Bridging the gap between fashion and feminism with Deja Lynch

Feb 25, 2021 | Interviews

Deja Lynch is just like the rest of us. She’s a jewellery lover, always with her airpods and looks up to Telfar Clemens. But beyond fashion and outfits, Deja has a passion for activism with hopes of using her background in political science to help educate others. 

Hey Deja! What are some essential day items you always use?

I’d have to say my jewellery, I love to have my stack every fit. I barely change my jewellery, I love it. Also my phone, my airpods, I always have music playing and a handy little shoulder bag or tote bag. 

What is a typical day in your life like?

I probably wake up, then I check TikTok always, I start off with it. And it puts me in a good mood. Then I’ll just get up and get dressed, then I’ll go thrifting if it’s a source day for me because I do Depop as well. I’ll come home and check my emails, do the listings, just the boring stuff. I was a student before Covid hit and then I graduated and I’ve been doing social media since.

How did you get your start on TikTok?

I started because I was bored and I graduated into Covid, so it wasn’t the best job market. I’ve always kind of been in fashion, I worked in retail and did fashion merchandising in high school so it wasn’t new to me necessarily. I started posting because all of my friends told me I had cute outfits but I never formally sought out to post about it on Instagram. I’m just doing it because it’s fun and also because I had already been doing Depop, so I started consciously advertising my Depop on my TikTok. 

For me it’s an outlet and I never intended for it to get as big as it is now. I can’t imagine it getting further but growing my depop because of my tiktok is really amazing. I don’t know what I would be doing if I weren’t doing this right now. 

I can tell that you’ve got a great eye for fashion, where did this love for fashion come from?

Yeah it was kind of a growth overall because I feel like a lot of children say they want to be fashion designers, I don’t think that’s a gnarly thing to dream to be. I was lucky enough to have fashion courses at my school so I got to see the business side of it and it was partnered with FIDM. It was cool, it was when I really saw the potential for merchandising and styling in that way. At that point I had realised I probably wasn’t going to be a designer because I didn’t really know how to draw and all that but I loved to shop and style. 

Also as a child, I was always watching Raven-Symoné because she was the only fashionable Black girl on TV and I thought “Oh my god, I wanna be her”. I guess that was a concrete idol I had in terms of fashion.

Speaking of fashion idols, are there any designers and brands that you are a huge fan of?

Of course I look up to Telfar Clemens, he’s just amazing. I ordered my first Telfar last week and it’s amazing to watch Black people going out there and making fashion their own. The fact people are calling it the Brooklyn Birkin is amazing. Also Gypsy Sport representing the LGBTQ+ community doing their thing. It’s just having a large diversity and approaching fashion in a more accessible way than typical brands approach it. Sometimes fashion has an elitist attitude but Telfar and Gypsy combat that which I love.

What goes through your mind when you think about an outfit?

I think I approach it with an idea or a mood that’s more abstract. For me it’s more like what am I going to portray, like putting on a different personality through my outfits. I don’t think I have a specific sort of style and I’d say that my style is very fluid. Usually I’ll be inspired by TV shows or something I’ve seen that day but I usually have a mood or aesthetic that I’m going for rather than styling for a specific piece. 

People can get kind of held up on having a certain aesthetic but fashion is supposed to be expressive and fun so I like to switch it up.

Oooh, what are your favourite TV shows to watch for fashion?

As far as fashion, of course Sex and The City is always going to be on the top of the list, Girlfriends is the Black 90s version of it that I’ve been watching so much, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Parkers… There’s so many, I feel like any older TV series is a good one. I guess a modern one would be High Fidelity with Zoë Kravitz on Netflix.

I’ve got to check Girlfriends out!

On a more serious note, I know that you were a political science major, do you have any takeaways from your studies?

I think that because politics is such a strict field to go into, being and having this expressive side helped me because I was able to break the mould that I guess poli-sci students have. On TikTok I have done political and educational content and I could see that being more expressive in the political realm was something that people didn’t see. 

Not to mention, if someone followed me for fashion they can also see my content surrounding body positivity or Black Lives Matter or an issue that I’m more well versed on because of my poli-sci background, then I’m glad I get to do so with my platform. 

It’s clear that if you follow me I’m Black, it’s clear that if you follow me I’m a woman, it’s clear that if you follow me I’m a plus size woman or whatever you want to call me. I feel like I have a duty to bring up issues that are important to me because it wouldn’t feel right gaining clout or profiting from it. I’m glad I have the background and because I’ve studied it, I think I can present it in a way that might be intriguing to people who may not have thought of it that way. 

On top of that, what is something you wish people would be more understanding about?

I think I would wish that even though I’m liberal and I talk about politics in a brash way or because I align myself with certain groups and people that it doesn’t dictate my entire life. I still make mistakes, I’m still a person, I still have ideas that are different. I worked with a brand and made a video that was all about feminism and I was shaving my armpits. Someone in my comments asked me if I was anti-capitalist and I felt like they were trying to put me in a box and I thought, I’m just a person. Just because I don’t fit the mould of what you think a liberal person does doesn’t mean I’m not. It’s probably just because you haven’t seen it done in this way before.

All of these notions that we have in our heads about what’s right and expectations is bogus. Do what you want, do what feels comfortable and no one else really cares. That’s what I want my followers to take away.

What is feminism to you?

I think it’s fostering and gaining agency as women. Sometimes we can have ideas on what a feminist should do, what they should look like but it’s just as oppressive as what men, the system or the patriarchy would have of us. It doesn’t make it better that a woman is oppressing us. Feminism is about doing what you want and ensuring other people have agency to do what they want as well. 

What do you think the fashion industry could improve on in terms of these movements?

I think what the fashion industry doesn’t understand is that making a t-shirt about Black Lives Matter or gay rights or feminism isn’t helping the cause at all. It’s performative and they’re profiting off of it. There are so many levels they could work on to make the fashion industry more integrated and less as shown. As a fat woman, as a plus size woman when I see the same token fat girl in every campaign, it’s not inclusive and progressive. I think they should stop giving us little crumbs of progressiveness. They need to hire more people of colour, more body types and hire more people that will relate to these causes.

Follow Deja on Instagram, TikTok and watch her on YouTube

By Anna Lowe