Current Obsessions

Cinderella Story: Why Fashion Matters







A few weekends ago I went to a dinner party with university friends at one of their new swanky north London apartments. Obviously it the perfect occasion to get a little drunk on Prosecco, eat too many carbs and cheese, bitch about life, bitch about bitches, and reminisce over the good old times at Cardiff Uni, along with all of the crazy things we got up to. Yes. Prosecco always seems like a good idea.

My friends never cease to inspire me. They are teachers, clinical psychologists and social workers. Whether they see it or they don’t, they are changing people’s lives. Myself, on the other hand, well, all I do is write about clothes - in both my day job and my hobby job (jobby?) And whilst they sat around discussing their work - difficult children they are trying to help and the families they are working with - something very weird happened to me. I cried. I actually cried. Here my friends were, talking about real serious issues in their lives that involved helping and shaping the current and future societies, and the only thing I felt that I could contribute to the conversation was to tell them that rainbow stripes were going to be a maj trend this season.

The industry I work in is frivolous, vain, obsessed with beauty, image, money, and elitism. It’s overcrowded with inflated egos and the biggest issue people seem to face is that they don’t have enough followers on Instagram or have a standing ticket to a fashion show. I felt guilty to be part of something so superficial and riddled with ego-obsessed, self-entitled wannabes (no offence fashion people, we're not all like that), when my amazing friends are truly making a difference in the world.

Crying at a dinner party is ridiculous. Who even does that? But instead of laughing and throwing a lump of brie at me, my friends (being the lovely people they are) told me that I am making a difference, albeit in a different way. They showed me that you don’t have to be working directly with people to help others, and noted blog posts I have written in the past that had changed their perspectives or even just made them laugh.

Talking it over got me to the root of why I love fashion. Between blubs of tears and gulps of prossecco, I rambled on about how fashion and clothing has the ability to change people. Not in the same way a teacher can inspire you and give you knowledge, but in a different way. When I was a child I was chubby (aka, fat). I wasn’t a typically pretty girl. And I knew it. But fashion was my escapism. When I wore fun, exciting, bold and bright clothing it would transform me from this chubby little chrysalis into a (still pretty chubby) happy, and wonderful butterfly type thing. Like a Cinderella moment minus the pumpkins, singing mice and bitchy step sisters. When I flicked through editorials in discarded magazines of my parents and grandparents it was like looking at a beautifully shot fairytales, without poofy princess dresses, alternately amped up with attitude and cutting-edge creativity. Fashion was my armour against the world: against any bullies and any bitches.

Just look at the success of makeover programs. Gok Wan can pin his entire success on being the sassy gay best friend to every self-esteem lacking woman circa 2006-2009 (note: he can also accredit his success to a waist-belt). Woman feels sad, drab, lacks confidence. Woman gets makeover and taught how to dress and that she is fab-u-lous. Woman feels amazing. Husband cries. Woman feels like herself again. Everyone is happy. Politicians use fashion to make themselves look and feel sharp, to show their power in slick tailoring. We dress up and dress down depending on how we feel, and more importantly, how we want to feel. It's transformative.

Fashion - and the clothing that forms part of it - is powerful in its ability to alter the psyche, and it’s this exact reason why it is important. I’ll never pin the fashion industry and its relevance as high as the roles that teachers, doctors, social workers, aid workers, nurses, just to name a few, play in shaping the world as we know it. Nothing I do through fashion will ever be as life changing as those jobs. But I will always accept that fashion certainly has the power to make people feel truly amazing, and it should be used to do just that.


11 comments

  1. awww i'm so sad to hear you cried at your dinner party! Everyone is doing something worthwhile and contributing to society. I turned to blogs and fashion and used them as escapism for when I was going through a really rough time. reading fashion and beauty posts completely got me through those tough times and and I couldn't be the person I am today without having the escapism of beautiful outfits and looking through photos of blogger's travels!

    rachel // Style Soup

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    1. Such an awesome perspective. Sometimes I do think WTF am I doing but it's great to hear that fashion does count for something! x

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  2. I love this post chick. I'm sorry to hear you cried but sometimes you need to hit a low to see the good things. sounds like you have wonderful friends and I completely agree. fashion maybe frivolous and vain sometimes but I can also be very empowering. keep up the good work chick
    Lauren

    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

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  3. I personally love working in the fashion industry and while I do have those moments when you realise you're never going to change the world I think that's why I love it so much. Fashion is an escape that enables the people that are working in medicine, politics etc. to get away from it all and if I can enable people to escape just for a little white then that's good enough for me.

    Jazzria

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  4. This post highlights exactly how I feel about wanting to work in the fashion industry. Whether people discount this or not, fashion does matter and everyone partakes in it, it is through clothes that we present ourselves to the World and why shouldn't that be credited? Of course, it is frivolous, but I do consider it an art form (as pretentious as that sounds, I don't mean it to be) it is a form of expression, just like music or anything else creative, for me, fashion makes life that little less dull so why should people make us feel guilty about indulging in it? I'll be the first to admit that fashion isn't of the utmost importance, just like many other industries, yet I feel like people look down on fashion as something which lacks intelligence, and that couldn't be further from the truth. It seems to me that some of the most talented and inspiring people work in the fashion industry and I cannot tell you how many times a magazine or a blog - this blog, has made me smile and inspired me and I love that. Fashion does mean something and have a place in the World. Loved this post x

    electraviolet.co.uk

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    1. Thank you SO much! That's such a lovely comment to read and I'm so glad you're on the same page with it. Hearing things like this is just another reason that makes me love the industry so much x

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  5. I absolutely understand what you are trying to say and I think the same! For me fashion expresses something deeper than just a look: a lifestyle, the way you see the world <3 Lovely post!

    xo Stefanie
    http://www.thefashionrose.com

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  6. I can't believe i've come across this post, i went through exactly the same thing. I went to a fashion uni, and for the past 5 or so years I thought I wanted nothing more in life than to be a big shot within the fashion world - but I literally had this very same revalation about a month ago!

    I was watching videos of people traveling and volunteering in places that are truly suffering - after a day of planning how to make the public spend more money so we can meet targets, and it just felt so frivilus & wrong! Who cares if customers were buying only 1 item instead of 3 in every transaction when children don't have enough money to survive?

    I think the whole retail industry is both destructive and amazing at the same time, and I go through fazes of dispizing everything it stands for and on the flip side being madly in love with the cleverness and strategy of the business side of it - and from a customer perspective, the escapism is amazing and if it makes others as happy as it makes me then i can't fault it.

    I think Blogging sits outside that category, it can yes be manipulative but in the right hands it's an amazing tool and in some ways is the same principle of a teacher, but the people that read and learn from what you write are there purely out of choice, which makes it more amazing!

    I'm only starting out in terms of taking my blog more seriously, but I hope to one day build my blog up as much as yours! Never be ashamed of it!
    (sorry i feel like i've written a whole new post in the comments of your post lol)

    Bethany x

    www.bethanyalicemarie.co.uk

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  7. Your article is amazing and most helpful to fashionable personality. She is looking awesome in beautiful outfit with black jeans pant, her coat and her black leather handbag is too good. I appreciate your post. Thank you so much for sharing us such a nice kind of post. Topcelebsjackets Star Lord Vest

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  8. I couldn't agree more!! Fashion is so much more than outfits and beautiful pieces. I really has the power to make a person feel good in their skin, to feel confident and ready to pursue their dreams! It does matter!

    Lots of love,

    Marta
    www.martamademoiselle.com

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