I design for the ‘Future Lady’ a muse that I invented to represent what dignity, grace, femininity, and power look like on a woman of the contemporary world. Fashion is always aspirational. In today’s world, what do we aspire to?Edeline Lee, Designer
25 February 2019
Fashioning the image of the nurse
What uniforms tell us about women and power. Anne Marie Rafferty speaks at London Fashion Week
Fashion itself is an arena where women are always seen, seldom heard. As a response, designer Edeline Lee launched her Autumn/Winter 2019 collection at London Fashion Week in February with a collection of women’s voices from a range of different professions and viewpoints.
Drawing inspiration for her collection for the ‘Future Lady’ from Professor Dame Mary Beard’s Women & Power: A Manifesto, Edeline Lee’s event featured 35 prominent women delivering orations rooted in their personal experience and expertise. Among the speakers was Anne Marie Rafferty, Professor of Nursing Policy at King’s and President of the Royal College of Nursing.
In her oration, Fashioning the image of the nurse – what uniforms tell us about women and power, Anne Marie spoke of how nurses embody the contradictions of women and power – both literally and symbolically, through their image and the details of their uniform.
‘Perhaps there is something deeply ambivalent about nurses’ and, hence, women’s relationship to power, which is woven into the fabric of their uniforms and the twin traditions of religion and the military, to which they owe their roots?’
Citing examples of the different representations of nurses through time, Anne Marie reflected that ‘if uniform remains an index for women and power, perhaps we need to reclaim this power by thinking more carefully about our own image?
And, though the fashion industry and nursing may seem miles apart, perhaps, in a strange way, a setting like this is the perfect place to begin?’