Fanshawe Fashion: What does your style say about you?

Header image for the article Fanshawe Fashion: What does your style say about you? Credit: ILHAN ADEN
Three students describe what fashion means to them, as well as their inspiration for their style and how it fits into their Fanshawe student experience. From left to right: Amina Dimassi, Jihan Ali and Tehatsistahawi Kennedy.

Fashion has always been an integral part of my identity since I put together my first outfit at the age of 16.

It has quickly become my favourite part of the day and my outlet for creative expression. My outfits have and always will represent more than just fabric on my body; it’s an intimate look into how I am feeling. Fashion is a statement meant to represent your thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs.

This is the key motivating factor in seeking out the creative minds behind some of the highly inspirational outfits I see on campus daily. And with that came the inception of Fanshawe Fashion, a biweekly column meant to highlight the creativity behind the clothing.

With fashion being so versatile, what it means to everyone can vary greatly. I spoke with Jihan Ali, a second year business student, Tehatsistahawi Kennedy, a first year student in the child and youth care program and Amina Dimassi, a first year student in the chemical laboratory technician program, to better understand them as people through their fashion.

When asked what fashion means to them, they all agreed it’s a means to express oneself.

“It’s presenting yourself out to the world the way you justify as right. It’s my confidence, it’s my passport, it’s my shield to the world,” said Ali.

For Dimassi, it’s “allowing people to see your inside thoughts and how you feel”. For Kennedy, fashion reflects on the history of his family.

During my interviews, family and its impact on personal style became a running theme. All three students draw from their family for inspiration on their style.

Kennedy spoke about his background and its influence on his fashion.

“The majority of my lineage comes from Indigenous backgrounds of Canada. My grandfather on my mother’s side came from farmers.”

Like Kennedy, Dimassi said she pulls inspiration mostly from family and friends.

“I try to look around their fashion and incorporate what I think looks nice,” she said.

Ali’s father is a major influence on her style development.

“He taught me what quality is in clothing, he taught me what fabrics are, he taught me what goes together, he taught me about colours, he taught me about everything,” Ali said, adding that her father’s upbringing and choice in career also played a pivotal role with her taste in fashion. “He had a restaurant and lived in Italy…a lot of his fashion sense came from that. But even before that, back in Somalia he was very Italian with his taste.”

With family having this level of impact it’s no surprise fashion has integrated into each of their Fanshawe student experience.

When asked how his fashion fits into his experience at Fanshawe, Kennedy said, “that’s definitely the first thing people notice, a lot of people compliment the overalls”. You can explore more of Kennedy’s influences on his creativity through his art work found on his Instagram page @tsista.kennedy.

Both Dimassi and Ali said they try to incorporate their love of fashion into their studies.

Currently a freelance makeup artist, Ali hopes to make a name for herself within the beauty industry using her Fanshawe business background. She said her overall look goes with whatever her makeup looks like, and finding an outfit that works with that.

“I don’t have a problem with how my fashion will fit into the beauty industry. It’s more so how the beauty industry will fit into my fashion,” she said when asked how she will translate her sense of style in her field. You can see more of her merging her fashion, makeup and business mind on her Instagram page @luulalookxs.

Dimassi’s focus is more to represent the other half of the students who may not feel like they can take their time to make themselves feel good before going to class in the morning. Her motto is, “if you look good you feel good, and you need that”.

In her program as a chemical laboratory technician, she is mostly in lab coats. However, that doesn’t stop her from adding her flair for fashion in her workspace with a nice scrunchie or watch.

“I can still show my ankles and wrists, so I try to add some anklets,” she said.

Fashion is a personal choice that intersects into many segments of our lives as shown by Dimassi, Kennedy and Ali’s experience. Its development, influence and representation allows for the growth of an identity, one in which may help you figure out where you fit in this world. And with that I leave you with one question, what does your style say about you?