This article is part of the editorial series ‘Wearing Power’ in Daily FT in collaboration with www.fashionmarket.lk and its #wearyoursuperpower campaign for International Women’s Day 2018
Professional women and all women with a mission have something to say—and they will wear it. This seems to be the mood of the moment as women all over the world use fashion as one of the potent languages spoken in delivering their message starting with the women’s March 2017.
The empowered, intelligent woman today uses clothing to her advantage, not the other way round and they are in a dynamic, authoritative role in their relationship with fashion.
To discuss this new and empowered take on the connection between women and their wearables, we turned to the team behind Fashionmarket.lk, an undisputed advocate of modern female power, especially in the workplace and the champion in strengthening women with intelligent fashion.
Fashion Market.lk believes that fashion is an important part of the modern female’s game plan at work. But, the highlight is in the fashion market ethos and indeed the global ethos today is that it’s the ‘woman’ wearing the clothes that’s the magic, fashion merely facilitates it within a visual domain instead of women following fashion, fashion is now looking at women and following them.
“The new woman is the ultimate new muse of fashion. Women are tired of being told what to do, how to look, what to wear… that is so over. And the fashion business knows that. This is why wearable brands now tend to listen to what women want and need, and respond to that, rather than tell women what to wear.”
Fashionmarket.lk is in fact, an example of a brand that was founded as a direct response to the growing need for intelligent fashion that captured the many layered modern woman who has diverse values, roles and aspirations as she charges through life.
Wearing her own rules
So, if fashion trends for the sake of them are no longer dictating what to wear, and women are making their own decisions, what makes the modern woman consider when choosing her clothing and the answer lies in that clothes are about projecting our personality, not about conforming.
The sari is not the typical sari anymore. Handlooms to batik, everything has evolved. Neither is Western clothing to work the standard jacket and suit anymore. But, personalities are diverse as people are. So, fashion has to offer something relatable to every woman out there, and also encourage women to discover what kind of clothing and styling that really brings out their best—or their superpower they call it at Fashionmarket.lk.
The wish is that women will think more about clothes in terms of what works for them and more importantly how it can deliver for them in their careers, rather than automatically buying what everyone perceives as ‘trendy’. Fashion should be conscious, personal and empowering and individual to their journey, where they work and where they need to get it.
Dress what you mean
This snaps the conversation back to the relationship between fashion and women. Particularly in South Asian nations like Sri Lanka, where women are seen as the carriers, bearers and embodiments of culture and tradition, the idea of a woman inventing her own rules for clothing is not easy to take root. Plus, most women in politics and business, in particular, are often very guarded when it comes to fashion because there is often that outdated notion where any interest in clothing will have women stereotyped as frivolous and/or unintellectual.
“This thinking is out dated and very much part of the conversations stirred up by Fashionmarket.lk and its team of incredible women. For this International Women’s Day in March 2018, Fashionmarket.lk is presenting a campaign that focuses on women dressing to bring out their best—#WearYourSuperpower.
“What Fashion Market hopes to bring out is something that is pertinent to all working women and women who are on a mission of some kind and how we strongly believe that what you wear to work is a clear statement of what you’re offering as a professional.”
Fashionmarket.lk – online shopping platform is hoping the campaign will “start off a conversation,” one which will nudge the discussion around women, careers and fashion into a more positive light. By talking about women, clothes and society rather than about ‘trends’, Fashionmarket.lk wants to change the way we use wearables and here are their basic rules shared as a part of this series:
The rules of dressing
How do you nurture your own sense of style that feels effortlessly chic, relaxed and cool and most importantly you? There does not need to be a distinction between daywear and eveningwear, instead we encourage each woman to dress each piece up or down as much as or little as they desire depending on and the occasion, the work place and their desire to reflect their own style.
“There is the garment, there is the way we style it which is always just for inspiration and there is the way the woman buying it is going to wear it.” We always think of dressing her when we are designing and helping her reach her career goals using fashion and standing out from the crowd in an authentic and sophisticated way.
We are not talking to the all-elegant, matched from head to toe, outdated look, we are talking to the intelligent woman, we are not talking to luxury designer wear, we are talking to authentic individual looks that women who have attitude and intelligence can wear.
Here are some ideas from us for the working woman on making fashion ‘her own’ regardless of where she works, what she does and what is expected of her.
Rule 1: Fashion is
Getting dressed in what you love that counts. The way you dress is really a reflection of how you feel about who you are so you need to first know and discover that and hence our campaign is first asking you to ‘share your super power’ and then tell us how you ‘wear your superpower’ so we know what supersedes what.
At Fashionmarket.lk we are thinking about the woman being authentic and free in the expression of themselves so that’s really our rule number one and hoping this campaign #wear your super power will establish that.
Rule 2: Never worry about what anyone else thinks
Dressing is about how you feel in what you wear and the story that led you there. It’s about instinct, ease and comfort. There is a lot of vulgarity, ego and faked imagery on social media and in the world. Ignore all of it and take your own path.
Rule 3: Don’t be dictated by old style rules
Who said you can’t wear jeans for an evening, but maybe you’ll put on something like a shiny top with a bow and then maybe a cool easy jacket to dress it down, a nice pair of earrings and a red lipstick, I think women get the picture and they know they can still look like themselves and not some painted up unrealistic version of themselves.
We don’t think beautiful girls wearing evening dresses look necessarily prettier than the one wearing an authentic styled up cool jeans and top look. You really don’t need to become someone else, especially if your intelligent working woman in the day, why dumb yourself down for the evening?
You don’t need to wear a ball gown for a dance, the time of wearing what you’re expected to wear is gone. It looks so old fashioned and these intelligent women don’t even look themselves anymore in these. Some girls can look like princesses and its great if that’s what they want but put on a great modern look that you styled up together and you will always look better than the girl looking awkward in the wrong pink dress in the wrong cut, just because she thought she thought that was expected of her.
Rule 5: There is no such thing as the perfect outfit
It is important to learn what fits you and what suits you, because you can’t be someone else – nor should you try to be. There are pieces that work on some people that never do on others. We are often asked ‘what is the perfect outfit’ and we are so against answering that but if you want our stylists to work out looks for you personally we are all for that. Show us the person – you, the occasion, your lifestyle, and we will show you the perfect outfit.
Rule 6: Your style
No one is the same. You have to play with who you are, experiment, make mistakes and then discover what works for you.
(For more information on fashion and its role in personal expression, the idea of using style as a tool for working women and unique Sri Lankan fashion brands that cater to this philosophy, reach Fashionmarket.lk on 076 777 1353 or log on to wwww.fashionmarket.lk.)