What do your clothes say about society?
By Hanna Pumfrey
To many, fashion is seen as a frivolous industry that forces a superficial vision of women judged by their looks rather than what’s on the inside. And in a way that men are rarely ever subjected to. I don’t think I can say hand on heart that I don’t think this is true, as for a long-time women’s fashion has been to used to reflect the power and superiority of men, rather than to declare the empowered and autonomous woman within them.
Fashion trends reflect the societies they are created in. In societies where women have few rights, both past and present, their clothing reflects their subordinate position. A tour of fashion through the ages in Britain for example, clearly reflects the evolution of our society towards a more equal relationship between men and women. Fashion often provides and interesting insight into the changing values of a society and can very quickly tell us about the current attitudes of a community.
Today, in the UK, as a woman, I am lucky enough to be able use the clothing I wear as a statement to campaign for what I believe in. I can choose to use my clothes as a form of activism. I wrote about this topic a little while ago in more detail for Veggie Magazine; I truly believe that today we have the power to use our wardrobe as a vehicle for change. To say it loud, say it clearly and say it with our clothes; using them as a statement to shape the society we want to see!
One brand I came across recently, who really live this vision is Uzma Bozai. I have a lot of love for their statement prints and beautiful artisan crafted designs. Their ‘Pussy Power’ t-shirts make a statement for powerful women. They’re the ultimate feminist t-shirt for anyone looking to make a statement about women’s position in society today. Uzma’s Pussy Power collection is an ode to many of the issues we still campaign about would have been familiar to suffrage campaigners of the past.
Despite huge steps forward we still have not seen equal representation of women in government, violence against women and girls is endemic, and gender stereotypes continue to limit both men and women. Uzma’s Pussy Power collection calls on women, and men, to break down the barriers to gender equality. They partnered with Women’s Rights organisation the Fawcett Society, donating 10% of profits from every Pussy Power t-shirt to them.
To tell, you a bit more about Uzma Bozai; it was born from founder Uzma’s love of traditional embroidery techniques and nomadic childhood. Uzma grew up in the States but her family is from Pakistan and spent every summer there following her grandmother around markets and seeing the artisans sat on stumps meticulously applying beads and hand embroidering intricate designs. Uzma fell in love with the beautiful embroideries that were used on everyday clothes and not just kept for special occasions. She knew she wanted to tell the stories of these artisans and their skills, as well as bring the beautifully detailed embellishments they created to every day garments.
Working with artisans to keep these skills alive, her brand creates stunning sweatshirt designs that are super fun yet classy. From the original sketch to the finished design, each sweatshirt created has its own unique journey through the hands of designers and artisans. I was lucky enough to meet Uzma recently and sit on a panel discussion she hosted on ethical fashion and what the term really means. Uzma is so passionate and warm, she gifted me one of her beautiful sweatshirts- the horse sweatshirt. The combination of the super soft cotton of the sweatshirt with the embellished rocking horse is like all my childhood and adult dreams rolled into one!
Not only this, but by wearing Uzma Bozai I can stand for a society that I want to be part. A society that says no to the environmental and human abuses of mass made fast fashion and yes, to the appreciation of human value and the skills we have as individuals.
Shop all Uzma’s collections now at uzmabozai.com