Monday, July 11, 2011

Fashion Week part I: Introduction

Maybe it's because Fenna's been doing it, maybe it's because I've been sewing madly for the last few weeks, maybe it's because I've been having this what-can-I-wear-to-salsa-that-I-would-ever-wear conumdrum. Maybe it's just because if I don't talk about clothing I'm going to talk about what it means to have tried and failed at something 100 times, about perseverance and failure and how that makes me feel. (It makes me feel shitty.) So instead I've decided to write down my fashion manifesto.

I talk a lot about how I don't care about my clothes. I'm a sloppy seamstress, I don't bother to hem, I cut my own hair with dull scissors in the bathroom, and I only own six pairs of shoes. Five of those pairs are speciality shoes that I only wear on specific occasions. Like snow boots or interview shoes or jogging shoes. But when I say "I don't care," it's not entirely true.

The thing is, everything is a decision. Even if it's the least important decision in the world, even if it doesn't "mean" anything, I still picked THOSE shoes over THOSE shoes, over THOSE ones. There is still a personal, individual, taste that appears. This is similar to what I tell people who are struggling to write an artist statement. They say "I just make what I like, that's all." And I say, "That's true. But there is more than one true story about your work. You make what you think is beautiful, but your sense of beauty is not mine, or theirs, or anyone else's but your own. So what are the things that YOU are drawn to? You have a sense, you have a style, you have interests, even if you choose them unconsciously."

For a long time, I made those decisions based on a desire to not be seen. I wore plain, baggy, t-shirts in gray, black, or navy, and baggy jeans. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was that what I cared about was hiding. Seeing myself was painful, so I avoided it as much as possible. In the last few years, I have been addressing that hurt, confronting it, pushing at it. I started wearing brightly colored baggy t-shirts. Then I lost some weight and started wearing brightly colored better-fitting t-shirts. I still chop off my hair myself, haphazardly and with little concern for straight lines or proportion. I don't care that my hair is uneven and my clothes are ragged, but that doesn't mean I don't care at all. I do pay attention to how I look and dress. I care about those things, but I'm working off a different set of values. So the next few entries are about those values. Why I wear what I wear, what my goals are, what I'm drawn to and why.

It may actually take more or less than a week, but for the sake of a good title, welcome to Fashion Week at Things I Might Forget.

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