Let’s Not Trivialize Fashion

 

 

Let’s Not Trivialize Fashion

New York Fashion blogger in a skirt

Women often give a damn about fashion.

Among us are vast fields of females who invest time and money into crafting an aesthetic, who love discovering versions of themselves within trends, and many who veer into a sartorial territory that’s entirely their own.

These are women who are sometimes considered vain, narcissistic, and misguided with their priorities.

They give a big whopping damn about fashion. This may be the understatement of the century, but I feel it’s important to reiterate as I’m here to defend the female affinity to the seemingly trivial pursuit of crafting the perfect outfit.

If I were to do an episode of Drunk History, I would get hammered off pineapple cider and discuss the story of Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights advocate who protested the patriarchy by donning pantaloons in 17th-century America. This was brave not because of their adult diaper aesthetic, but because they were reserved for men who somehow maintained a superiority complex while wearing powdered wigs. Then, I would shotgun cans of rose and regale viewers with the story of Mary Quant, a 60’s designer who legitimized the single girl aesthetic with a line of mini skirts for women ready to claim their sexuality.

Or, I would sip on a bottle of wine through a straw, and tell of a momentous occurrence involving my Nana in which she decided to flash her young adult children and their spouses after they refused to help clean up after dinner. One purposeful nip slip later, and six cleaners magically appeared in the kitchen with sponges in-hand and a lack of color in their faces.

The female appearance has been utilized as a feminist tool for centuries. Throughout a stifled existence, women have been silenced and ogled. We’ve been marginalized but physically glorified. As individuals with visual power and less perceived tangible power, pioneering early feminists discovered wearing their feelings on literal sleeves turned heads, reclaiming their own aesthetic while also getting shit done.

This evolutionary strategy continues to seep into our everyday dressing decisions. Whether we’re torching our bras or opting for a brighter hue, these choices amplify the growing feminine voice. There’s an innate comfort in crafting an aesthetic not just for vanity’s sake, but to be seen and therefore heard, to be understated and ambiguous, or to be identified in any way you damn well choose. Regardless, it’s a level of control the female psyche deserves.

As I expand on this sentiment, I feel the warmth from opposing flames, shouting that we as women should not be defined by our appearances, and a verbal statement should speak volumes over any physical attribute. BUT, I can’t deny that a power blazer makes me want to vomit business jargon while an Orseund Iris top elicits a desire to pet bunnies in a field. My sartorial choices don’t define me, but they do describe me, and I enjoy the assistance of an outfit when it can amplify my personality du jour.

For this reason, I would like to raise a glass of sparkling rosé cider and toast the sartorial savants who find comfort, control, and self-affirmation in their style. I say never lessen your physical appearance to make room for intellectual flair; there’s space for every inch of your authentic self on your uniquely-adorned body.

Invading Fashion Week: Part 2

January 9th: A Flashy Friday

With day one in the books, I awoke the next morning with remnants of adrenaline coupled with the stark realization that I had yet to pick an outfit for the day. I leaped out of bed, turned to my closet, and assessed my garments as animated question marks and outfit equations hung over my head.

I’ve recently nosedived into the peasant dress trend, meaning smocks with bird patterns have entered my life. The first addition to my new collection was a high-neck, turquoise frock with loud yet delicate florals. I decided to wear it with red patent leather booties for contrast and silver sparkle socks for reckless spontaneity.

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The amalgam turned out to be a beautiful shit show. Peasant-chic meets Zenon meets modern day Wizard of Oz. I felt like a time traveler who accessorized on each stop.

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Today’s show was held at Industria, a chic industrial venue in Greenwich Village. The label was Chromat, an avant-guard swimwear label whose previous collection delivered a metallic color story, geometric shapewear, and leather detailing, all courtesy of the architectural-driven mind of Becca McCharen-Tran.

I meandered down Washington Street, trailing a tall gentleman in a maxi fur coat who I assumed was not on his way to Duane Reade.

After following my guiding light and Muppet character to our shared destination, I found a spot in line and passed the time by marveling at a man in a kilt, posing for photographers. Before the little lass in me could squeal in delight, we were being ushered inside.

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I found a spot behind the last row of seats, essentially the front row of the nosebleed section. When no one showed up to their assigned spot in front of me, I meandered my way under the bleacher-like rows, alarming the ankles of quite a few showgoers, especially one in particular when my head popped up next to her corduroy slacks.

As I fixed myself nonchalantly as if I didn’t just prairie dog my way into the third row, the lights dimmed and the music commenced.

