**why fashion matters

Lately I have been having major doubts about going into fashion, and starting a blog has forced me to think about these doubts even more. I've also started telling people that I want to go into fashion, something that I used to feel hesitant to do. The responses I've gotten are less than encouraging: "Oh yeah my sister's friend does that... she makes absolutely no money. The pay is so bad." "That business is all about egos, it's all about who you know." "How can you justify going into fashion when there is so much consumerism in the world..." The last comment is usually followed by something along the lines of, "Shouldn't we all just wear uniforms? Why aren't you busy saving starving children in Africa? How can you justify going into such a shallow profession?" etc....

The funny thing is, when I was an engineering major, no one seemed to consider that I was doing nothing to save starving children in Africa. In fact, I worked at a wireless USB startup for two summers, something that seemed to excite/impress most people. However, the hours that I spent testing hardware and software and writing Python code were so that those of us lucky enough to afford computers and USB devices could one day operate those devices wirelessly. In other words, the success of the company that I worked for depended upon the fact that you hate having to actually PLUG IN your digital camera, and you are lazy enough to pay for a new, sparkly version that works sans cable. But of course, it is those of us interested in fashion who are the shallow consumerists cruel enough to ignore the poverty of the world. Right.

I would also like to point out that fashion is ART, and just like art, it reflects the society in which it exists. The big hair and shoulder pads of the 80's speak volumes about the optimism and success that young working women experienced at the time. YSL's "le smoking" suit for women reflected an entire REVOLUTION... in one legendary story, a woman was turned away from a New York restaurant because she was wearing a YSL suit, which included pants, a clothing item that violated the dress code for women. The suit-jacket-as-mini-dress trend started when this woman decided to simply remove her pants, upon which the restaurant had no reason to turn her away. Fashion, like art, is not important in and of itself, but because it reflects our experiences as human beings and perhaps most importantly, because it helps us to express ourselves. We choose music, art, furniture, clothes, everything--hell we even write BLOGS--because we human beings NEED to express ourselves. And we have been able to do so in amazing ways: Debussey's music, Monet's paintings, Whitman's poetry, and yes, the YSL le smoking jacket... they are all relevant and moving expressions of human experience. They are also, on some level, all pointless, in so far as they are doing nothing to cure cancer or to achieve world piece.

If I were going into music, I doubt I would receive as much criticism. Would you look down on me for becoming a painter? People associate fashion with shallowness and consumerism because it has been presented alongside these things within our society. We see images of Paris Hilton in Juicy Couture or Lindsey Lohan with a Chanel bag, and suddenly fashion becomes a stupid and insignificant hobby for the irresponsible party girls of our society. We forget that inspired designers and talented artisans helped to create those items... does Starry Night become less worthy of admiration because thousands of college-aged girls have hung a poster of Van Gogh's famous painting in their rooms?

For those of you who think fashion is exclusive, I must remind you that all forms of art are somewhat exclusive: it is the nature of art. I must also point out that one of my most-complemented items of clothing is a romper I bought from Goodwill for $4 and altered into a sun dress. Good fashion, like good art, depends on creativity and vision above all. I also have no problem with people who choose not to indulge in fashion. In fact, what you wear still speaks volumes about who you are, even if you've never picked up a copy of Vogue. And, if you really stand against fashion and consumerism, I'm sure you're proud of your thrifted jeans and practical tees, and I absolutely admire that.

In the end, I think I have to go into fashion because it's all I seem capable of thinking about. The symbolic statements that we make via fashion interest me more than anything else: the purposeful lack of furniture in Audrey Hepburn's house in Breakfast at Tiffany's, the wayfarers that Tom Cruise dons in Risky Business, the iconic picture of Jane Birkin wearing a dress she fashioned together last minute with a brooch... even the everyday occurrences like a boy with shaggy hair in a leather jacket, smoking against the side of a building. These fascinate me because they are artistic statements, pulling us away from the chaos of our busy lives to appreciate the simple beauty of human existence. These statements are inherent to human culture and have been since the beginning of time. They exemplify the way we wish we could lives our lives, if only we were daring and carefree enough.


citrusvanilla said...


yo send me some male-oriented fashion blogs, and make it good.

Kimberlyn said...


Miss Lady said...

Hey there! Nice pictures and Posts u have ;)

and of course, nice blog!!^^

Greetings from Germany xoxo


Miranda said...

THANK YOU. Thank you so much for this blog post. I have an extremely similar situation to yours, and this has helped me move forward in the direction I want. I want to work in the fashion industry, too. (To be more specific, a fashion photographer.) Like the aforementioned, kudos and bravo.

Anonymous said...

nicely said.

xx christine

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