsibility. It is evident that as much as we need fashion, fashion also needs us. Fashion needs our passion and our commitment, but more than that, it needs our confidence and courage. Confidence and courage are the nutrients required for the Fashion Cell Cycle to happen.
Confidence is the first nutrient required to embrace fashion. It is with confidence that we can become fearless in our self-expression. And in that confident self-expression, we become genuinely accepting of the self-expression of others. Confidence is the gateway to evolve from the first level of interaction to the second because it allows us to connect genuinely and without prejudice, permitting us to discover and understand what tastes, ideas, and values we have in common. Confidence drives acceptance, and acceptance drives trust. It is through this chain of events that we are able to build bridges that bind us together.
The second nutrient, courage, is the engine behind our determination. Only those who are courageous are the ones who dare say out loud what they wholeheartedly believe in. It is only through courage that we are able to open up to the world because when we do so, we automatically become vulnerable. Vulnerable to judgment, to mocking, and to criticism. Vulnerable because we put ourselves to the world’s potential possibility of using our inner thoughts against us. Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do; it requires much strength and bounds of courage.
On Being Vulnerable
It is extremely hard to choose to be vulnerable. But it is also one of the most rewarding decisions we can make. Vulnerability is essential to our human experience. It facilitates genuine connections, personal development, and emotional resilience. Being courageous to show our vulnerability means that we are willing to stand for something, may that be a person, belief, or an ideal. It is by being courageous that we can interact with fashion on its third and most important level. Because being vulnerable is at the core of being able to grow. Vulnerability is not weakness but strength, a catalyst for self-betterment.
When you use this lens to look at the relationship between fashion, confidence, and courage, then you fully understand that they form an inseparable trinity that propels our human experience and evolution, creating a continuous loop of growth, connection, and transformation.
So, next time you see a woman wearing a statement t-shirt or a man wearing a dress, think of the confidence and courage they are showing to express their genuine self in broad daylight. Respect how committed they are to what they believe in, whether you agree with it or not. Recognize the power and the time they put towards improving the world one idea at a time. Admire the strength they found within themselves to challenge norms and drive change. Think of how they interact with fashion on all its different levels and understand that there is an immeasurable amount of confidence and courage behind wearing what they are wearing.
Interact & Unlock the Possibilities
If you can see all this, I invite you too to have the courage and confidence to interact with fashion at all its possible levels. To give fashion the recognition it deserves and allow it to perform the change it is able to do.
Let fashion tell our shared story so it can remind us of the path behind us. Use fashion to stand for change so it can craft the path ahead of us. Whether it is to express individuality, challenge norms, or embrace diversity, give your confidence and courage to fashion. I promise you will be putting both of them in good hands.