From hating everything about fashion to finding a way to turn it into something meaningful… Erin shares her beautiful story and insights with us…
It’s ironic that I sell fashion products. I hate fashion. Or at least, I hate what it’s always represented in my mind.
As a child, I didn’t understand the point of all the rules that people created about the way we “should” look. The best way to agitate me back then was to say, “Are you going to wear that with THAT?” (Cue eye rolling)
In my early 20s, I climbed a mountain. A few days in, I was dirty. Smelly clothes. Oily hair. I sat in the dirt for a few hours that day. I felt (for the first time since I was a toddler) what it was like to just BE.
Nothing to prove.
Nothing to show.
Feelings of self-acceptance, love, and joy came over me. From then on, there was a separation for me between feeling conventionally attractive vs. feeling beautiful and free. I’ll take the latter any day.
That distinction is why I love my now-wrinkly tummy that once enveloped two of the most precious tiny humans on the planet.
It’s why I go in public without makeup and love the signs of age appearing on my face.
It’s why I don’t hide my gray hairs with dye.
It’s why I wear black with brown (or is that in now?).
Don’t get me wrong, I think these practices can actually be really wonderful for other women, but there is something so devastating to me about the thought of anyone being bound by these rules of “beauty” in order to achieve a sense of self-worth.
What if we didn’t depend on the world to tell us we’re good enough? What if we greeted other women with comments about her interests/thoughts/feelings rather than just about what she’s wearing?
I have sometimes intentionally rebelled against beauty expectations because I believe that as a confident woman it’s something I can give other women. I’d like a woman to notice that I am free and happy without wearing makeup and think, “I could do that too if I want to!”
Am I one of those people that just looks glorious with no makeup? Probably not. I don’t really know or care. I do know that people have told me I look tired. Am I confident all the time? No!
I also sometimes rebel against fashion expectations. I wear what makes me happy. In many ways, I just let myself be as I am. It’s easier. It’s comfortable. Most of all, it’s liberating.
One of my visions is seeing our standards of feminine beauty change to be exactly what we already are. And that shopping would be about EMPOWERING, EMBRACING, and ENJOYING who women are meant to be, not striving to look like someone else or a younger, skinnier version of ourselves.
My sister loves fashion.
It’s a creative outlet. To her it’s art. So she knows what’s “in” and I don’t. And I love that about us! We’re equally enjoying life and ourselves in different ways! Ironically, now that I sell and wear Sseko she’s been wanting to borrow my stuff for the first time EVER. So I guess I’m “in” now!
But do I care about being on trend?
I like my Sseko Multiway Shawl because of how the material feels and because I can wear it multiple ways (love minimizing my clothing selection. Less is more).
I love my Ribbon Sandals because they are one of the only sandals I’ve ever found that are comfortable enough for me.
I love Sseko bags because I love the smell of leather, I like how the zippers feel when I zip them, and I have a bright blue one which is my favorite color and reminds me of the ocean.
I like my Brave Jewelry because I wear the laughter piece and it reminds me of the ways I’ve learned how to let go and laugh over the last decade.
But what I LOVE is that these products were made for the purpose of pushing OFF the restrictions that are placed on women. They were made to empower women.
So ok, maybe I am conforming to fashion norms with my super fashion-forward attire now (and not gonna lie, I don’t hate it!), but this pretty shawl I’m wearing wasn’t made for the sole purpose of making me trendy. It was made to change the world, to rebrand what it means to be a woman, to declare that being a woman, exactly as she is, is more than good enough, that she is more than beautiful.
She has a mind.
She has interests.
She has plans.
And this shawl is going to make sure she achieves those plans.
That’s fashion I don’t need to rebel against.
That’s fashion I can love!
If you would like to step into the opportunity that Erin has as a Sseko Fellow, we would love to talk to you!
As a Sseko Fellow, you’ll be part of an incredibly supportive group of women, you’ll get to style and sell stunning fashionable products that make a difference in the lives of women across the globe, and you’ll earn an income for yourself and your family.