Chromat was a thrill, an electric rainbow of fluorescent leotards, bungee-wrapped midi dresses, and futuristic athleticism. It was mind-altering yet cohesive, not to mention the recurring accessories were bags of Cheetos stuffed into the pockets of vibrant cargo pants, a trend that I was an early adopter of in my formative years.

What truly astounded was a lineup of models that sashayed across various spectrums. In a time where inclusivity can seem trendy rather than vital, it was refreshing to see a slew of bodies reaching almost every marginalized physicality. Any sort of status quo was dismissed with a colorful range of physical and social identities. If an alien were to plummet to earth mid-show, they would be oblivious to any existing standards of beauty, approve of our existence as a species, and then consider investing in a neon monokini.

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The show came to a close, yet the infectious sounds of synth continued, prodding attendees to hang back and mingle. Still reeling from the presentation, I found a comfort corner to sink into while I people watched.

As an outsider who weaseled her way in, the adrenaline of fashion week was invigorating and having these sartorial scenes within arms reach was dizzying. And yet, I could not fend off feelings of vulnerability. Especially post Chromat. At its conclusion, showgoers rose from their seats in unison and formed huddles sealed with impenetrable forcefields made from Vetements jackets. I craved camaraderie as I looked on longingly. I also decided that feeling lonely while wearing sparkle socks makes for a conflicting headspace.

My sadness was interrupted when I stole a glance at an inspiring individual wearing a rainbow fringe jacket. My insecurities were fleeting, as my awe quickly replaced any sense of inhibition. Plus, every time I looked down at my sparkle socks they told me to perk the hell up.

This thought process continued through the remainder of the week. Through the dark athletism of YAJUN and the contemporary sheen of Sally LaPointe, I felt the thrill of sartorial wanderlust and the dread of the inevitable end of the vacation. The disposition of an outsider looking in.

It’s because fashion is a vacation. It transports you from the realities of life to a constructed vision of beauty and self-assurance. For some, it’s a trivial distraction. For others, it’s escapism you can wear. It’s felt when donning a beret, colorful tights, or even a band tee, and it’s all-consuming when thrown into the thralls of fashion week.

To digress, fashion is a treat and I was beyond lucky to indulge in its sweetest form. I learned to always come prepared with small talk, and that sparkle socks will elevate almost any ensemble. I witnessed diversity in its most energized form and snack foods as legitimized accessories. I walked away enthused by its energy, but also extra appreciative of sweatpants and simple pleasures. But mostly, I craved Cheetos.

Invading Fashion Week: A Memoir

Chapter 1: The Inception

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I’ve attended fashion shows in the past, yet have never fully binged on the 5-course feast known as New York Fashion Week. Last season I flew in from California to see Leanne Marshall’s show wearing a wrinkled blouse and a hangover from the wedding I attended the night before. The designs were both vibrant and whimsical, and I locked down an interview with the designer herself. Regrettably, I had to catch a flight soon after, and the blur stemming from Prosecco-infused brain damage lessened the experience.

After moving back to New York City, I was equipped with access to a steamer and the discipline to throw myself in bed sans inebriation. My wrinkle-free attitude and physical self would return with vengeance.

Before we dive into the thick of it, let me tell you how I weaseled my way in, in case you’ve aspired to witness its glory, or simply want to be an impeccably-dressed wingman for the week’s loneliest attendee.

Aside from tackling hard news on the best site to ever exist, I also write for a fun platform called La Moda Channel and planned to cover some shows for their website. I first started my research on this site called Modem. Here you can find a comprehensive schedule for the week and contact information for each designer’s PR team. After touching up my email sign off with a La Moda logo and a self-appointed Content Contributor title, I slid into the inbox of every public relations intern in the tri-state area.

Soon after, a bevy of invites and many, many more rejections filled my inbox. While I will never forgive Raf Simons for not sending me a popcorn-gram and seat assignment next to Milly Bobby Brown, I was elated to receive the go-ahead from a slew of labels.

February 8th: A Thirsty Thursday

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I woke up Thursday ready for the commencement of my first ever full fashion week and hit the ground running (in a confused, panicked sort of way.) I call it Thirsty Thursday because I was READY, and also parched because I couldn’t fit a water bottle into my handbag that resembled a wicker briefcase for hobbits. After requesting time off at my 9-5, I left work early to catch the Pamella Roland show at Chelsea Piers.

