Can Fashion Be A Source Of Empowerment?

Mathujana and I met six years ago. At the time when we were working together on our first shooting, diversity was not yet a big issue in fashion. Suddenly, over the last years we have seen a big surge in models of color, plus-size models and age diversity. Fashion, so it seems, has embraced diversity.

Mathujana, do you think that this is only another trend or do you believe fashion has really changed in the way that it has become more inclusive, less racist and more open to a diverse spectrum of beauty?

Over the last years a lot has happened in fashion and I think it’s great that models of color are more in demand now. The #blacklivesmatter-movement brought along a huge change in that sense. Although as everybody is jumping on that „ethnical background trend“ with some big brands you get the impression that they are simply afraid of getting shitstorms on social media if they continue excluding. They do not seem to truely stand behind the movement. Sometimes I question myself if it’s simply another form of exploitation. Anyways, there is a lot of pressure right now on big com to change things, which, alltogether, is good.

Is our German society getting less racist? What is your own experience?

I think in Berlin in particular, people are super open-minded and my generation is very aware of racism. Social media has educated us in that sense and people are strongly interconected internationally. Youth subcultures like K-Pop or Friday’s For Future start locally and are spreading around the globe through the internet. I find it’s more with the older generation where you sometimes feel these micro agressions. This passive form of racism when you’re at a store and the salesperson obviously is helping and serving everyone else except you.

Do you believe there is an element of true empowerment in fashion?

After our first shooting, people around me suddenly saw me with different eyes. Since I was in a fashion shoot I was suddenly seen as beautiful. It had changed the way they perceived me. This gave me confidence because I understood that I shouldn’t listen to the opinion of others, as it can change from one week to the other. My advice is find your own voice and surround yourself with people that support you and help you grow strong.

Thank you Mathujana for sharing.

Paul Immich Pullover mit grossem Kragen aus Galitzine-Bouclé

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