Big picture: You are what you wear?

Photo by Sean Michael; designer Karina Michel; text by Carolyn Mair. Download PDF for poster.

Fashion designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers interact to produce an important global industry that employs millions of people worldwide. We buy, wear and dispose of clothes. Some design, make and sell; others collect, display, recycle and up-cycle. Our clothing affects our self-esteem and confidence as well as influencing people’s perceptions of us, and even their cognitive abilities (see Hajo & Galinsky, 2012, on enclothed cognition). 

This image was taken from Fashioning the Future 2009, a global student competition recognising the next generation of fashion designers and practitioners. It’s conceived and delivered by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion ( The college is committed to its ‘Better Lives’ agenda, using fashion to drive debate and change the way we live with the aim of developing a more ethical fashion industry concerned with promoting well-being through fashion.

Fashion is without doubt a fascinating and important aspect of our lives. And fashion, like psychology, is inherently concerned with behaviour.

Before becoming an academic (I am now a Chartered Psychologist), I worked as a visual merchandiser, graphic designer, dress maker and portrait artist. Now I’m developing the first ever Psychology and Fashion master’s programme, to start in 2014 at the London College of Fashion. For more information contact me on [email protected].

Hajo, A. & Galinsky, A.D. (2012). Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 918–925.

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