O n October 23, Brock Fashion HQ held their second annual “Expressions” event at Isaac’s. The event included a panel, mixer and after-party to discuss the topic of self-expression.
“We are going two years strong now which I am very proud of,” said Kidisha Joseph, founder of Brock Fashion HQ. “What inspired me to start the Brock Fashion HQ was that I knew a lot of student designers who were up and coming but never had a platform to showcase their designs and their creativity. I thought, ‘How can someone with so much creativity just go unnoticed?’ Art is a very beautiful thing, whatever form it comes in. There are so many different forms and I felt like fashion was very under appreciated.”
Brock Fashion HQ presents a new outlook on an old concept. What really is fashion? Does it go beyond just looking good in the clothes you wear? Brock Fashion HQ’s questioning of fashion’s definition is what makes it unique and important to have on campus.
“Living here for four years, I hadn’t really seen much acceptance in the fashion industry,” said Joseph. “Kudos to Brock U Style who does a really good job going around and finding out what students buy on a regular basis and what style means to them, but [to me] fashion is a coming into your own; having people feel confident and comfortable themselves and not thinking that fashion is about name brands. It is really about your identity, who you are and how you want people to perceive you. You can also work within your means. In regards to people not being noticed, it was all about creating a platform for up and coming designers, bloggers, photographers, you name it. We want to give them a place to showcase their talents.”
Brock Fashion HQ, although a recent addition to the Brock community, is already setting out to make change at Brock. The club was founded with a mission that goes beyond preconceived notions of fashion so that it can build confidence and inspire creativity.
“A lot of people think of fashion as just people wearing clothes,” said Joseph. “Nobody really pays attention to the actual issues in fashion or how much of an impact fashion actually has on our day to day lives. Unfortunately, people do judge us based on how we look, but building that inner confidence and knowing who you are as a person is more important. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. We want people to be able to look past the exterior to see the great people inside.”
To this end, Joseph and the rest of Brock Fashion HQ created “Expressions”, an event for sharing ideas and opinions relating to the true nature of fashion and not just fine clothing.
“The idea behind Expressions is to talk about the controversial issues in regards to not only fashion but also what society, the media and pop-culture have to say about it as well,” said Joseph. “All those things interplay with one another and there are a lot of times when we are passive and accept what the world says about fashion. They say that they should be the ones defining what fashion is for us, when really, we should be the ones defining what fashion is. This is an event where we can allow people to come into their own and express their thoughts and opinions. There will be a lot of touchy questions and issues for the panellists to discuss. Let’s not be passive anymore. Let’s actually address these issues.”
The panel included representatives of the fashion community in the student body at Brock and the event held a lot of great discussions regarding the various dynamics of fashion from the various perspectives of the panellists. This year’s panel consisted of four student representatives, which included BUSU President Kyle Rose and Runda Dong from “The Hype”, to name a few.
“This panel was hand picked and is full of students who aren’t afraid to talk about the issues in an open and safe environment like this,” said Joseph. “It’s just a really good variety of people with very different experiences and walks of life”
Joseph and her team are still young as a club, but they are gaining ground at Brock and in the community. Alongside the “Expressions” event, the club also holds an annual fashion show called Panorama and DIY fashion workshops throughout the year.
“Our DIY workshops are where we teach people simple ways to revamp the old clothes in their closet,” said Joseph. “As students, we’re all living on a budget and it’s really important to make do with what you have, so these workshops help people to feel confident in what they have. To allow people to be creative for themselves. We really want to push the creativity in people. It’s less about what fashion is and more about what fashion should be.”
In addition to the events they currently hold each year, Brock Fashion HQ also has many new projects in the works for the benefit of Brock and the community.
“We would also like to start a donation charity come winter time,” said Joseph. “The idea behind it is that people can donate the clothes they don’t want to our charity and we would give it to the people in the local community who don’t have the things we have. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We all have things that we can give away so why not give back to the community.”
The work that goes into planning these events would have been impossible if not for the Brock Fashion HQ team and Kidisha Joseph’s own love for the task.
“Starting this last year was hectic,” said Joseph. “It was an unknown environment just like anything you start for the first time. It was definitely a learning experience. Suddenly time management and not being afraid to ask questions becomes very important. It’s always going to be a lot of pressure but now I look forward to it. I like doing this.”
Last year’s event was also put on by Joseph and her team, and also produced the kind of event the team was hoping to create: when passionate people in the industry can come together to discuss the field deeply and freely.
“Last year we had it at Detour and it was really good,” said Joseph. “Everyone was really engaged and asked a lot of questions to the panel. We like to give the audience a chance to ask their own questions and state their own opinions on the topics. We want people to feel comfortable discussing things that need to be addressed. We weren’t expecting a large turn out but we wanted the event to have a certain intimacy to it, which we got. We do want more people to take an interest in these topics though.”
Those who attend the “Expressions” events in the future will also have the opportunity to have more personal conversations after the panel during the mixer and the after party. This also provides attendees the chance to get the most out of their night by networking with others interested in the fashion scene.
“It’s a panel, mixer and after party,” said Joseph,“Last year we had a very diverse panel so everyone had different areas of knowledge which lead to lots of intense discussion. The after party helps people relax after the discussion. It’s a great way to network as well. We attract a lot of people who like to think and don’t mind voicing their opinions. Lots of the people here are going places in their lives so it’s great to have an opportunity to network with them.”
This year’s event was an eye-opener to the many issues in the fashion world. A variety of topics and opinions filled the night with discussion. Most importantly of all was the night’s ability to convey the simple message that is most central to the Brock Fashion HQ: fashion is about confidence in yourself no matter who you are or what your style is.
“I just want people to look past the idea that fashion is about looking a certain way,” said Joseph. “I want to establish a new identity of what fashion is at Brock. Having people be confident in themselves is something that I am passionate about. We don’t just want to raise the confidence of women but men as well. We cater to both genders and all other demographics. We don’t want anyone to feel left out. Everyone should be confident in what they have and how they look… We hope that moving forward a lot of people latch on to the idea of what this is about.”
For more info, check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/brockfashionhq