T by Alexander Wang resort 2017, via vogue.com
This is a joke right? The one-size-fits all Vetements oversized bomber jacket for $3000, with the strange over the top styling is now seemingly legitimate fashion. It's the look in every street style starlet parading to and fro, and of course on the InstaGirls which are 100% followed and critiqued in embarrassing articles published by once discerning fashion magazines. I don't understand it. Do you?
I'm not being rhetorical, I'm just wanting to know how we got here. That question tends to be a million dollar one these days and while I'm not keen to touch on politics in this arena, I will happily discuss the strange state of fashion.
This time last year I was fully invested in documenting my personal style in a typical way — a social media acceptable way, that is. I would get dressed on the weekends, replicating an outfit that I wore to work and find a pretty place near my home or errands that day to take a couple photos of it. [Tangent: Before you get all like, OMG that's not authentic because you're like recreating your outfit and not authentically documenting it I want to remind you that I have a demanding, challenging, competitive day job. Just like you! I work a lot, so taking photos in the city I work when my husband/photographer works in another part of the Bay Area is not possible nor top priority.] I would discuss my love of the latest and upcoming designs from fashion, art, and such with real interest because these things gave me inspiration, which helped fuel my creativity, and therefore positively impacted my work.
These days? Not so much.
In January of this year, I made a pledge to eliminate my credit card debt once and for all. Specifically I didn't want to go into 2017 with any amount of credit card debt. The good news is I'm going to achieve this goal. Yay! Sometime in March I will have made my last payment to companies that I owe money too because of frivolous spending and bad financial habits. The unintended down side? I have lost most interest in fashion the way I knew it last year. I used to be so caught up in the new and trends and muse about them here. Now? All I want to do is talk about how atrocious this above look is and how insane it is that women are modeling themselves after what a select few with a platform label 'cool' and 'in' right now.
In order to get rid of debt I sold a lot of my stuff. Things I thought would be closet staples for years ended up being the biggest resale disappointments.
When someone tells you a certain piece of clothing will be an investment just leave the establishment you're in because that bitch is lying to you and probably works on commission. Nothing in fashion is an investment.
By you wearing a pair of shoes, or a necklace, or a shirt, or a dress, you automatically depreciate that thing the moment you cut the tags. Hell, even before the tags are cut you know the price of it will never be what you paid for it. So knowing that, take a look at your closet and tell me how many "investments" you've made in the past year and compare it to what you actually wear in the span of two weeks. The results for me were shocking: I was in denial about what my style really was. So out went about 40% of my closet (and trust me, I'm still cleaning it out). After seeing how much shit I continually get rid of just serves to prove my point about how thoughtlessly I was spending.
So I was not only becoming a person with less debt, I was now a person with less appreciation for fashion in the sense that this industry demands it.
This was a massive shift in thinking! Which lead to a massive shift in social media habits. immediately I stopped posting on almost everything; Instagram was just a source of constant comparisons: so I stopped following anyone who didn't inspire me. Facebook? I have not logged on in about 6 months. This blog? In order to figure myself out, I had to take a break and post less. I wanted to spend more time living my life unglued from a screen, phone or otherwise. Another reason I was posting less on my blog? Maybe I didn't want to be promoting frivolous spending by constantly posting about things that I don't really need anymore.
The new me truly believes having another Chanel bag, or a Gucci whatever will not make me happy. Having a Chanel bag before I turned 30 like I wanted certainly didn't change my life like I thought it would. If anything, it isolated me more from people when they connect the dots that I'm carrying a bag that retails for $4000. After working so hard to not be poor, now I get written off as a rich girl. And this? This truly was not expected. But how can I complain when this silly handbag costs about 4 months of my mom or brothers' rent. These are the downsides of fashion that I considered this past year. The ugliness that comes from wanting it all and getting it all like America encourages. All I felt after having all these things was the immediate dent in my wallet, and the sad realization that wanting such a material thing seemed so important.
The reason I'm saying this is because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming very soon. Sales will be very temping and items that seemed so important and high on wishlists galore will be semi-attainable, perhaps with a sick promo code and a reasonable APR. Don't fall for this trap.
This image in my bio with the quote from Sofia Coppola is truer than ever: I want to be frivolous and substantial. I think these two things are super necessary for my personality because it balances my drive and compulsion to enjoy life. I just think I've been doing it completely fucking wrong for years.
Being frivolous means living my life in the moment by sharing actual IRL experiences with people I love and enjoy being around. It's about buying myself the occasional thing in cash but only because I know I will use it quite often and is a quality item that seems to be made in a decent way. The substantial part? For me it means staying humble despite whatever success and sharing what I have/know/learn with people. It also means shutting up and listening. I guess being a decent person sums up the latter half of that equation.
I think fashion needs the kind of wake up process I had this past year. And while the industry is at it, I'd love for it to consider the immense wastefulness of creating largely synthetic clothes that are trendy for one season and sell for pennies. After considering the environmental impact of the wasteful fashion, I'd invite the industry to consider the human impact of who is actually making the clothes. Finally, I'd challenge the industry to reward and publicize real people who do great things for others, have a positive impact on the environment, and who do more than just attend parties to be photographed. Put that shit on a slideshow — I won't even mind the ads that get served up after each image.
So to attempt to answer my own question, no I don't know how we got here in this gray area, but at least I feel like I'm not entirely lost like the guys and gals wanting to look like the girl above.