Of course, I arrived painfully early. After checking in as press, I was escorted backstage, and mid-journey got tangled in the moving legs of a herd of models. One of them complimented me on my cute, short stature, and I graciously shouted thank you up from sea level. After clawing my way free, I made it to a spacious room bustling with cameras, stylists, makeup artists, press stations, and Nigel Barker. I was scheduled to interview Pamella post-show, so I found a comfort corner where I could whisper positive affirmations to myself and make meaningful eye contact with Nigel.

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15 minutes prior to start time, I made my way to the entrance of the show. Miraculously, I found my seat assignment in the front row and shed a single tear. After experimenting with six different leg positions and pursed-lip facial expressions, a very friendly gentleman took a seat next to me. Congenial small talk ensued until a visitor in a fur coat cut in to greet my new acquaintance. In subdued astonishment, I realized this furry gentleman was Miss Jay from America’s Next Top Model which cued me to partake in their shared laughter with manic giggling. These were my people now.

Side note: It appeared half of the original judging panel from America’s Next Top Model was there. I wondered… did I stumble into the reboot? Was the man next to me actually Tyra preparing to rip a wig off to ask me if I wanted to be on top? I braced myself for the reveal.

My neighbor took his seat again. Turns out, he’s the former fashion director of every fashion publication I’ve ever loved including Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle. He then told me about an exhibit at FIT featuring one of America’s most influential and unrecognized designers, Charles James. With exuberant interest, I told him I would check it out, and then regaled him with the fact that I had been to London once.

Before my conversational prowess could wane any further, the universe threw me a bone and dimmed the lights. The show was about to begin.

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Pamella is revered for her opulent numbers that grace the red carpets of the world. Admittedly, it’s not my favorite genre of ready-to-wear, but I was made a believer by the modern shapes of this season’s collection. Structured matching sets, sharp pantsuits, and maxi coats tempered the glitz before megawatt numbers tied the bow of this perfectly-wrapped presentation. When I wasn’t attempting to invert my ankles to avoid tripping the models, I was consumed by the balance in mood and texture as well as the tribute to old and new world glamour.

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The lights awoke and I bid farewell to my new friend. I weaved my way backstage to a transformed scene buzzing with chatter and flashing Nikons. While nestled in my aforementioned comfort corner, I texted my PR contact asking where and when I would meet with Pamella. She quickly responded, instructing me to meet her in the back corner of the room.

I arrived in a line of fellow press people equipped with camera crews, professional blowouts, and spiffy microphones. After talking my meager iPhone-sporting self out of an Irish exit, I rehearsed my questions and waited patiently.

Finally, I was up. I was last in line and as I greeted Pamella it was clear her post-show adrenaline was fading as she asked if we could take a seat. I graciously accepted and realized my final spot in the queue granted me access to the designer’s toned-down, vulnerable side. Gone was the embarrassment of my lack of proper lighting and Seacrest-style flair. Instead, my casual approach proved to be advantageous as we relaxed into an honest conversation free of looming cameras.

Following the interview, I skipped out of Chelsea Piers brimming with endorphins and plenty of material. Before I could escape to begin writing, I made it my mission to become the subject of a street style snap. After putting on my sunglasses in a Miranda Priesly-like fashion before stepping outside, I paused and waited for the self-affirming clicks of Nikons. When ego-bruising silence ensued, I stalled by looking at my phone and channeled a lost yet en vogue demeanor as I waltzed back and forth in the same general area.

An angelic camera woman eventually approached me and asked for a snap. I confidently exclaimed, “oh, sure!” in a way that was definitely not desperate. With a slight tilt of the head and a strained collarbone pop, I think I nailed it.

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With day one in the books, I scampered on home to write my article in the largest t-shirt I could find. I then nestled all snug in my bed while visions of sugar plums, bejeweled gowns, and Nigel Barker danced in my head.

Most Valuable Players: 2018’s Best Street Style Stars

 

The MVPs of Fashion Week Street Style

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New York Fashion Week is merely minutes away from its commencement. Soon, the streets will be flooded with swarms of eclectic puffer coats, mismatched patterns, and some type of high-fashion sleeping bag to combat the subzero NYC temperatures (spoiler alert: this will be me).

The swirling colors of Balenciaga, the western sheen of Calvin Klein, and the muted condom-colored tones of Yeezy will invite the flashing lights of the paparazzi, eager to snap photos of the high-profile mannequins who dominate the stratosphere of fashion publicity.

While celebrities naturally receive the most coverage, beyond the flashing lights and hoards of security details are a stylish set of human beings who dress themselves and have managed to climb the ranks to get to their enviable positions today. Considering fashion week is a celebration of the brilliant minds that add creative integrity to the industry, I find it appropriate to redirect the spotlight to the self-made movers and shakers.

