My Love Letter to Fashion
I absolutely love Louboutins and Burberry Scarves, Alexander McQueen and Chanel, Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne. Every month I look forward to finding the newest issue of Vogue in my P.O. Box, thumbing through the glossy ads, and reading the fascinating articles. In my dream world, I’m the next Anna Wintour—but I also know that I’d never spend $675 on a pair of shoes or get invited to sit front row at an Oscar De La Renta Fashion Week show. The fashion world is extremely unattainable—yet I still love it.
On several occasions, my friends have asked me why I read Vogue when I wouldn’t wear couture on a daily basis. The easy answer is that I like knowing what’s coming up in fashion. Even if many of the ads and stories featured seem outlandish, most of the time elements of these bold designs and stylistic choices will make an appearance in mainstream fashion. I always think of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada—you know the one where Andy, a new assistant to a fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, admits that she doesn’t see the importance of fashion, and Miranda, said editor-in-cheif portrayed by the divine Meryl Streep, says:
“This… stuff’? Oh. OK. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back... However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.” (The Devil Wears Prada. 2006)
Here in this monologue, one understands that fashion is more than hemlines and fabrics. Fashion is a big part of our culture, even if you don’t care about it. The clothes people wear affect our judgements of how they identify themselves, what they do, and what they care about. Yes, at times this is taken to an extreme, and I am not suggesting that it’s okay to “judge a book by its cover,” but it is true that the stylistic choices we make about our fashion affects how we relate to each other. For instance, grunge fashion defined the ‘90s. People wore shapeless, stained sweatshirts with mid-calf flannel skirts and scuffed combat boots, all in the name of style. Grunge became a culture, with larger-than-life icons like Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon. So even in counter-cultures against mainstream style, fashion becomes an identifying feature. It is something that we all make a conscious decision about. Even though most of what I look at is unattainable--like these subversive grunge styles--I still like to know what’s going on in the fashion world.
The longer answer for why I love to keep up with fashion is that it’s aesthetically pleasing. Fashion is an art form in itself. There’s an artistry in how designers play with fabrics to construct shapes and hues to add dimension. I love seeing how stylists create looks that I never would have even imagined possible, or how a photographer and a model work together to create dynamic images that are so visually striking that you can’t help but stare, even though all they’re trying to do is sell you a product. From the quirkiness of Gucci’s 2016 spring/summer ad campaign, in which a bunch of androgynous models with bowl cuts clad in green sequin suits hang around a 1970’s metro station with a peacock, to the lively Dolce & Gabbana ads packed with models ranging from 7 years old to 70 eating, fighting, talking and taking selfies whilst wearing a mish-mash of patterns and colors, I find myself unable to look away.
Fashion is wearable architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, graphic design— it’s wearable art. That’s why I care about the fashion industry, and that’s why I swoon over Birkin bags and Jimmy Choos. It’s too beautiful not to.