Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ll save you the excuses and just get back into posting (hopefully, regularly).
I did this interview with my friend, Zainab, on fashion in high school and as a teenager. I wanted to gain some insight on a teenager’s opinions and views on fashion and style. Here it is!
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High school is a time when many teenagers are finding themselves, figuring out their futures, and exploring different ideas and styles. Fashion is seen as something very frivolous, unnecessary, and stereotypically girly, but on a day to day basis, high schoolers around the world are using it as a form of self-expression. Fashion can be anything you want it to be, and with a growing acceptance for many different perspectives, more and more individuals are taking it in new directions. In high school especially, the need to fit in somewhere, and be liked, while simultaneously discovering yourself is a heavy burden. Fashion can be that outlet that teenagers can use to express their creativity, personality, and interests. High school, though, can also be a place where many students feel an overwhelming sense of judgement from their peers, teachers, and even the institution of high school itself. From dress codes to gossip, high school can be very restricting, even when the four years you spend there gives ample time to test out many styles and versions of yourself.
To delve deeper into a high schooler’s thoughts and opinions on fashion, I interviewed one of my peers. Zainab seems to have a steady grasp on fashion and on her own style, which is unique and constantly changing.
On how she developed an interest in fashion:
“I’d say that I haven’t always been interested in fashion, but I probably get it from my mom. She’s always been interested in fashion and she always wanted me to like it too. We would always go shopping together and share fashion advice. So ever since I was young, I’ve been influenced and exposed to fashion. And then, as I got older and moved into middle school, I started adapting my own style, which is very different from my mom’s now. She definitely does not like a lot of the things I wear.”
On an outfit that embodies her style:
“I like to mix it up all the time. So some days I’ll dress really preppy, some days I’ll be super casual, others I’ll be sporty, or like really out there. But like, the outfit that defines me…I think honestly, I like to keep it very basic. Keeping it clean cut, and keeping the layers and finishings of the pieces more valued than the piece itself. So whether it’s just a plain white t-shirt and a pair of boyfriend jeans, and then having those delicate pieces of jewelry or having that statement eye [makeup], and just keeping it very simple while focusing on the little details.”
On what her style says about her:
“Recently, I feel like my style says that I like to take risks and I like to stay true to myself and not really care about what others think. And that’s really new, I haven’t always been like that. I used to follow fashion trends that I would see online and in magazines, and what I knew other people would accept – so nothing too risky. But nowadays, I feel like I wear whatever I like, which might be something a lot of people don’t like, but I just have to be open to that.”
On her style inspirations:
“There’s a lot of Instagram pages that I follow. Like, are you familiar with Ian Connor?” “He’s like a really famous fashion Instagrammer and he does a lot of street style and he wears a lot of really cool stuff. I think he even modeled for Kanye, so I really like following [him]. But like, I’m very influenced by a lot of Instagrammers that live in LA or New York, and that are doing risky stuff.”
On how she prefers to set trends rather than follow them:
“I like to set trends. And I think I’ve kind of created this base where people are open to me taking risks now. Because they know that I have followed trends in the past, so like, I know what’s up, and now that I’m taking risks and doing new things, it’s kind of an educated risk. The risk is calculated and I know what things go well together even though there’s hesitancy beforehand.”
On the “basic girl” outfit at her school:
“Lululemon leggings; everybody wears those almost every day. And then a crop top with a lace-up neckline…they’ll like follow one trend and just go nuts with it, and just wear that like every day. So I’d say leggings and then they’ll just follow one trend. Or just wear a TNA hoodie on top. That’s like pretty basic, but there’s people that are a little more refined. Like everyone at our school wears Roches, that’s like a pretty basic shoe. And then, yah…I’d say sporty, our school is pretty sporty.” “[They’re] very much like laidback athlete style, so they’ll wear the school hoodie.”
On her own experience with trends:
“I remember, sometimes I’d wear stuff that I would see on like Paris fashion, that wasn’t a trend, right? Or I’d wear something that’s like pretty new. And people would tell me like, “Oh that’s weird” or “Who wears that”. And then I would see them wearing that exact same thing like a year later, and this happens to me all the time. Because people are so fixated on what the trends are at the time.” “And you can’t get away from trends, because in high school, you want to fit in, you want to be normal, you want to wear stuff that people are going to accept.”
On the influence high school and being a teenager has on her style:
“[High school] definitely influences what I wear because I’m not as comfortable wearing a lot of pieces that I have, just because everyone dresses so basic. And of course, I’m just like everyone else. I don’t want to stand out all the time or have eyes on me when I just want to go to school. Even though I don’t think the outfit is too crazy, I know other people will. I wish that I was in a school or an environment where people took more risks or people were okay with that. I feel like I could have a lot more fun with my wardrobe.” “I don’t think dress code [has too much of an influence], because I’m not the type of person to wear anything too revealing, I’m not like that, so that doesn’t really affect me.”
On street style:
“I’m definitely more into street style because I feel like there’s more freedom with it. Really, street style, it’s not sexist. It’s very gender-neutral. I can wear the same outfit as a dude and it’ll be whatever, so it’s definitely cool that way. It’s not ageist, if that’s the right word, like anyone can wear street style. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can wear street style. […] There’s definitely more freedom. You can kind of do different spins on things, and it’s more comfortable. And I just feel like I’m apart of a culture when I embrace street style.”
On leaving a final message to her younger self:
“Don’t feel like you have to fit into a box or that you already have been put into a box. If you feel like ‘Oh, this is my style, this is who I want to be’, don’t be afraid to explore different things. Try new things and never stop growing, whether that’s in fashion or in your style or in who you are. There’s so much out there and so much to learn. Don’t stop yourself from learning and taking risks and being creative, because those are the things that help you find who you are. And once you find who you are, then life just becomes a lot easier.”