A woman can make the clothes

Seema Kumar

Every so often, something sensational happens that changes the fashion landscape forever.  Almost 20 years ago, that moment was created by Jennifer Lopez when she wore a jaw-dropping green dress that was as stunning as it was shocking. On its own, the green jungle print dress, which had been worn by other models and by designer Donatella Versace herself, was a statement piece.

But it took J.Lo’s confidence, curves, and charm to make it a stunner that "broke the internet,” leading to the launch of Google images. J.Lo made the dress come to life but she did something more meaningful: Introduced  a new version of body image and empowered women to embrace their curves. It’s often said that clothes make a woman, but J.Lo proved that a woman can make the clothes.

What is it about fashion that makes us sit up and take notice? Fashion reflects culture and self-expression and in addition, fashion can be a way to feel self-empowered and confident. Unfortunately, the fashion industry also has contributed to long-held stereotypes about beauty and body image that are for most of us unachievable. The consistent images of rail-thin models wearing size 0 clothes and walking the catwalk has led us to believe that this is the ideal body type. This, in turn, has led to issues of self-esteem and confidence and even eating disorders as women and girls struggle to achieve that ideal. The good news is that this image is changing and today we have many models with curves and many designers who make clothes for women of all sizes.

Fashion is a great way to express yourself, be it through textiles, colors and creativity. From heavily brocaded bridal wear to simple shifts, fashion can be as diverse and global as we are. Each of us is also unique, and the style that we choose ultimately needs to please us and not others.