Brooklyn Hans, is a fashion business major at FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology who is deeply passionate about modest dress. In today’s social media driven age, body image is a prevalent issue that can bring a lot of stress to young millennials. Brooklyn explains how how the way one dresses has a large power and can bring a positive impact for one’s self awareness and body image. Modest fashion is sweeping the runways of the fashion world and Bridget believes that when she started dressing more modestly, she was more empowered in her strengths and her self confidence grew.
Perspective: So tell me a little bit about yourself.
BH: I am Bridget cole and I go to FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology and I am a fashion business major. I am taking classes in product development, retail math, health, and statistics.
Perspective: What exactly could you do with a fashion business major?
BH: So basically, you could become a buyer, product developer, or a merchandiser. So you would decide what kind of products you would put in your store, and how much you would buy of the product and then figure out the sales and profits for those products. It’s all about analyzing the profit and loss margins and mastering the best product output.
Perspective: How do you see yourself fitting into the fashion world?
BH: When I came to FIT, I wasn’t totally sure with what I wanted to do. I started to try to figure out what kind of brand I wanted to be a part of. I look to social medias that curate to fashion brands in which I like the messages they stand for. In my journey, I’ve decided I definitely want to work for a brand with a modest fashion sense. I follow Mimu Maxi, The Frock, and The Modest because I like that they have created new trends out of modest fashion.
Perspective: Why modest fashion specifically?
BH: In the past year I have decided to take a more religious lifestyle and get more in touch with my Jewish roots.. Now that this is a big part of my life, I want to use my dress to set a tone for the values I stand for. I believe that modest dress serves as a constant reminder to live in the morals I believe so strongly in. I have a very feminine style when it comes to my clothing so it is a pleasure for me to always be in skirts. I also like challenging myself, and pushing myself to follow even the hardest rules. It is such a good feeling to set out to do something and then accomplish it.
Perspective: I want to ask about the negative aspects of the fashion world. Do you feel it sets a beauty standard that is impossible to attain?
BH: Yeah, it’s hard. You want to get a job at the biggest companies. But those companies promote size 0 clothing and barely there fabrics. But at the end of the day, what does it all mean? Is this standard supposed to be an example for a successful lifestyle? Is that what we are really trying to promote in fashion?
Perspective: Very interesting. Why do you think being so small has become such a big deal?
BH: Girls are constantly trying to look like someone that they weren’t born to look like. We have the responsibility to take care of yourself, and take care of our own bodies. You were created in a way that you were supposed to be. The obsession of looking to become something else takes away from all the inner beauty that we have. We live in a society that makes us see what we don’t have rather than what we do have. It also starts from such a young age. My little cousins go to these birthday parties and they put on all this makeup because that’s what we tell them is beautiful. We already tell them that their innocent natural beauty isn’t enough and that they should get dressed up to look better. Did you know that studies show that 40% of 1st and second graders want to be thinner? That’s because society teaches them that what they see in the mirror they shouldn’t like.
Perspective: Why is society making us want to be something we aren’t? How do humans let that happen?
BH: People feel like we don’t have power. We look at other people who seem to have more power than us. People are not confident in their own abilities or judgement so they look to others for validation. For example, You see a weird pair of shoes and nobody likes them. You really like them, but you don’t buy them because people will think they are strange looking. But then, a celebrity wears them, and everybody likes them. People don’t have confidence in themselves to make their own fashion choices. They have to look at others to make those choices. But when you look at other people, you never feel good enough yourself, because you are always looking to others to affirm your worth.
Perspective: Although some may passionately dislike the family, the Kardashians have been instrumental in new trends in fashion and body images. Do you think that the curvy body they promote is good for young girls in 2017? Does it take some of the “size 0” pressure off?
BH: Yeah, sure, anything is better than the emaciated bodies so many models promote. But no matter what, the Kardashian ideal body only provides one type of curviness. A Big butt and big boobs. You know what, that’s totally great but the way they promote beauty is disgusting. A girl whose curvy shouldn’t look at themselves and say “thank god they now deem me as beautiful” The people you love, or your loved one, should make you feel beautiful.
Perspective: But the pressure is still there. How do you deal with it when it comes up?
BH: Being stressed with your body image can totally consume your mind and make you not be able to focus on other things and king of becomes the ultimate stress and anxiety. I try to fill my everyday life with things that allow me to get away from the constant pressure of body image. Whenever I feel anxious or stressed about how I look in a picture or in the mirror, I try to hold the thought and transfer the energy into something more positive. For example, listening to podcasts, writing a to do list and working to check things off!! The less you have going on in your life, the more focused you will be on one particular area. I tend to feel much less stressed and anxious when I can distribute my brain power on a variety of things.
Perspective: So how do you modest dress to be empowering?
BH: Dressing modestly is empowering because it puts ME in control of my body image. I am not revealing sensitive parts of my body to seek the approval or attention or others. I strive to look attractive, but not attracting in a negative manner.
Perspective: How would you suggest we promote beauty if every beauty is promoting one type of beauty?
BH: It should come from a place where you want to care about your body because you want to feel good. You only have one body, but it has to come with the understanding that every body was created differently. Every body needs a different kind of nutrients. Society should promote abstract ideas and group photos and promote imperfections and fashion magazines should promote the clothes and not the body they are on.
Perspective: So because this is a magazine about destressing, can you tell us about the stress of body building? What’s your take on having a healthy body image?
BH: The reality is is that our bodies are our everything. They determine how we feel, how we look, how we think, there is no escaping the body. Your mind can want one thing, however, if you’re body is not in tune with that, everything is off and the stress kicks in. We have to treat our bodies like palaces, not garbage bags! Happiness and distress comes when what you say, think and do are in harmony. Find your mantra, and live it. I dont have the answers, but I am on a mission to find a way to sync the mind and body with the soul, my true essence.
Perspective: Any last words on the fashion world?
BH: I see the fault of advertising and in the media. But I also understand that I am not going to be able to change that. It’s a million dollar industry so it clearly exists for a reason. In order to live in the fashion world and be successful in it, I need to create certain boundaries for myself to enjoy it to its fullest. I find a lot of power in dressing modestly because I get to promote my own fashion standards without the world telling me what I should be doing. When i used to dress in less clothes, I wished that others would notice me and notice the body I was working for at the gym. But when I dress modestly, I still look beautiful but I also feel beautiful because I don’t let my beauty be determined by others.
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