Here are just a few to add to your inspirational queue.

Emili Sindlev
Stylist at Eurowoman Magazine

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I’ve recently become obsessed with Scandinavian influencers, as their luxe tastes and uncanny layering abilities make them a prototype for sartorial success. Emili Sindlev is the embodiment of Nordic chic gone rogue with her genius pattern pairings, mastery of textures, and affinity to the perfect sock-heel combo.

Jeanette Friis Madsen
Editor at COSTUME Magazine

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Jeanette Friss Madsen also hails from northern Europe and brings with her an elegant romance enlivened with contrasting hues and an enviable trouser collection. After stumbling through her Instagram, I immediately bought four new pairs of vibrant wide-legged slacks and solemnly swore to finally attempt to wear a dress with pants.

Pholoso Selebogo
Stylist & Art Director

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Pholoso Selebongo was recently shot by Danish photographer Søren Jepson on the streets at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Selebongo wore a simple orange quilted coat with a baby pink scarf wrapped delicately around her head. Boasting mastery of color coordination and the maintaining of body warmth, Pholoso conquered the art of cocooning in style.

Darja Barannik
Fashion Editor

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Darja Barannik has the coveted ability to streamline an outfit, aka create a consistency in style, color, texture, etc, and then add a curveball aesthetic to tie it all together. Typically her sartorial plot twist is a crazy shoe that adds extra personality to a monochromatic ensemble. It’s an approach we should all take in life. Barannik embodies a structured 9-5 schedule with a hint of spontaneity. She’s like Eileen from accounting who gets wasted at company events, yet lives to tell the tale at 9am the next morning. Moral of the story is we should all be like Darja and Eileen.

Interested in more out-of-the-box styling tips? Click here for inspiration courtesy of Men’s Fashion Week.

How To Rock The Middle Finger

2017 is a different kind of year. With a reeling populace that’s heartbroken, confused, and empowered, the spirit is palpable, and more of a civic duty rather than a mere inclination. With the issues of the world becoming widely reported rather than only apparent to a few, they have seeped into the public consciousness and into our expressions of selves.

With corruption comes anarchy and with that a celebration of individuality. Artists, activists, and entrepreneurs have rolled through leaving a wake of inspiration, fearlessness, and a “why the fuck not?” message in the sand.

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History reveals a correlation between civil discourse and fashion. Whether it’s the hippies of the 60s or the underground punk scene of the 80s, there were uniforms for rebellion. The current spread of information and the bulk of the opposition has redefined anarchy style as less defined and more mainstream. It ranges from a liberated nipple to a plain black tee to prickly legs because who has time to shave when saving the world is on your to-do list?

If you were to attend a protest today you would see varying styles, even among those considered ‘conservative.’ The rumblings of objections are so visible and ubiquitous. We’re past the age of word-of-mouth among subcultures, where group think expanded past politics and into bell-bottoms for all. We have landed into an era where everyone owns a megaphone and a handle on their individuality, which I think is pretty damn cool.

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So, how do you find your anarchy look? Wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, floss (maybe) and wear whatever you fucking please. Whether you’re rocking a Nasty Woman tee or you just managed to put on socks, you’re an influencer. Just make sure you have your opinions and a shiny middle finger to match.

Wear In The Now

 

What are the longest lasting trends?

Boho Chic? Grunge? This infectious athleisure wave?

The reason for their permanence is because these styles are a reflection of lifestyles. Lifestyles are a response to socioeconomics. Boho and grunge were both an immediate display of rejection of norms. Whether it’s a free spirit beatnik or an angsty metal head, style was a passive aggressive fuck you slogan to conventional ideals.

Athleisure is a bit different, but once again it is a statement. Now more than ever health is the core of our priorities. To be healthy is to  be trendy, and leggings are now gateway drugs to an entire closet of spandex.

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A less ubiquitious trend, but impactful nonetheless is the pajama trend. No, this trend does not mean we value a horizontal life. It means, we embrace comfort and freedom of movement. Angular fashions, shoulder pads, and even non-stretch jeans are foreign at the moment. Keep in mind we are not forsaking our sartorial priorities, we are simply shifting them to align with the mood of the moment.

All I’m trying to say is.. get used to these styles. Athleisure wear in particular is a result of society moving in an inarguably positive direction. Therefore, designers will continue to experiment with sporty designs.

Also observe the current cultural climate to spot the next lifestyle trend and from there fashions will follow…

…Stay tuned.