Sustainable Fashion: Character & Sustainability
One thing I love about the English language is the versatility of uses of words. For example the word "character". Character is defined in a few ways. The most current definition being "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to individuals". The second being, a person in a novel, play, or movie. The third definition, which more closely relates to the original use, defines character as a printed or written letter or symbol. The etymology of character boils down to a symbol or mark branded on the body.
Considering these definitions you can conclude character provides distinction. Every letter in the alphabet has its own character. Each one is distinct and has its own set of functions. In some television shows you may notice a character wears the same clothing every episode (especially animated productions). And if there is a change in wardrobe it may be to emphasize a shift in the characters circumstance, attitude, or status.
In elementary school and middle school we were required to wear uniforms. I attended a public school and was aware that all of the schools in our district weren't required to wear uniform. The reason given revolved around preventing students from being singled out because their family may not have had the financial means to provide the student with new clothes as much as other families. So we were limited to what we could wear. Only Khakis and Navy blue pants or shorts, and various colored polo style shirts. They also had to be tucked in the entirety of the day. There weren't really many stipulations in regards to what kind of shoes we could wear besides that they were to be closed toed. Having these limitations required us to be innovative in how we wanted ourselves to stand out, even in uniform. For example,wearing colorful socks or laces. Or maybe cuffing the bottom of your pants. Wearing watches and wristbands. The most obvious way to stand out would be the shoes that you wore. The most accepted shoes amongst my peers were Nikes. More specifically Retro Jordans. This...culture, basically superseded the reason that we were to wear uniforms.
If you wore J's you were subject to inspection of authenticity at any moment. And this was way before StockX. With everyone being in uniform, shoes were most likely the first point of attack if it came time to talk a little trash. If your were found to be fraudulent you were subject to the "WOOKIES"! (Wookies or wooks meaning fakes). The Jordan culture shift for me didn't occur until middle school. The elementary school I went to was mostly Caucasian. In my seven years there I was often the darkest in the room but neck and neck with the brightest. When I got to middle school it was a significant change in how much my peers cared about what they were wearing. It was an interesting type of foreign to me because the people that looked like me acted a lot different than the people who didn't look like me but were more familiar. The topics of conversation were different. The language was different. This language pointed out what I once was not insecure about. Consider this was the pubescent stage for me and everyone around me. It became as ritual to point out what others didn't have. If you were good enough at that it honestly didn't matter what you possessed as long as you were able to draw enough attention on others lack. And it did no justice to rebuttal, "boy yo mama bought you those" because it could easily be parried with a "well my mama ain't broke".
My parents were more interested in the durability, functionality, and affordability of the things I wore more so than the stylish aspect. I still carry those traits with me in regards to what I select to go into my closet but additionally hone in on the versatility, in regards to style, my garments offers me. I still have a few pair of pants that my parents bought me back in freshman year of high school. I am now 24 soon to be 25 and to see that my selections, with my mom's guidance of course, have stood the test of time. Curating a closet with character in mind gives opportunity to fill it with items that portray a certain character. A character that has been with you throughout the years. Although it may have a stain that you can't get out, or the occasional replacing of a button, you remember the memories made in those pants.