Feminism and Fashion: Unlikely Allies

bry flowers

Bry gazes from within springtime brambles. 

“Fashion and clothing and beauty are dumb and capitalistic and exclusionary, but dressing in a way that makes me feel cool and forces other people to take notice is good, and I enjoy it,” said Emma Rosen, posing in front of a tree covered in fragrant white flowers. Emma and Bry Moore and are two of my best friends and are, to me, feminist theory queens. I always seek their advice when I have a question or something I need to work out in my mind. And they are also fashion icons; every outfit they wear inspires me, and they have such creative eyes when it comes to choosing what to wear and how to wear it. They also don’t shy away from color, evident by their multicolored hair and coordinating outfits.

emma lipstick

Emma puts on a bright red lipstick to create a totally monochromatic look.

So I got to thinking, a la Carrie Bradshaw; is intersectional and knowledgeable feminism a contradiction to supporting a historically exploitative and misogynistic industry? (I’m kidding, Carrie would never say something like that). On one hand, fast fashion gives people the affordable opportunity to express themselves in a way they might not otherwise be able to. On the other hand, these cheap clothes are destroying the environment and come at a huge cost for the people producing them. This industry thrives on making people, especially women, feel bad about themselves so they’ll spend money. It’s also exclusionary. “When you don’t look a certain way, not a lot is open to you,” Bry said, straightening out the flower I put behind her ear. “I have to be more creative sometimes.”

IMG_1473

Bry looking like a pastel floral sprite as she stands within lavender flowers. 

That creativity is immediately evident on Bry and Emma due to their vivid hair colors, but manifests itself through their clothing and overall presentation as well. This could serve as an act of rebellion against traditional expectations for what girls and women should look like. It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that buying a certain product or wearing some piece of clothing will make you happier. It won’t. But it’s also fun, and empowering, I think, to prance around a flower garden and get your picture taken while wearing a monochromatic red outfit with Ariel-esque hair (Emma hates the Little Mermaid comparisons, she’s much cooler and wouldn’t trade being a mermaid with aquatic friends and gills for some dude named Eric, but the hair shade is similar–and so cool) or a blue button-up shirt crop top with beautiful fairy-colored hair. Because sometimes you just need to feel good about yourself. And I think that’s totally fine–and fundamentally feminist.

IMG_1302

Emma gets ready to flip her bright red hair, surrounded by a sea of contrasting flowers.

Words and Photos by Taylor Griggs, @griggstaylor3

 

Iris

Name: Iris K.

Major: Public Relations

Minor: Creative Writing

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Santa Cruz, California

iris-full-body

Iris wears a sweater from Cabela’s and jeans from Madewell.

How do you dress differently in Oregon than in Santa Cruz? Well, in Santa Cruz, everyone kind of dresses the same. It’s a uniform of flip-flops, jeans and a sweatshirt. I really wanted to fit in…and I still think I do, and I’m kind of working through that. I think now I do value being comfortable, especially when going to class.

iris-close-up

About her curly blonde hair, Iris said that it “helps people recognize” her from long distances and “makes a great scarf.” 

Do you dress differently based on the weather?  I like cold days when it’s not raining. I have a lot of negative energy with my North Face jacket…This year, I’m really trying to not wear my North Face every single day and create alternative ways to avoid rain. I don’t want to get caught in that rut.

What do you recommend to people looking for ways to get through the rain fashionably? I have started layering a lot, and you don’t really need a raincoat. Like, if it’s sprinkling, you don’t necessarily need a raincoat to go from class to class.

iris-shoes

Her boots are Dr. Martens.

Umbrellas: Yay or nay? I’m from California, so I feel like I can’t really speak on that.

Why is fashion important to you? Well, I’ve noticed that I feel a lot better when I put effort into what I look like. I just feel better when I dress better. I do think it’s important how you present yourself to the world. You can’t deny that people judge other people based on their appearance. You want how you look to reflect how you feel…I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s kind of a work in progress.

iris-headshot

Words and photos by Taylor Griggs, @griggstaylor3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portugal. The Man Provides a Lesson in Creativity

ptm-2

Portugal. The Man plays at WOW Hall on Nov. 19, 2016. Pieces of the set radiate inspiration, including the lead singer’s guitar and the bubble-like fixtures hanging around the stage.

