Thursday, 2 October 2008

Style your soul

Perhaps it is partly jealousy that I am not yet high enough or quick enough in the fashion ranks to attend the various fashion weeks, because I will not deny that I would probably really enjoy it, but I do see catwalk fashion as a bit of a waste of time and money. This is partly leading on from my sarcastic comment on Vivienne Westwood’s s/s 09 show; designing clothes with a message while being part of an industry whose morals are questionable. Perhaps she made on impact on people? I am not sure. As you know, I wasn’t there.

But, my negative view of the catwalk is nothing new. I have always seen it as, sort of, completely pointless. I cannot relate to the outrageous and unwearable clothes which take up the majority of what is seen, and I only get the filtered through versions in blogs and magazines; still mostly hideous designs which will never be seen after this one walk down the runway. I have never followed fashion on purpose, although I would be lying if I said I didn’t follow it at all. I shop in stores which follow trends; therefore I am shopping on trend. I recognise when certain styles becomes fashionable; military, goth, shoe boots etc and I occasionally buy into it. If I like it. But I style myself on what influences me, and so do a lot of people. Most people. Depending on what music I am listening to for example. Over the summer I started listening to rockabilly and from that my style drew upon the 50s. Now I have gone even more retro and I’m listening to the greats, the classics and this is all reflected in the way I dress. And it isn’t just music. If a certain film comes out then people will be influenced by how the character’s dress. The tea dress, wellies, chunky knit cardigan and trilby hat worn on the back of the head was immensely trendy following the release of ‘The Edge of Love’ starring Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. In fact, Keira Knightley often seems to be a fashion icon in the film roles she plays; pirate, that green dress in ‘Atonement’ and now she even plays a fashion icon in ‘The Duchess’ while at the same time inspiring Balenciaga to design dramatic jewellery. But this is my point exactly! The designers are using the same inspiration as we are witnessing. They are not some sort of higher being, far more intelligent and wonderful than us mere mortals. They see ‘The Duchess’ and think, “wow there’s a lot of fantastic extravagant costumes and jewellery in this I’m going to use it in my designs” then they design something over the top that nobody will wear, then the exclusive set watch it, pick out what they can sell to the bottom line (that’s us by the way) and filter it through to more acceptable attire for us. So, can’t we just do it ourselves?

I was reading Jess Cartner-Morley’s (the fashion editor of The Guardian) article in Marie Claire’s October issue titled ‘What the hell is catwalk fashion all about?’ which inspired me to finally write my opinion of this in my blog. Morley’s article recognises the ridiculousness of catwalk fashion, but supports catwalk designers as necessary influences for our high street gear. However, she also makes the point that they are not, of course, freakishly all coming up with the same ideas, but they are influenced by what is going on around them. Around us. All of us equally. So, does that not only further back up my point? I am sure a lot of people, the people that go to these shows and worship these designers, will disagree with me. People who see these designers as wondrous, inspirational figures, whose creations can sometimes be ‘ground breaking’. All I see is something that bears no relation to my life.

For me, fashion and style is influenced by how I live my life and by what is happening around me. Not what someone else is telling me to wear, which I knew anyway because their ideas are coming from the same place as mine. I know that come spring we’ll have floral, autumn will be warm and winter will be black. Shoe boots are ‘back’ now when I’m sure they were back last autumn as well. Certain trends are predictable with the seasons; others develop around us, without any need for couture to tell us so.

I am not condemning catwalk as it is such a huge part of the fashion industry. Industry being the key word. I just dislike putting the meaning of fashion behind a business, when the best and most exciting style icons came from breaking the rules and doing things differently. Using their own minds. Not to make money or to make something with lots of money that will never be worn or seen again. Something pointless in other words.

Just be creative. Be an individual. Style yourself! Go for it!

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