What does Fashion mean to you?

 

iris-apfel

I don’t shop. Or at least I don’t until I absolutely have to when my clothes look so tattered they’re embarrassing.

I haven’t worked in an office in more than 10 years and when I did, back in Mexico, they preferred uniforms: polyester pants and faux-silk blouses.

Fashion to me was something utterly superficial  I judged the people who took it seriously.

But the truth is I had been paying attention to fashion all my life. It’s unavoidable, nobody can escape this form of self-expression and though I have never studied it, never considered myself officially interested, I just love it.

I have seen every Fashion documentary, from The September Issue to The First Monday in May. I’ve drooled over the biography of Karl Lagerfeld and flip hypnotized through the pages of Dior’s coffee table books.

You wouldn’t imagine it if you saw me. I’m a geek. I wear sweaters, jeans, t-shirts. My hair is a mess, I hardly wear make-up and I have no sense of personal style. But my eyes fixate on Tilda Swinton’s dresses in the movie A Bigger Splash, I literally got goosebumps and idolize women like Iris Apfel and Vivienne Westwood.

Every now and then I log into my local library’s digital resources to watch old catwalk shows.

But I spend close to zero dollars in fashion, except when I buy The Gentlewoman and allow myself to go a bit lunatic with the amazing clothes that are showcased in it.

This fascination intrigues me. If I had tons of money would I buy the clothes? or do I simply look adoringly at them like artwork?

I wanted to examine this because in my never-ending quest for finding my path, I have to trust one thing: my personal taste.

What attracts me to Fashion:

  • Creativity
    There is no creative field where people can remix as much as in Fashion. Rarely do renowned designers accuse others of plagiarism. Everybody seems to be OK with the mash-up. And if you look closely at catwalk shows, even if certain trends emerge, everything looks distinct.
  • Craftsmanship
    I saw one season 1 of Project Runway, I saw Dior and I, I saw Lagerfeld’s documentary: you need special talent with your hands. You can’t wing it.
  • Self-Expression
    Of the designer and the person who wears the clothes. Bill Cunningham brought us as much self-expression as we could stand and enjoy. To dress for oneself is the first creative expression of the day, even if you dress as simply as I do.
  • Strength of character
    Two words: Vivienne Westwood.
  • Color
    I get all my color inspiration from Fashion.
  • Inspiration
    When you are creating art, it’s easy to get cycled into the same topics over and over. In a collection, the Designer has a story in mind, from there, inspiration is found everywhere and they push the limits to where many of us don’t dare.
  • Freedom
    Maybe top designers need to respond to the bottom-line, but indie designers have a mission and they do what they want.
  • Eye candy
    When things get rough in the world, it seems that fashion can rescue you and feed you actual beauty. From the beautiful prints on clothes, to the stages, the music, the colors, the clothes. It’s a suspension of reality.
  • Can be expressed at any age
    The documentary Advanced Style
  • Openness and diversity
    In the past couple of years, gender has blurred, models from all ethnicities are now featured in campaigns and shows. Fashion allows everyone to be who they want to be.

Certainly there is the dark side of it. So here are the aspects I don’t like:

  • Superficiality
    Let’s face it. It will always be superficial to think about appearances when one thinks about the issues of the world. And yet, with all that, there is no stopping this industry,even in the toughest times.
  • The power
    I laughed with The September Issue and with The Devil Wears Prada, but the industry continues to have tremendous gatekeepers. And I can’t even get my head wrapped around the money behind it.
  • Copyright infringement
    Even if among designers there are no strict copyright rules, many companies rip-off indie artists and designers.
  • Fast Fashion
    Self-explanatory. The impact on the lives of people who work in factories and the impact on the environment are shameful.
  • Body Image
    How much damage has the Fashion industry done to young women’s perception of themselves, their bodies and who they are. Fortunately,the rise of independent designers and the reach of the web is slowly changing changing that: Refinery29, Beth Ditto even The Gentlewoman (just to name a few),  break down age and ethnicity and body image barriers.

But it is the art, the creativity and the phenomenal freedom to mix and match without being afraid of the “copy-cat” police that continues to push the Fashion industry forward. I recently watched (out of curiosity) the Skillshare class of Agus Cattaneo and though it’s 3 hours long, it’s incredibly interesting. She shows her process as a cool-hunter, those who unearth the upcoming trends and I recommend it just to get a new window of inspiration.

Of course I love to look at the work of Fashion Illustrators. In fact, one of the first drawings that made me go: oh, I wish I could draw, was Garance Doré’s illustrations.

And don’t even get me started on vintage clothes – that’s a topic for another post.

Whatever your creative outlet is, where does your inspiration come from? Where does your personal taste jump out of its seat? Is it old movies, posters, postcards, dresses, scarves, decor?