Hang on because ModCloth is currently transforming fashion as we know it. With a powerful message that goes beyond vintage pieces and retro designs, the brand embodies our cultural need for transparency in fashion. Co-founder Susan Gregg Koger emphasizes body positivity, self-expression, and diversity in a business model that puts the consumer above all else. ModCloth packages garments with meaning, transcending short-lived trends like crop tops and harem pants (which you should totally wear everyday forever if that’s your thing).
The fashion industry’s flaws wouldn’t matter if they didn’t have such a pervasive influence on the way we perceive ourselves. Stick-thin, six-foot-tall white teenagers, as beautiful as they are, represent only a tiny fraction of a very diverse market. And when you, equally beautiful and real, see images of that standard constantly, feelings of inadequacy can’t help but creep in. As consumers, we have a responsibility to demand what we want to see. I think that ultimately means a more diverse, confident reflection of ourselves.
As for me, being broke means I can’t afford to buy into the ever-changing fashion game right now (and I’m not the kind of girl to forgo lunch for an infinity scarf). I mainly dig through my mother’s closet for wide-legged pants and padded blouses from the 80s and 90s. I’m lucky the nineties now qualify as vintage because “vintage” sounds cooler than “old bike shorts.”
There’s something timeless about falling in love with vintage. If you glance through fashion history, you’ll find clothing that reflects the social climate of the time as well as aspirations for the future. With the first inklings of the feminist movement, corsets gave way to shift and drop waist dresses. Hemlines have soared and plummeted in unison with stock prices. As much as avant-garde has its place, current fashion has always drawn from classic ideas to inspire something new.
This is where it gets exciting. What will the fashion of the future look like? I imagine all of us gliding around in sleek, metallic gowns, flower crowns of tiny succulents adorning our heads. Or maybe we’ll draw from the Dust Bowl and restyle burlap sacks into edgy moto jackets and cigarette pants. Maybe textiles as we currently imagine them will fizzle out altogether, to be replaced by sprayed-on second skins in various animal prints and colors.
I like the idea that you can transform yourself through fashion. You can dabble with different identities or define your personality with the clothes you wear. Fashion allows you to be a preppy, bohemian, cowgirl, princess, punk rock chick all in the same week. I also love the idea of self-imposing a personal uniform, freeing up more mind space when you just don’t have the energy to pick a different outfit everyday.
My fashion truth is all of the above. I believe in wearing what you want when you want, stepping into character, revealing the inner you and reinventing the inner you. It’s make-believe, magic, living art, breathing in patterns, prints, textures, and lines. Operating as armor or filling in for comfort, evoking nostalgia or peeking into the future, democratized or specialized, fashion brings imagination into the everyday. That kind of power should belong to everyone.