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Kylie Bollwitt

Clothing In Context

A true fashionista knows that the prime of the season only comes around a
couple times a year, and it flashes by like a blink of an eye. Whether it be Vogue's
special September edition making its yearly debut or the astonishing weeks of
liberating fashion being presented on the runways in all the major fashion hubs;
August and September are sure to blow any creative mind. Being up to date with
the fashion industry makes my personal styling process, each year, more difficult
to top then the next. You see, a true trend-setter can never wear the same thing
twice. Each event requires a completely new and uniquely selected outfit. That
being said, working backstage for Omaha Fashion Week as their talent manager;
in which I had to have amazing outfits for every night of showings led me to the
discovery of my self-identity in fashion.
“In the process of socialization, acquiring a self-identity is influenced by the
combination of categories to which an individual belongs.” (Workman & Freeburg,
2009, pg.13) Finding my identity did not come as easily as I would have expected.
It took a lot of trial and error to realize who I was and what I wanted to portray
with every outfit I arranged. It was not just about my clothing, it was about what
my clothing was saying about me and the overall presentation I wanted to convey.
“Appearance management is a process of identity expression.” (Workman &
Freeburg, 2009, p.13) If my appearance proclaimed many messages all at once; I
wanted to be sure that my intended message was successfully received, in that it
would demand attention.

Finding the perfect ensemble to claim the attention in the room is like
finding a needle in a haystack. When hunting for each individual look, I catered
my garments to be in tune with the theme of the showings for each particular
night. I plan this way because, I looked like I belonged without looking like I'm
trying too hard. Not only do I plan my looks on the themes of the night, but I do
research on what is bold, fresh and new in the industry. I added my quirky and
playful sense of style here and there with fun accessories and stand out
hairstyles. After successfully finding 7 jaw-dropping, red carpet walking getups, I
pondered on which will leave the best impression and thus extract a superlative
reaction from my peers.
The red carpet was waiting, cameras were flashing, people were gossiping
and drinks were being poured. The time of my revealing had arrived. I wore my
hair in a frontward bouffant, smokey eyes with long lash extensions and bright red
lip shine. I sported a strappy black dress with a tutu cut skirt and polished, opentoed red booties. I stepped onto the red carpet and demanded the attention of all
onlookers. I expected an immediate reaction and that was precisely what I
received. Instant gratification in the form of gasps and oh's and ah's filled every
corner. I felt on top of the world; confident and sexy. “The dramas and the
headaches and the battles are all eclipsed by the thrill of that great collaborative
moment when a perfect storm of editor, photographer, model, clothes, hairstylist
and makeup artist, environment and concept come together to create and image
that captures the moment, and may-who knows?- even have a life after fashion.”
(Bowles, 2012, p. 518) I relate my stress of assembling the perfect styles for
Omaha Fashion Week to this quote because, even though it was stressful, the

payoff is ever-so sweet in success. If I could have stayed locked in that moment
forever, I would have. I rocked the runway, because I embraced who I was. My
self-identity rushed through the room and everyone could see me for me.
I developed my dress through my own style preferences mixed with what
the industry deemed trendy. Not only that, but I carefully thought about what was
morally right and sound as well as my environmental surroundings before making
any concrete decisions about my attire. My dress choices at Omaha Fashion Week
left a remarkable impact on my life. In one single moment I knew my destiny
would be fulfilled within the innovating world of fashion. I was able to express
myself through clothing in ways I never thought possible. Fashion was, is and will
always be my creative avenue in self-expression and I continue to learn more and
more about myself each day, as I press deeper into finding my true self-identity.

Bowels, H. (2012, September). Agent Provacateaurs. Vogue, 202 (9). p.518.
Workman, J.E., & Freeburg, B.W. (2009) Dress and Society. (p.13) New York:
Books Inc.

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