Friday, 29 August 2008

My first post - Marie Claire's 20th year!

I don't want to bore with introductions, so I shall dive straight in to what is the beginning of many fashion related blogs from a Scottish girl living and working in Scotland. Now I know I am not the only one, but I have had enough people say to me, in that concerned voice, when I tell them I want to get into fashion and live in Glasgow; "um, well, there's not much there in terms of fashion"...which inevitably leads to: "have you thought about moving to London?"

Well yes and no. I have thought about it and I would really rather not. London is a city full of, well, everything! Everything and anything is happening in London and whatever you want to do, unless it's farming, London is the place to be! If you want to be an actor; work in London, if you want to be any kind of artist; go to London, if you want to work in fashion; move to London, if you want to be an anything I suggest you go to London. Now, there's nothing wrong with London per say, it's just I don't want to live there! I have lots of family and friends there, but it's an expensive city. It's too big, it's not that pretty, everything is too far away and too much of a hassle to get to. When I visit I LOVE it. I have such an amazing time there. Going out; eating, drinking, dancing; going to the theatre, galleries, shopping and other city stuff. So my reluctance to go there is not just down to the negatives as there are a lot of positives too. I just want to be able to do something I love in a place I love. Within reason I don't think that's too much to ask. And just because there are less opportunities does not mean there is nothing pre existing or that cannot be created! Plus, I am a stubborn person and the more I am challenged to cave in and go to London, the more persistent I am to resist.

So here I am. Currently in Edinburgh, moving to the heart of the West End in Glasgow on Wednesday with an endless amount of things to sort out. Bills from my last house in Wales, finding an income to pay for my flat in Glasgow, bugging everyone who has some fashion connection in Edinburgh and Glasgow, sorting out my future lazy landlord as I still don't have a bed and there's mould in our apparently new fridge! In the midst of the chaos I thought I better sit down with a cup of tea and read the new issue of Marie Claire (and I am all of sure my problems will soon sort themselves out).

It is unmistakeably Marie Claire's 20th anniversary. The cover is gold and sparkly and I was promised promotional offers to celebrate their birthday. The only thing on the cover that looks anything but "Party On" is Mischa Barton's face. In fact, what it should read is "partied too much last night". Now don't get me wrong, I think Mischa Barton is a very pretty girl, and a very stylish one at that, but for an article which at one point questions her on her drink driving in order for her to defend herself, it isn't really showing the beauty in her most flattering light. She honestly looks stoned in this picture. And the light on her in the cover photo, as this is slightly different, makes her skin tone quite yellowish.

However, that isn't why I mentioned Marie Claire. I, in fact, was interested in picking it up because I had been following 'Britain's Missing Top Model' and wanted to see the winner, Kelly Knox, on what was meant to be the cover of the issue. She wasn't on the cover of course, or even mentioned, so when I bought it I had no idea she would be in it I just figured it would be the right time her spread was due out. But there she was inside, underneath the title 'and our winner is...' So I was disappointed that she was not chosen to be on the front cover, especially when considering who they did pick!

However, she is still in it and it is not surprising that it is Marie Claire who chose to take the article on. Looking at their repertoire of articles, from the ground breaking to the controversial they were certainly the most likely magazine to showcase the winner of the BBC3 show. I like Rankin's photographs and, from watching the show, discovered he was one of the few photographers who saw this movement towards disabled modelling as a positive thing and, unlike some, thought that imperfection defined characters which brought out true beauty. Most photographers throughout the programme when having to shoot with disabled models found it to be a challenge, but enjoyed it. There was only one photographer, Amelia Troubridge, who I detested. She wanted to hide the disabilities as if she was photographing "normal" models. I simply couldn't understand why she accepted the opportunity to shoot for the show when all she wanted to do was make everyone look like an image of perfection.

Moving on from the subject of perfection, of course the competitors for the show are all disabled, but they are also all still beautiful. Because that is modelling. It is still an industry based on what you look like. I find it hard to fully land on the ground on this one. I was discussing the show with some of my friends, in fact I had brought it up to make a point of how it's intentions were to "change perceptions". Then someone said to me, 'but they're all still beautiful, and slim and pretty faced etc'. Well yes, I suppose they are. But from watching the show it gave an insight into the fashion industry and their search for immaculate perfection, which none of these girls had. Not in terms of their disability, but in terms of being a model. For example, when Kelly was announced the winner she was given an interview with Take2 modelling, but they emphasised that there was no gaurantee she would get it. They spoke to her and once she left they discussed whether they would take her on. From almost the word go they all agreed that if it wasn't for her disability she wouldn't even have been considered. So there's something else then? She's the token disabled model. Is that much better? They're not going to take any others on of course. They aren't even sure they're going to sell Kelly, let alone risk their business with another. She wasn't the right size and didn't look right for a model apparently, although she is truly beautiful. So I am not sure an industry based on not only looking good, but looking exactly how they want you to look based on some unseen and impossible image of perfection will ever be able to accomodate for "normal" types. Disabled, plus size or just not 5' 9"(give or take to what exact measurements they're after).

She is in there though, and although I have my doubts I am going to take this as a positive thing and hope it is the beginning of more to come. Fashion for me is individuality and so I rarely look at the models and just look at the clothes or the shoes or the accessories. At the end of the day I'm going to wear item x and so I want to fit it around my personality and my life rather than attempt to copy some vacant model whose beauty is so unachievable that us "normal" types will rock it much better than her anyway!

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