California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Functional Fashion: What Women Want From their Clothing

At the 2017 Met Gala, Priyanka Chopra wore a trench coat-style dress with an extensively long train that took two helpers and a bus to transport all the fabric to the venue. The Ralph Lauren gown converted into a mini dress so Chopra could attend parties later that night without having to drag the train behind her all night.

While this convenient feature proved useful at the Met Gala, functional fashion should be the standard for all women, not just celebrities attending high-end events.

Womenโ€™s fashion should not be designed specifically for sex appeal. Fashion needs to mirror the modern-day woman, who is an active professional in the fast-paced business world.

The archaic and limiting notion that women should only be dressing in tight clothing and heels is something society needs to leave behind. Womenโ€™s clothes can be comfortable, practical and visually appealing. This is not a mutually exclusive situation.

The high heel has long been a staple of the traditional feminine look. Haley Pavone is changing the game.

Pavone is the CEO and creator of Pashion Footwear. The San Luis Obispo-based company produces high heels that convert into flats. This simple, yet revolutionary idea is the perfect example of what women should have access to: options.

After learning about the shoes,ย  Kimberly Lee, a junior and the president of the Cal Lutheran club โ€˜But Make it Fashion,โ€™ said they are good for โ€œwomen that still want to wear heels at work, but have a commute, and have to do stuff. They have to pick up their kids, they have to cook, they have to go get dinner, they have to run errands after work.โ€

Pavone got the idea to create the shoes at her 2016 sorority spring formal. She took off her 6-inch heels to dance on the dance floor, and was injured when another student stepped on her bare foot. Pavone realized that women have few options when it comes to shoes. If you want to wear heels, you have to endure the pain, bring a change of shoes or go barefoot.

The typical high heel design is compressed wood fiber with a metal rod to hold the shoeโ€™s shape. Pavone, who received a B.A. in entrepreneurship at California Polytechnic State University, wanted to do things differently.

The soles for her convertible heels are made in an athletic factory and use injection molding. This manufacturing process, combined with the traditional upper straps, make a shoe that embodied Pavoneโ€™s goal: a shoe that is professional, stylish and sexy, without sacrificing practicality and comfortability.

The societal pressure for women to look sexy has existed for years and is only amplified with social media.

โ€œThen along came cell phones with built-in cameras. And and Facebook and Twitter. Suddenly, you werenโ€™t just that one tiny picture, you were every picture anyone might happen to want to snap, and to post and pin and share, images that would be tweeted and retweeted, scrutinized and commented uponโ€ฆ,โ€ Jennifer Weiner, writer for the New York Times, said.

Despite the pressure to look perfect, Lee and Pavone both see a shift in womenโ€™s fashion trends.

โ€œI feel like more women feel more in charge of what is on their body and what they can wear,โ€ Lee said.

She believes that fashion is important because it is an artistic way to express yourself.

Pavone attributes the shift to women becoming more involved in the design process. Pavone explained that when her company conducted market research, they found that many of the big power players in womenโ€™s fashion are men: Michael Kors, Dolce and Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren to name a few.

She believes that since men do not interact with the product they are creating on a daily basis, the design of heels has refused to change. The male designers are focusing on the aesthetic instead of function.

Women should look good and feel good without having to compromise on comfort.

โ€œItโ€™s a matter of finding what you like and what makes you feel comfortable and confident. I think thatโ€™s the most important thing,โ€ Lee said.

Designers like Pavone show that practical fashion is the future. Her convertible heels are formally launching in June.

Sophie Zepf

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