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FEATURE

February 16, 2017

By Candace Longfellow

FASHION EMANCIPATION: WHAT WE WORE TO REBEL

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Rebellion is in the air. From weekly protests to consumer boycotts, a new resistance is starting to take shape and the fashion community is getting involved with politically charged runway collections and symbols of solidarity.
It’s a reminder of the way that fashion has been used to voice dissent in movements big and small, even in our personal lives. From the slinky, corset-free frocks beloved by Jazz-era flappers to the bell bottoms and psychedelic printed tees favored by counterculture hippies, clothing has always been used to signify rebellion, emphasize otherness and provoke reaction.  In the spirit of revolution, we asked our editors to take us back to their teen years and tell us about their first attempts to fight the power through their personal style. Read on for their stories.
Jody Hume, Senior Content Editor021617_RS_FashionEmancipations_2
“What didn’t I wear to rebel? I never really let my parents dress me, much to my mom’s chagrin, but when I turned 12 or 13 I went full-on punk rock. Ripped band tees, Doc Martens, studded everything, pink hair, purple hair, green hair — our bathroom was a riot of Punky Colors. My parents objected to all of it, but eventually got used to it. I tried on so many rebellious looks that now my natural hair and minimal uniform feel like the most subversive statements I can make. But I’m noticing that with ‘90s nostalgia refusing to wane, all my 13 year old punk rock staples are coming back into style, from creepers (see Stella McCartney and Saint Laurent) to the fishnets all the Insta girls are wearing under their jeans to wallet chains (though I suspect any Vetements version will prove pricier than the ones we used to sell at the local punk store where I worked in high school — it was called Re:Style which still sometimes trips me up when I’m talking about this blog!).”

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Saint Laurent Creepers, $345; Stella McCartney Elyse Oxfords, $645; Prada Platform Oxfords, $325

Ekin Kalayci, Visual Designer021617_RS_FashionEmancipations_3
“I went to a French school where dress codes were more important than your classes — so stupid. Every day we had to pass by the evil eyes of the principal at the door, and if you got caught with the wrong shoes, wrong sweater, wrong skirt length, you would get in trouble. To rebel, a lot of us would bring Converse sneakers in our backpacks and change into them in the classroom and try to hide from teachers all day. But it was worth it. It was very cool to wear sneakers under your school uniform.”

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Comme des Garçons Play x Converse High-Tops, $95; Missoni x Converse Low-Tops, $65; Maison Martin Margiela x Converse, $85

Graham Wetzbarger, Senior Authentication Director021617_RS_FashionEmancipations_1
“One time in high school I came home wearing a new set of Adrienne Landau fox fur cuffs and collar that I had saved up for and had special ordered. I was so proud of them. When my mom saw she immediately started crying, yelling, ‘I don’t wanna see those!’ and shielding her eyes. She didn’t speak to me for a day or so. I was really confused. When she did speak to me next, she reminded me that as a child, I loved animals so much I would get upset when I would see them harmed on PBS or NatGeo programs, and now I was wearing them. I never let her see me wear fur again. I can’t quite articulate how you can be an animal lover and a fur lover at the same time, but it comes down to personal choice and what your heart and head allow you to do.”
Lauren Bradshaw, Editorial DirectorRealStyle_582x360
“After eight years of Catholic school and uniforms, I started attending a public high school, and had to wear normal clothes. I didn’t know what to do. I’m an only child, so I didn’t have an older sibling telling me what was cool or not — I mostly just followed my mom’s guidance, which involved a lot of hats.
Later I was really influenced by a friend that was super into fashion. It was 2000, so everything was bubble gum pink and Britney Spears was my go-to guide for what was cool at the time. I remember going to Wet Seal and buying a pair of silver metallic pants that I loved, and I was super excited because there were these three boys from my old school coming to visit me, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘wait until they see me. I look so cool.’ I wore them with a pink top and a really bad heel and when I opened the door, they were very shocked, whether in a good way or a bad way, because they were used to seeing me in overalls and corduroy. My mom gave me a hard time because it was kind of a sexy outfit for me at the time, but I remember just thinking, ‘I’ve arrived. I’ve finally figured out fashion.'”
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Mason Leather Pants, $145; J Brand Skinny Pants, $75; J Brand Skinny Pants w/ Tags, $85