Sunday, 3 July 2011

This post is about identity of us expressed through fashion.

The most obvious question is what is fashion and what does it do? Tell us what to wear, what to think is beautiful? How we should spend our money, a social class. Or is it an ever changing thing that has no relevance but we make it's the most important thing that shapes us.

Fashion is so many things to so many people, frivolous, expensive and pointless. To others it is the very air they breathe. As said in last Vogue a few months ago Fashion is an expression of pride, culture and how we express our identity. Each culture has a unique way of expressing itself through its art, clothing and how it tells its history.

In parts of the world it is about tribes, their bright and beautiful textiles and jewellery. They do not need money to express their pride, it is about the work that goes into making these items and being proud of what is self achieved. In the western world it is about prefab things you can pick up cheap. The copy cat like attitudes of our high street. Ever increasingly people are turning to vintage, home made, customised or charity shops to claim a more unique look and yet still fall into another category. There is no unique idea but one that is shared by so many. Falling into a cultural category based on how you dress, speak, listen to or like is just our society. It does not stop you from being who you want to be and you should not let it.

That feeling of wanting to stand out does not mean you have to be stunningly pretty or a model it is about being yourself.

Look at Nicola Roberts; she embraced being pale and a red head rather than dying her hair brunette and piling on fake tan. She looks amazing because she is being what she is naturally. There is nothing wrong with the whole fake tan/big hair look if that's what you enjoy embrace it but always let a little bit of you shine through that.

Everyone wants to stand out and yet still fit in, rarely is anyone actually 100% comfortable in their own skin, whilst working in clothing retail I met so many pretty women who tall and slim, curvy you name it and they were never happy.

Question is what do you want to be? You don't have to fit a social stereo type but actually ask yourself what you want to express.

There are a great group of girls on a certain forum and they all inspire me because of their gusto and their fantastic attitudes to each other, forget the bitchiness they rock their attitude with glam and a smile (that hides a snarl of fierceness). They are always confident in opinions but still share the same flaws and have bad days like the rest of us. Each of they has a unique take on what they do. From designer labels to Primark they make me smile and always to try more!

From massive knuckle duster style rings to stunning girly dresses.

A big thank you to them all!

I don't have a distinct style that is because I change my mind so often and do not like to be governed by what I like music wise, art wise or books. People always want to judge based on the obvious.

Who cares what music is cool or if you're a size whatever does it make your personality? No only if you let it.


 

I listen to various types of music and yet do not follow any particular scene. I go to Art galleries but hate the elitist bollocks that goes with it. I love fashion but know I am to short and probably considered to fat to have an opinion on what is good or bad.

I have studied fashion from an academic point of view and when doing retail, knowing how it sells but most importantly what the person wants from it?

The best part was showing the potential in an item when showing all the different ways of wearing something. Why buy something and wear it only one way mix it up and make it different.

This is something I love to do because I need something to be different but otherwise what is the point?

Alexia Chung is a great example of this look how she mixes up so many great things and makes them go beyond what you see at first glance if it were on its own?

She makes if fun and edgy and a little bit messy. It does not have to be perfect and glossy every time unless you rock it that way!

Many fashion bloggers inspire me Late afternoon and coco c'est chic are but two who are both very different in their tastes but both have a eclectic and kooky way of dressing that can be used as a base to build a new way of dressing around.

Follow a trend but make it your own, you can copy just as the magazines say or customise it, or get it tailored. I like to customise my stuff a bit, it takes time but it is worth it. I have some funk shorts from Topshop that were £5 I added lace and made them more girly and less awkward to wear.

I have done this with countless items because it is something to do and is actually fun if you know what you want to do! It's all done by hand though time consuming the satisfaction of telling people you did it yourself is immense. It also encourages people to try it for themselves.

Vintage is great though it can be expressive, there are so many quirky boutique and charity shops (Oxfam are specialising in it) that you can browse it doesn't have to be a head to toe look try something more transient. I have recently bought a beautiful 1970's maxi dress from urban outfitters sale department. It was literally falling apart at the seams, some TLC and an under slip and it's a great twist on a big summer trend.

I also have a leather hand bag from the same era from a fair last year, some serious elbow grease was needed to get it back to a useable condition, thing's like this are inevitable for things that are old but are worth the time if you look after it!

I am obsessed with clothing and have such a large wardrobe because I need to have so many options because there are so many things about my personality I like to express. I encourage others to do the same. Celebrate whatever is most important to you. Your heritage, your influence, passions and interests!

Be yourself and do not be ashamed of it. That is the hardest lesson I have learned over the years.