The name Hadley Freeman isn’t one that makes the world’s top fashion fundis prick up their ears or the paparazzi reach for their cameras; she’s not a model, a designer or even a fashion-conscious Hollywood starlet. She is however, one of the most insightful modern voices in the UK fashion industry today. The New York-born fashion author and columnist writes about so much more than clothes, labels and the people who wear them; she tackles some of the most pressing social issues in society today, among them feminism, body image, misogyny and the meaning behind our everyday style choices and obsessions.
High Heels and Ideals
Hadley Freeman attended Oxford University and served as an editor for the institute’s independent newspaper Cherwell, before becoming a columnist for The Guardian and a regular contributor to UK Vogue. She also penned an insightful book about fashion, titled The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable, which was first published in 2008. Today, her popular Guardian column, Ask Hadley, responds to a range of sartorial queries from readers; topics vary from how to raise happy, healthy daughters, to the best Christmas gift to give a fashion-conscious teenager without bowing to exploitative trends, to musings on whether it’s considered unfeminist to wear high heels. (In case you were wondering, Ms Freeman sees nothing inherently sexist about high heeled shoes unless they are shouting up at the wearer Go and make us a cup of tea will you love?)
Life, Style and Lifestyle
When she’s not answering fashion and lifestyle queries, Hadley Freeman explores the bigger issues behind these common conundrums in articles for The Guardian and New Statesman. Is fashion photography empowering or exploitative? Should The Sun pull its notorious Page 3? Is it acceptable for grown women to dumb themselves down by wearing childish ensembles and accessories? Freeman discusses all this and more with a great deal of wit and insight.
Hadley also delves into our obsessions with celebrities and their influence on our fashion and lifestyle choices. She recently examined a GQ interview with Beyonce Knowles, where the singer spoke about important equality is while posing for the accompanying photo shoot wearing next to nothing, and wrote a short but hard-hitting piece commenting on how Anne Hathaway’s Le Mis role recognises her extreme weight loss and hair cut before recognising her acting or singing talents. For those of us who find the daily media onslaught dictating what we should wear and how we should look a little too much to handle, a voice like that of Hadley Freeman is truly a breath of fresh air.