Sometimes, more often than not, I feel like a walking, talking, tweeting contradiction. I’m well aware I don’t have to limit myself to just one interest, i.e. fash-un. But I’m also aware that it’s sometimes really hard to merge my two seemingly conflicting trains of thought. And sometimes it feels like if you talk about fashion it means you can’t talk about other issues, like politics or economics or in the case of the above mentioned retweet rape. On the other side of the same coin, if you want to discuss such issues fashion seems out of bounds.
To discuss it in sartorial terms, it’s like combining dainty floral prints in the form of fifties swing dresses with Comme des Garcons. Sure, it works in some kind of ironic way, but can you really wear that look every day without becoming a parody of yourself?
Imagine there is a wall. A big high one, but at regular intervals it has doors, unlocked, often open doors. On one side is fash-un. And Anna Della Russo. On the other is politics and global economics. You can walk through the doors between the two worlds, back and forth as often as you like. But straddling the wall is incredibly difficult. It's a wide wall, and you're not particularly flexible. And maybe this is my imagination, but there is this feeling that if you spend too much time on the fash-un side your credibility on the other side wanes. Or disappears.
Because if you obsess over Acne boots and Proenza Schouler skirts and knits by Marni how can you possibly have an opinion on the GFC or what happens in Canberra or on anything other than the quality of a Katrantzou print or if Hedi Slimane is legit rad or legit insane?
Sophia Coppola said that the general assumption is that to be interested in fashion you must be superficial or silly, but that she believed that you could be substantial and still interested in frivolity. So perhaps my contradictions are not so contradictory.
After all, does fashion not generally reflect the political, social and economic climate like nothing else in history? And individually, are our sartorial choices not directly influenced by various factors, not limited to our social and economic status; in fact you could argue that you are what you wear?
Perhaps the idea that fashion is frivolous and shallow is more about perception than reality. Maybe, just maybe the contradiction lies not in me, but in the ideal of fashion that is perpetrated and reinforced at every turn. An ideal that ignores history. An ideal that says if you care about what you wear you can't, therefore, care about anything substantial. A ideal that places fashion in a box, refusing to acknowledge the wide-ranging political, social and economic issues that play a significant role in the industry - regardless of what the outer layer of frivolity might make you assume.
I'm not prepared to forgo my love of fashion to pursue an interest in politics or social and economic issues or feminism, I want both. And I'm not prepared to allow myself to be placed inside a box, to conform to expectations, to help perpetrate an ideal I don't agree with.
I am prepared to embrace the facets of me that though on the surface seem inherently opposed, with a little digging become inexplicably linked.