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Expression. Identity. Perception. Confidence. These are all words that come mind when the HCuOttawa Fashion and Beauty Team describes the personal impact that fashion has had on their lives. Clothing, makeup, hair and accessories are different elements that we use to tell a story about ourselves. It is a medium for communication between you and society. You might wear a shirt with the logo of your favourite band because you love their music or a power suit to show the world that you mean business. As we grow and mature, this medium grows and changes with us.

It is confidence in that swipe of fire engine-red lipstick you put on before a big presentation; it is in the beautiful colours of hijabs seen all over campus; it is in the confidence you have when you wear that head turning outfit. Fashion and beauty is personal and being able to share the multidimensional people we are is the basis behind the whole industry. The HCuOttawa Fashion and Beauty team weigh in on what fashion and beauty means to them revealing everything from embarrassing style stories of the past, finding their own fashion identities to discovering confidence.

“For me fashion has always meant confidence and happiness. When I put together a killer outfit, it’s for no one else but myself. It makes me feel confident and the time it takes putting it together is a time where I focus solely on myself. These feelings about fashion all arose after I went through some major self-confidence issues in high school. High school is where a trip to Paris came in. Walking around in Paris you see all sorts of women, styles and fashion. I admired these women not only for the clothes they wore but also for the confidence that came with it. I bought my first designer item in that trip (a vintage coach bag) and from that moment forward, I stopped seeing myself as how others saw me and started to see myself for who I was.”-Leah Dagg, writer

“I know fashion has always been an important part of how I express myself. I like that as my interests and confidence grow I have so many options of clothes, jewelry, and makeup to choose from. Looking back I can see how much the way I dressed reflected the person I was at that point in time. And similarly, I can happily say that my sense of personal style has developed over the years. My thirteen-year-old self still haunts me sometimes. I think the fluidity that fashion allows is what I love most. I can fall in love with a certain trend but completely make it my own.

In terms of beauty, makeup only came into my life toward the end of high school. At first it was just mascara and eyeliner. It wasn’t until university that I really got into lipstick and only within the last year that I started wearing eyeshadow on a regular basis. I feel like makeup and nail polish kind of complete my look but I don’t think I need my nails and face done all the time. I like my face as it is. I think beauty is more about keeping my skin and nails healthy. If my skin looks and feels good then I’m feeling good.”-Kaysey Davis, writer

“When I was little I wanted to be a fashion designer (Kimora Lee Simmons: designer of Baby Phat, was my idol) but I didn’t really start shopping properly until high school. My school had uniforms so when I came to university I didn’t really know how to dress myself properly and my style was a mess. I think in the past 3 to 4 years it has developed massively, and now I’m super into fashion blogging and makeup tutorials on Youtube. I love that fashion is always evolving. I used to love crazy colours and patterns but now I’m much more into neutrals and staples instead of trends. It’s exciting to think of how my fashion choices will change in the next four years. Hopefully I’ll be covered in Burberry one day.”-Bolu Erinoso, writer

“Fashion and beauty to me means expressing your inner personality through unique pieces, textures and shapes. Showing that natural beauty prevails and that everyone is radiant in their own way.”-Olivia Lam, writer

“I think I’ve always loved fashion! The industry is so fascinating to me, I’ve been reading about menswear since the grade nine and I’ve been lurking prominent fashion blogs since grade seven. My personal style has always been an important part of my life because it has always been one of the main ways I express myself creatively. As for beauty, it was a bit of a process for me to get out of my self-conscious shell and embrace myself, but at a certain point I just had a slightly cliché but very pivotal “everyone is beautiful” life moment that helped me overcome that. So in essence, personally, fashion and beauty largely have to do with creative expression and learning to find your aesthetic while releasing personal insecurities in order to embrace every ounce of your grace and style!”-Tamia Thompson, writer

“I feel that fashion is a source of confidence. When I was younger I would copy what some of my friends would wear and that didn’t work out too well for me, because I found I didn’t love Abercrombie and Lululemon as much as they did, so I was forced to find my own style. As I started wearing clothes that I liked people were receptive to that. I felt better in them and my self confidence increased almost exponentially. Now I wear what I want, not because I’m trying to fit into any type of group, but because I love it. Fashion is not about conforming, it’s showing the world who you are because if you don’t, who will?”-Bunmi Adesanya, writer

“Fashion and beauty to me is something expressive, something without bounds. You can wear what you want and be who, or what you want. The moment I was into fashion, I think I respected myself a bit more. I took better care of how I looked, what I wore, what products I bought (that were good for your skin and good for environment, like REN products). Overall I took better care of myself because of my love for fashion and beauty. And it wasn’t necessarily because I cared what others thought of me, but rather I felt more confident, and I respected myself enough to buy the clothes and products I actually loved. Fashion and beauty gave me the stepping stone of happiness that I needed to move forward. I think of fashion and beauty as the first time you strut through the halls in gorgeous heels, and you feel like the baddest bitch out there.”-Madison Von Eiksen Bursey, assistant editor of Fashion and Beauty

Fashion, to me, is about way more than clothing. It’s a means of expression in a way that can be manipulated to your own personal style. It changes and it evolves until you find a style that suits YOUR personality. Once you find that style, it becomes a beautiful art form unique to yourself.-Ravneet Bhogal, editor of Fashion and Beauty 

Opinions about beauty are coloured by perception and while that might vary from person to person, confidence is universal. So go ahead, wear what you want and express how you feel, with the confidence that comes from your own individuality. 

Credits: 1 2

My name is Bunmi Adesanya. I am a third year health science student at the University of Ottawa who considers cookie dough a food group, and believes Beyonce is my spirit animal.
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