Why Clothing is Important: An Aesthetic Revolution

Like many things popularized by femmes, fashion, style, and clothing have been deemed vapid and unintellectual by the broader cultural society.

Fashion is thought about as a means of accessory to personality, something separate from personality itself.

Unlike the books we read, the theory we subscribe to, or the politics that drive us, our style is not usually perceived as a tool of betterment, a product of deep thought, or a true expression of the person we imagine ourselves to be.

But, as a non-binary, queer, femme, my clothing, my accessories, my haircuts, all the things that make up my style, are more political, more personal, more rooted in who I am than most of the literature that lines my bookshelves.

Many queer, trans, or gender non-conforming folks will tell you that they have had similar experiences with clothing.  That their style is one of the major ways in which they live their identities.  In some cases, clothing is one of the only ways our identities can be readable.

This is something I have been participating in for as long as I could dress myself.  The clothing that I wore was always something that felt very personal to me, a way of telling the world just who I thought myself to be. But, the inherent political nature of these decisions did not become explicitly clear to me until I went abroad.

Armed with three suitcases (one that was filled only with jewelry, scarves, and hats), many of the people around me gawked at my attachment to the things I put on my body.  It was absurd for many that I would travel with so many clothes.  When I was questioned about why I dared to lug easily three times my weight in clothing around Europe, the answer came easily to me.

As a non-binary person I feel like clothing is sometimes the only way in which I can articulate my identity.  It is the only way in which I may distort the way that people see me and bend their perception closer to the truth of who I am.  I needed all tools at my disposal.  I did not know where I would go, who I would see, which version of my many faceted personhood would go out one night, and then another.  It is style, clothing, accessories, that allow me to tell the world how I would like to be seen (even if it may not always be successful).

This does not end with gender.

Clothing has historically been used to butt heads with societies that push certain people and cultures to the fringes. Subcultures, marginalized people, and individuals pushed to the outskirts of society use clothing constantly to assert their personhood, their identity, and their refusal to blend into a society that denies them.

From ass-less chaps to sequin dresses, clothing is a marker of who we are.  It is a tool that can be used to create ourselves in a world that tells so many of us we do not, or should not exist. It is a tool that can keep cultures alive in the face of violent erasure, it can be a fuck you to the heteropatriarchy, it can be a push back against white supremacy, it can be a piece of sand tossed into a well oiled machine that wishes to replicate itself over and over again.

When the world around you looks to erase difference, seeks to occupy your imagination, your land, your body, your identities, the clothes you put on your back each morning can serve as a silent protest, a revolution made of cotton and leather and beads. - See more at: http://www.reflektmag.com/2016/02/why-clothing-is-important-aesthetic.html#sthash.OJCsjLRa.dpuf