The much-anticipated fourth season of Netflix’s hit British teen dramedy, “Sex Education,” has arrived, and it’s not just the storyline that’s evolving.
Sex Education Season 4, the students of Moordale Secondary School find themselves in an entirely new setting, quite literally. In Season 3, Moordale was sold to developers, and now a new school has taken center stage: Cavendish College.
Sex Education Season 4
Cavendish College seems to offer everything a student could dream of. From an indoor slide to daily meditation, silent discos, sound baths, and yoga sessions for mental health, it’s a paradise of modern amenities.
Each student is equipped with a tablet, tote bag, and reusable water bottle, and the school’s motto is refreshingly simple: “Why be mean when you could be green?” “It’s like Amsterdam,” Otis (Asa Butterfield) marvels, with Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) adding, “But in space.” It’s a gossip-free zone, and as Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) quips, “This is different.” That’s quite an understatement.
Evolving Characters in a New Environment
Gossip has always been integral to the show, starting when Adam (Connor Swindells) inadvertently exposed Otis as a “sex freak” to the entire school after discovering his mother Jean’s (Gillian Anderson) extensive collection of sexual paraphernalia scattered around their house.
Jean, a professional sex therapist, has inadvertently given her son an exceptional education in all things related to sex. This knowledge led Otis to start an underground sex therapy clinic at school with Maeve (Emma Mackey), setting in motion the narrative that has unfolded over the past three seasons.
Navigating Adulthood Amidst New Challenges
In Season 4, the beloved characters from “Sex Education” – Otis, Eric, Aimee, Maeve, Ruby, Jackson, Viv, Cal, and others – find themselves somewhat adrift in their new surroundings at Cavendish. Despite the school’s impressive facilities, it’s far from perfect.
As Isaac (George Robinson) points out, they have the budget for a meditation room but not for a functional elevator, a significant accessibility issue for a wheelchair-bound student. Moreover, as sixth-form students aged 16 to 18, they are starting to ponder the real world beyond the confines of the classroom.
Costume Evolution: Reflecting Character Growth
Costume designer Daniella Pearman, who joined the show for its final season, describes the characters as initially looking like “little fish in a big pond.” The students are like aliens in this Amsterdam-in-space setting, not in an isolating way but in a way that feels entirely different.
Pearman focused on creating costumes that balanced preserving the iconic looks of the characters with helping them evolve into their true selves as they navigate the challenges of growing up.
The Wardrobe of Otis: A Familiar Comfort
Otis, the former protagonist, remains consistent in his wardrobe choices. He retains his instantly recognizable Neapolitan bomber jacket, which this season even gets splattered with baby spit-up. A second identical jacket had to be made for filming after that memorable scene.
At the beginning of this season, Otis doesn’t prioritize his personal style due to the stress of becoming a de facto second caretaker for his baby sibling, adjusting to a new school, and dealing with conflicts among his close friends.
Aimee’s Transformation: Reclaiming Autonomy
Aimee, who experienced a traumatic event in Season 2, undergoes one of the most significant transformations, both in reclaiming autonomy over her body and in her sartorial expressions.
This season opens with her testing out a new vibrator and documenting her experiences in a pink notebook titled “My Healing Journey.” She experiments with various looks, displaying newfound confidence and maturity as she navigates her healing process.
Eric’s Evolution: From Nigeria to Queer Identity
Eric Effiong, the true style star of “Sex Education,” also goes through an evolution. After returning from a family trip to Nigeria, where he explored reconciling his queer and cultural identities, Eric brings his newfound experiences to Cavendish.
He’s dressed in an aqua romper suit in a Nigerian print on the first day, along with his beloved Picasso bomber jacket. Eric’s pivotal wardrobe moment comes when he’s introduced to “The Coven,” a group of cool, queer kids who take him under their wing.
Maeve’s Transition: Embracing Maturity
Maeve, a fan favorite, starts the season with a flash of her signature fringe leather jacket. However, Emma Mackey, who plays Maeve, wanted her character’s look to evolve, reflecting her new life in America and growing maturity. Maeve gets a new vintage leather jacket, showcasing a more mature style while preserving the essence of the character fans know and love.
In conclusion, the final season of “Sex Education” not only delivers a compelling storyline but also showcases the characters’ growth and evolution through their wardrobe choices. As they face new challenges in the unique environment of Cavendish College, their costumes reflect their journeys toward self-discovery and maturity. With its memorable characters and their ever-evolving styles, “Sex Education” continues to captivate viewers and leave a lasting impression.
The show’s ability to seamlessly weave character development into its fashion choices serves as a testament to the depth and complexity of the series. As fans bid farewell to these beloved characters, their fashion-forward transformations leave a lasting impact, much like the lessons in love and life that “Sex Education” imparts.