I am often baffled by people whose weakness or what they lack in life becomes their strength. They of all people become the experts of their Achilles Heel and have a far better understanding of it in the matter of contrasts. Those who have gone hungry understand more than anyone else what it means to be full. Those who grew up orphaned or in broken parental relationships understand more than anyone else the beauty of family. Those who struggled to find a sense of belonging understand more than anyone else what it means to find home beyond bricks and mortar.
When I was younger I never understood the reason for this and now that I’m (relatively) wiser I have to say it comes down to this: struggle with success breeds compassion. Compassion creates the desire for change and in turn, help those who share the same struggles.
Being in the fashion blogger circle for about a year now and having studied fashion in college, there are a few things that deeply offend me but I disregard as narrow mindedness or pure pride. Several girls I’ve met who blog, buy or studied fashion with would say to me:
“After I studied fashion, I have come to the conclusion that it is a shallow industry. I’d rather do something with meaning that helps people.”
“Fashion isn’t for me. The girls are snobby and fake. It’s all about outer appearance and having new things that are way overpriced.”
“The industry isn’t ecologically sustainable. The industry employs child labour.”
And yet they continue to consume, converse and collect clothes. In their resolve that dressing up is shallow, continue to be enthralled by the very thing that they think is beneath them. Might I say that perhaps it is not fashion that is shallow but one’s perception on the subject?
Fashionistas (how I despise this word- it’s even more vile when seen on ads and editorials) here what it come down to:
We have great imagination for how to style and put together an outfit,
we are ignorant to where our clothes are from and how they are made
We have great taste and are sensitive to style,
we have limited perception on how to buy sustainably
We want a transformative wardrobe,
we don’t want to transform the industry
We are sensitive and perceptive on upcoming trends before all our friends jump on board,
Yet are constricted and unable to foresee a better future of fashion due to our present circumstances.
Perhaps you may regard the fashion industry as fine and dandy in its present state and doesn’t require remedying. But assuming those who dislike fashion for its self-absorbed view of the world and constant need to consume, there is probably some truth in that bias.
The questions that continue to surface in my mind these days are “how can we bring honor back into the system?” and “how can we restore the fashion industry and bring reconciliation with all those who dwell in it from producer to designer to consumer?” and “how can we make sure that fashion does more good than harm?”
Truth is, I have no clue how this would manifest but I’m just trying to pry my brain to think bigger, imagine crazier and dream higher. We always love to use the phrase ‘Fashion is my Passion’ but that present intensity and obsession is not enough to drive us to do anything different. Perhaps what we really need is a compassionate perspective on fashion. Because, after all, those of us who have struggled to find depth in an industry that is perceived as shallow also know the quiet pleasure of silk on bare skin, the emotional jump of joy when a designer creates a collection that just expresses who she is inside out and the intricate tales of acquiring our most prized wardrobe possessions. We know because we love it, and we love it because we understand the nature of the industry both as creators and consumers.
Don’t leave the people who dislike putting an outfit together to change the industry. They don’t understand the joy of tailoring and the beauty of layering. Their negativity of the industry comes from an outsider perspective on what most of us find intrinsically an inner and outer expression of ourselves.
So let’s start shall we? For the love of fashion.
Image via Emma Dime