Vogue Scribe Christian Allaire’s New Book ‘The Power of Style’ Explores Fashion as Empowerment
Christian Allaire is a genuine trailblazer. As person of indigenous descent (he is Ojibwe), he rarely saw role models during his adolescence who shared his cultural or ethnic heritage, as his passion for fashion began to blossom. Since then, he has has transformed his role as a high-profile style/fashion writer for Vogue, Elle, Refinery29, etc., into a platform to bring diverse ethnic and cultural designs, and their designers, to prominence.
It should come as no surprise then that this media maverick has just penned a book, The Power of Style (Annick Press), which makes the case that fashion and beauty are a force for cultural activism and inclusivity. In Allaire’s words, “Style isn’t just the clothes on our backs or makeup on our faces – it is self-expression, representation, and transformation.” For this ambitious work, as revelatory as it is gorgeously realized, he profiles 30 designers, models, and entrepreneurs who use fashion and beauty as a means of empowerment, with the act of creating clothing, accessories, and even various beauty techniques becoming a way to reclaim and celebrate their identities.
The colorful, boldly presented chapters include topics such as indigenous cultural tradition in fashion; hair and identity; cosplayers and body positivity; hijab fashion on Muslim women’s own terms; men’s high heels; and makeup as self-expression.
While elements of traditional designs from have been borrowed, or in his view “misappropriated,” by mainstream fashion labels, he has worked to remedy that by ensuring that indigenous and ethnic designers receive the coverage they deserve based on their merits. His influence has been nothing short of breathtaking, veritably redefining the way we view heritage within the context of fashion, and inspiring the industry to a new level of conscious awareness.
Of course, with social and racial inequality at the forefront of American discourse right now, the themes presented by Allaire in The Power of Style challenge the reader to think critically and to reconsider their own responsibility when it comes to making fashion choices. And he eloquently urges those who have ever felt second class, invisible or marginalized to take pride in their own cultural backgrounds.
By the end of this equally edifying and uplifting read, we come to understand both the symbolism and substance of the wide range of cultures covered, literally allowing for the opportunity of a new enlightenment through fashion.
“This book is for anyone who has never felt represented,” he writes, “who has felt inferior or less beautiful, and who has questioned their roots.”
And what could be more relevant, even urgent right now?