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Does Fashion Comes Down to Your Parents’ Genes or Jeans?

Berklee Groove explores how our parent’s fashion ultimately influences our own stylistic choices.

Girl with Micro Braids

DECEMBER 19, 2019

    Edited by Ceskie


    For many, our gateway to fashion began when our parents dressed us as children. And while their fashion choices may or may not have been to our current taste, they have influenced us regardless - either to follow in their footsteps or to develop our own style in contrast. In my case, fashion transcended simple likes or dislikes: it has always been a core factor in maintaining the strong relationship between my mother and I.


    Many fashion designers have been influenced by their parents. Gabriela Hearst, is the sustainable high-end fashion designer of “honest luxury” pieces that are crafted to reflect her time spent in New York and Uruguay. She is famous for her Nina Bag, and most recently received a nomination for the CFDA Womenswear designer of the year. In an interview with the New York Times, she said “I see my father’s style in my designs because I like uniforms. I think having grown up with a man with such a specific look and ideas of what elegance was, makes me think of that all the time.”


    Olympia Le Tan is known for her brand’s classic handbags and minaudières of embroidered book-clutches, seen in the outfits of celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Michelle Willams and Tilda Swinton. In a similar interview with New York Times, she shares that, due to her father, ‘I was surrounded by all his beautiful books, drawings, and objects, which definitely helped me develop my taste and my sense of style.”


    Other fashion icons have given more credit to their mother. Michael Kors, native of New York shares how, in an interview with Vogue, his mother’s stylistic imprint has greatly influenced his design. His website explains how his reputation as a designer has been founded upon his understanding of ‘how women live and how they want to feel in their clothes - confident, at ease, indulged and in control.’ He controls this ‘pragmatism with an unerring sense of chic’. Being coined as the ‘all American sportswear’ fashion house clearly stems from his mother’s ‘sense of style and sporty attitude.’ He explains how this has ‘long inspired my design aesthetic.’


    In the same article with Vogue, Jeremy Scott, founder and creative director of Moschino, makes a more personable point. His mom was ‘always my advocate and never batted an eyelash at the crazy concoctions I would show up with to wear to school.’ School clothing is often a touchy topic, being a critical contestant for popularity within the high-school age group. Scott explains how, “when the school complained about my attire, my mother marched in to their offices and gave them a piece of her mind and shut them down.” In another world, without that support, Scott may have never become what he is today - Moschino may have never been founded.


    Personally, I can’t thank my mother enough for showing me how to dress well at a young age. Some people may not care about what they wear, but at least as an artist, it’s critical. Think Michael Jackson; Beyonce; The Beatles. All three are associated with fashion as a staple to their brand, image and art. A case study is Beyonce - who’s mother has been a critical influence in her costume and fashion design since the beginning of her career. The House of Deréon tributes three generations of women in their family. If anything, this is a prime example of the influence of family upon fashion. g


    Thus, in the season of festivities, here’s a gentle reminder to thank your parents if they influenced your fashion choices. If they didn’t, you can thank them for the genes that allowed you to find your own style! To quote Miuccia Prada, "What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is an instant language." This applies to one’s personal life, and career too. Some food for thought!

    Gabriela Hearst Designed Pants

    CREDIT TO: COURTESY OF GABRIELA HEARST

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