A year back, while evading my Science textbook (these were the horror days before the Boards), I came across an article (I’m not naming any names) by the columnist of a reputed British publication. It was headed “Why I Hate Fashion”. Following was an article outlining why the writer has long since been plagued by the ridiculously high standards and expectations of the fashion industry and it’s ever changing trends. It ostracizes the industry wholly and waxes eloquent about the useless-ness of fashion media and the lack of talent of the designers.
Everything about the article pin points to the direction of what I detest about people who make judgments without understanding the intricacies. They have deluded themselves into believing that what Hayden Penetierre donned to the Oscar red carpet or what J-Lo stocks her closet with is the crux of the idea of style. Fashion, as a way to express your individuality may not be what translates into the consumerism of Topshop and Selfridges but for many of us, it’s an art form that we swear by.
Admittedly, there is a shallow, superficial side to it but as Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer prize winning fashion writer once said and I quote “fashion is not innately superficial, the way is portrayed is”.
And why is all the criticism aimed at fashion? Doesn’t Vodafone lure you into snagging the latest prepaid scheme, LG urges you to splurge for a new flat screen, Hyundai wants to buy a new car, Penguin wants you to read the work of the new bestseller (and you’re sort of obligated to do so, just to sound relevant and informed), John Mayer wants you to buy his new album, food critics want you to bring home this kind of lettuce and another kind of grapes and the list is endless! At the end of the day, the overriding fact remains that fashion is what you make of it.
If you choose to be influenced so deeply by advertisements of supermodel Coco Rocha sequined hot pants and then sit in a corner and brood and sulk about how you don’t have those endless legs or that captivating a face then that eventually pin points towards your hidden insecurities and not the “evil” of the fashion industry.
Fashion, much like everything else, is really up to you. Indulge in it, or don’t. But don’t generalize and proclaim that anybody that believes in it as a cause is heading towards their own execution and is thoroughly unhappy “on the inside”. 70% of the professionals working in the industry are not a size o and not 6 feet tall and, are by no means the size or, even to an extent the height that a multitude of digitally modified fashion magazines depict. So, just because I like to decipher the meaning of novel designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s inspiration of Japanese horror movies to make their exquisite dresses and sweaters, you can’t influence me and you can’t make me feel any less capable of having a smart conversation.
Do me a favor. Step outside and go to Paris, Madrid, New York, Tokyo or even Delhi and take a look around at the men and women who take out time from their evidently busy schedules to put together a creative outfit! Whose accessorizing is no individualistic, you know something about them just by observing what they’re wearing. They’re real people; people with jobs, families, pets and interests.
It’s sort of comical and quite sad that the writer is completely misguiding the hundrers who read her column and is trying hart to revive and reiterate the tired old myth that fashion is for the frivolous, stupid and intellectually devoid. I have friends who are Physics majors and still love Haider Ackermann. People with hopes, dreams and wishes, something that women like the writer cannot take away from them.
“Fashion is, perhaps by necessity, in a world of its own – one that only rarely overlaps with anything resembling real life. This fantasy and exoticism is part of its appeal, of course.”- Vince Aletti