This is a question that came up in the FAQ section and I wrote a reply this morning in a moment of clarity. Perhaps I'll feel differently later when I get back on my high fashion horse. For now, it'll suffice…
Did the thought 'fashion & all that stuff are a bit shallow, there are more important things in life' ever cross your mind?
That thought crosses my mind every day. There ARE plenty of things about fashion that are incredibly shallow. I only need to read the comments section of the Guardian where people constantly deride fashion to see how it is perceived and if I'm being truly honest, in the wider context, we are basically talking about frocks and not much else. I don't like to imbue a lofty sense of importance to fashion like I used to when I was a mardy teenager but rather, I'll take it for what it is in its many guises and forms. It is commerce. It is a business. It can reflect socio-economic and political circumstances. It is a vehicle that references the past. It can be art (although people are all too ready to apply that world too liberally‚Ä¶.). Fashion at its core is a luxury not a necessity. We perceive it as 'important' because I like millions of other fashion-obsessives developed an indignant territorial claim over it. "Seeing an Alexander McQueen show on The Clothes Show changed my life", "Reading The Face was mind-blowing" – these are familiar superlatives that affirmed our devotion to something that made us feel more like individuals in our bedrooms.
As a previous commenter pointed out though, we are in an age of creative narcissism where the affirmation of ourselves as individuals' has never felt more important through what we do, what we listen to, what we eat, where we live etc. In that way, I think that is where fashion becomes powerful, as a tool of self-expression, as a way of staking your claim to your self. Yes, it is incredibly pretentious to throw arounds phrases such as "I experiment with my style" or "I curate my wardrobe". I don't deny that all of that is a sort of phoney ruse that is basically linked up with the fashion product chain and yet I don't eschew it myself, because I still believe joy and some form of creativity can be found at the end of all of that consumerism. People will look at my wardrobe and make certain assumptions about my depth of character. That is their prerogative. As long as I know myself that every thing has some tiny bit of meaning or significance‚Ä¶ a vintage Moschino shirt is there because the naked ladies remind me of Jessica Rabbit or that a Balenciaga skirt won on eBay was hard-fought because the woman refused to pay for postage to the UK‚Ä¶ minuscule tidbits that won't mean anything to anyone else except for me. How marvellous.
I want to be grateful though for being able to do something that is inherently selfish. 'Curating', 'Experimenting' or 'Concocting' looks and writing about it in an indulgent way and just being under the impression that anyone would want to read that. Observing the changes and developments that are in effect niche and not really impacting on the wider world. Getting invited to events with all costs covered and quaffing champagne whilst feeling ridiculous that I'm doing so. The whole circuit of shows from invites to dressing for shows to scurrying to my seat to fighting for backstage interviews to writing till 3am in the morning. All of that is a privilege.
There ARE more important things. How important they are to me, you'll never see on this blog. How much food matters to me and where it all comes from. How I'm suspicious about the economic rise of China. How I can't read about extremist politics in the USA without wanting to chuck the paper across the room. How I hate the closing of grammar schools. How I believe in the benefits of learning a musical instrument. Sure they're more important. But could I write about them here? Would I do a good job of it? Nope, so I'll stick to the 'shallow' stuff and carry on being earnestly grateful and forty years from now when it's likely I won't be working in fashion, I'll look back and go "Wow‚Ä¶ I was so lucky I got to do all of that‚Ä¶"