It is immediately apparent that Portland-based band Portugal. The Man values creativity. Its name alone is catchy, but admittedly weird, something that can be said for its music as well. The band takes psychedelic rock for a spin, adding a poppy and memorable twist to the sometimes elusive genre. Some of its work seems incredibly David Bowie-esque, too, especially the science-fiction of “Atomic Man” on its 2013 album “Evil Friends” and singer John Gourley’s impressively androgynous vocals. Bowie’s artistic expression is immeasurable, and Portugal. The Man cites him as one of its greatest influences. To have been even mildly influenced by Bowie shows an aptitude for the creative, and Portugal. The Man certainly has this gift. 

john-gourley-shoes

Lead singer John Gourley wears unique black and white buckled loafers. 

Being in the front row of this concert was a dreamlike experience for me, as both a fan of the band and someone who is constantly looking for inspiration. The colors and lights fused with the omnipresent fog machine to create beautiful rainbow clouds on stage. This was perfect, especially, for “Sea of Air,” the mellow song that opened the encore. Every lyric and chord change confirmed my belief about the group’s ability to be incredibly inventive and musical.

kyleoquin

Kyle O’Quin provides backup vocals and keys for the band. Here, he wears a Ducks jersey that was thrown at him by an audience member. 

Some of the band’s lyrics reveal an undertone of anxiety and sadness, things that I have personally dealt with. The song “Sleep Forever” contains the lyrics, “I just want to sleep forever/Never see tomorrow/Or Lead or follow.” These lines echo a sentiment of lethargy that I am all too familiar with. But this band has cast away potential feelings of despondence and turned them into creative action, an extremely important theme in today’s world. When I spoke to Gourley, he said, “I grew up really shy…I go in and out of being super down on myself and depressed. Music is the most important thing to me…it’s really how you express yourself.” 

ptm4

Gourley’s message resonated with me. My parents never expected me to be a scientist. Instead, creativity was essentially force-fed to me by my mother and father from a very young age. I was constantly left to my own devices, sitting in the audience of a high school auditorium while my mother directed a musical or trying to figure out how to play a guitar while my father worked with musicians in his studio in the other room. Spending so much time watching other people interact creatively inspired my vivid imagination. I constantly persuaded my younger sister and cousins to act in the plays that I wrote, culminating in big performances on the top of the spiral staircase in my grandparents’ house. The audience, made up of my mother, my grandmother and a couple of uncles and aunts, roared with applause in a way that only they could. But creating something that people liked was an addicting feeling, and as an anxious child, I was so lucky to have the means and the supporting environment to be able to express myself. 

ptheman1

As I grew older, I began to understand the tangible effect that creativity had on me. Every choir rehearsal or rough watercoloring session provided me with an escape. Gourley expressed similar ideas. “Most of the  people I know have this side of them that they’re trying to escape from…” he said. “[Creativity] is like an escape for them.” It also lets people forge connections with others, understand their place in the world and stand up for causes that they believe in. In times when things are rocky in the world, creative expression can help people feel as if they have some semblance of control over the greater good. And, oftentimes, creators do have control. Portugal. The Man is among the artists who have influenced me in my life and on my journey. The group’s lyrics overwhelmingly support love and acceptance, without being preachy. “I think it’s important to realize that we’re all the same,” Gourley said. While I think that statement overlooks certain truths in today’s culture, I believe that the sentiment is correct. We are all looking for a way to express ourselves, whether that be with music, drawing or the way we dress. And from the sequin covered guitar strap that Gourley wore to the band’s beautifully crafted and performed songs, this show inspired me to create, turning internal upset into something external that might benefit myself and others.

Words and pictures by Taylor Griggs, @griggstaylor3