Self-Expression through fashion

Over the past couple of years, social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, and even Twitter have become even more popular and are commonly used by teenagers and young adults. Teens often get influenced by the content that gets posted on these platforms; that content being music, entertainment, fashion, and more.This allows them to get inspiration and ideas from social media to express their passions like their music, photography, style, clothing brands, sports and art. 

Fashion became important in the 19th century when people started having their own designers at home to make them custom clothing. One of those designers was Charles Fedrick Worth who started in 1858 and was the first designer to have his name embroidered in garments he made. As we know, now it is something that has become really important for some people, especially for the newer generations like Gen Z. Students here at San Bernardino High School have different opinions on what fashion means to them. A majority of them think it’s a form of self expression, others think it doesn’t mean anything to them. 

Kimberly showing her amazing makeup look. (Photo: Kimberly Morales)

Fashion is “creative artwork that anybody could pull together by wearing whatever clothing makes them look fashionable, a specialty for a person to determine on what to wear in order to look stunning,”  said junior Giselle Lopez.

“It’s a form of self expression because even if people can’t do it verbally, they can do it through their clothes and get to express themselves,” said Kimberly Morales, junior. 

For Morales, her form of fashion and self expression is not only in what she wears, but also in her makeup. She’s always has this amazing eyeliner going on and sometimes she likes to get creative with it. She dresses alternatively, in colors like black and white, and she makes them look good. For her make-up, she likes to mix a natural look with eye makeup boldness, such as different eyeliner designs and sometimes shaping a small heart on her eyebrow. She represents her personality through her clothes, whether that is wearing graphic t-shirts with her favorite characters on it or doing her makeup a little boldly.

It is amazing to be able to piece together an outfit everyday and be creative with how you look. You can choose to look extravagant or super comfortable just based on the outfit you’re wearing. There are many places where you can get the clothes, whether they are expensive or cheap. 

“I feel like I can get them anywhere…thrift stores, yard sales, etc. As long as one, the fit is fire and two, you’re comfortable and like it,” said 16 year-old Jessica Moreno.  

Many influencers and brands post their outfits of the day or their clothing brands and different collections on Instagram that catch the attention of teeanagers and young adults. 

Lopez gets her inspiration mostly from “Tiktok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. Not really from websites or people.” Moreno gets inspiration from “people I see on the streets and if I like their outfit, I get inspiration from that.”

When people decide to dress the way they want, sometimes they base their look on what’s trending and popular, while others like to decide to do their own thing and dress how they want.

“I think it’s a waste of money to always follow trends because trends change everyday and die out. You would have to always keep rebuying products to keep attending to the trend. It’s better to buy what you’re into, because you’ll keep it longer due to you liking it,” said Saul Felix, senior. 

It’s okay for people to not be common and follow along with what everyone else does and instead their own thing. 

“Covid hit and I started looking at more Instagram pages for fashion and I got inspired by alternative and e-girl styles and it made me want to dress how I feel and how I act.” said Jasmine Toolan, junior. 

Morales and Toolan have similar styles when it comes to make-up and clothing. They both like the style of being alternative like dressing in black, wearing combat boots with tights and graphic tees. They grab inspiration from those they see and social media. However they don’t agree with the idea of being perceived through their form of dressing. 

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” said Toolan.

“A lot of people in fashion and even in alternative fashion, do their make-up more intensely and sometimes they’re nicer than others based on their makeup and fashion alone,” said Morales. 

As sophomore Michelle Soto said, “sometimes it creates new trends,” so it’s completely okay to not follow along with trends; it’s good to be unique and be yourself.

In the past it was believed that one had to be thin for clothes to look good. Plus-sized women and men were often put down because people made them think they were never going to look good because of their physical appearance. It wasn’t until the 1970’s was when plus-sized models started being introduced into model agencies, getting rid of those standards. A model who broke those standards recently was Ashley Graham. She appeared for the first time in a sports swimwear magazine and in a Victoria Secret commercial. However, it should not have taken years for these models to be noticed.     

“I do think that being skinny is a bigger factor in fashion,” said Felix.

Felix doesn’t like the idea that the beauty standard in the world of fashion has to be skinny. Clothes have been designed for people who are “deemed skinny,” as he said. He believes there should be diversity in the community that allows people to express themselves through “art.”

“A lot of the time, people express themselves through the way they dress, but this doesn’t mean that they do it all the time. Sometimes people just like the way the style looks; like just because someone’s goth doesn’t mean they are sad or depressed,” said freshman Kayla Davis. 

Davis said that style doesn’t necessarily represent personality. Many people would even say that fashion means nothing to them and that it doesn’t determine anything about them because they don’t care yet they still go out and dress, whether they consciously realize it, in their own style. 

Fashion is a form of art. A form of self expression, culturally and emotionally. You can choose how you get to make a statement through your own clothes. You can wear shirts with graphics that speak your opinion or you can wear bold colors to make you seem confident. You can wear clothes that represent your culture, where you come from, or pieces of clothing that represent that culture. Whether you think fashion means nothing to you or it’s the most important thing to you, it is always going to be there. There will be new trends that make the current ones change or they will keep being popular forever. It doesn’t matter because it will always be there to help us express ourselves. 

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