5 Fashion-Centric Creators You Need to Watch on YouTube
Looking at the politics of fashion and sometimes making memes of it all.
Despite my countless hours as a preteen watching fashion shows like Project Runway, What Not To Wear, and (the even more problematic) America’s Next Top Model, I’m not, in fact, a fashion guru. (I’m just as shocked.) However, despite my own questionable personal choices to clothes, I never stopped being an avid watcher of fashion content with some air of formal-ish criticism and social commentary. This interest has escalated into the beautiful world of fashion YouTube creators in the last few years.
So, I’d like to share some of the best with you! To help me narrow down this list, I’ve decided to focus on people whose content is 50% or more related to fashion and/or costuming. My favorites give historical context, political implications, depictions in art (from paintings to movies), and grace to the individual. Also, no hate because the TheSorryGirls came through in the making of my little sister Maleficent’s costume several years back, but these will not include DIY or tutorial channels.
Known as the meme-queen of historical fashion YouTube, Karolina is a must on any list of fashion creators on YouTube. The Polish YouTuber has done it all and more in historical European fashion videos, sometimes even twice (with a new tone or perspective). In addition to gender, she also looks critically at class and the everyday fashion afforded to women.
My favorite videos include Analyzing The Strawberry Dress Phenomenon, Rating Barbie Movies Costumes on Historical Accuracy, and Real Women – Beauty Through The Decades The Realistic Way. Recently, Karolina and the following entry to this list took part in the video Reacting to Vogue’s “Everything You Need to Know About the Corset” cause we haven’t suffered enough on the fantastic Abby Cox’s channel.
Mina’s videos consist of fashion and film analysis, but fashion and the politics of dress are always front and center. After a September 2020 video in which she rated the historical accuracy of the Disney Princess dresses, the algorithm gods blessed her channels. In every video, she cites her sources and includes excerpts of interviews, academic papers, novels/scripts, etc. My favorite videos are Why Don’t Clothes Fit?, Explaining the “Old Money Aesthetic,” and Lana Del Rey: The Pitfalls of Having a Persona.
I debated putting Shanspeare on this list because, these days, people don’t know her for her fashion content. Her first 15-ish videos posted back in June 2020 consist of lookbooks, outfit ideas, and dressing like college major types of videos. I first found Shanspeare’s channel when the critically panned Winx Club reboot was all the rage, and she did a costume redesign using the original animated series as the source of her inspiration.
Even as she’s focused more on specific topics regarding feminity and women’s depiction in media, fashion usually plays an essential role in each video. My favorite videos are 12 Going on 21: The End of the Tween Era, Gender Performativity and the Surveillance of Womanhood, and The Disappearance of the Individual Black Woman: How We Became a Political Mascot.
Xiran Jay Zhao
Like Shanspeare, Xiran focuses on a topic (in this case, Chinese history), and fashion and gender are a big part of the discussion. Some of their videos focus on fashion with political and historical context added (like How I Do My Chinese Opera Inspired Look). In contrast, others focus on history, and fashion remains an essential point of discussion in their videos (like Everything Culturally Right and Wrong With Mulan 1998.) With few exceptions (like food and poems), much of Xiran’s content involves looking at visual work in movies, shows, and stage performances.
Other than their aforementioned videos (and ones linked), another fave includes the very collaborative (three-parter, totaling five hours) How Disney Commodifies Culture – Southeast Asians Roast Raya and the Last Dragon.
Of everyone on this list, I will say Micarah is not for everyone. However, I love her work and her mini traveling farm. Her videos are the most glorious chaos, and you learn more of what-not-to-do. (Like making a dress with a blindfold.) Many of her videos are deep cuts to previous videos, but the best places to get a taste of her mayhem are Turning a couch into fashion! and I DIY’d Award Shows Looks for Cheap.
I know I said no DIY, and (in most situations), while she provides minimal instructions, they’re not really the kind of detailed instructions intended for viewers to follow along with. They’re more similar to an average 7-year-old giving you instructions, so that doesn’t really count? She’s obviously very witty and crafty, but also, you’re going to have to make a lot of guesses if you try to follow along with her videos yourself.
Who did I miss? Who are some of your favorite fashion-related YouTube channels, and why?
(image: 20th Century Fox)
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