This week, four years ago, I wrote my first post. I was inspired to use this site as a structure through which to explore my interest in fashion. Being a social scientist, for me, this also meant thinking about the role that fashion plays in the cultural and social development of the times we live in as well as it’s relationship to personal identity. Throughout the years I have met, and then tried to understand, the inspiration and motives of those who create and work in the fashion system. I find myself, still surreally, now a member. I have shared not only what I have found but also the personal challenges I have faced in trying to negotiate a world that moves exceptionally fast, is often celebrity driven and in the managing of ethics and commerce. I have shared the moments when I have been tired from too much work, when I have lost myself for a moment or two and you my readers, have consistently exhibited understanding, inspiration and kindness in those moments for which I thank you.
At times it has been difficult to define what this project has become or who I am in it. I have played various roles; model, writer, creative director, blogger, influencer, actor and the list goes on. This is both the curse and the blessing of the current situation that makes up the fashion system, it is in the process of becoming and we still do not know where it will land or actually if it ever will. Change occurs now in days rather than years and soon will be minutes. Specific paradigms are gone or going and the very definition of fashion is getting harder and harder to be precise about. The more I seek to produce a definition of fashion, of style, of my role in this new world it seems there are no certainties or standards to guide one. This is both liberating and terrifying.
As I think about many of the designers both from the past and part of the now that I find myself admiring, I understand that they always use their medium, or their “art” to create something that conveys some story or works through an important theme about the cultural moment we are living in. Garments created in this manner allow us, just like art, to find meaning and to express personal identit(ies) and that helps us tell our own personal story in this time. In the best of all situations, they become a tool through which we control our representation and not something that is controlling us. When I view a garment where this potential is embodied; similar to a piece of art, a sentence of prose or a few bars of music that meets this standard, I feel a jolt of affect. When I swipe through Instagram and I see a photo of a garment where this occurs for me, my comment is “breath away”, because that is the response of my body to what I consider expressive and impactful. This is the moment for me when the virtual crosses the line and becomes real. It is also a collaborative moment because it involves designers, models, stylists, hair and make-up artists, photographers, creative directors and depending on the scope, many others.
The garments, the objects, the signs and the world may change but fashion can always offer up this potential to be a cultural guide, That is what Diana Vreeland is saying. The revolution for us today seems to help us find a way back to emotion. To observe and record those times when the real peeks through. So I realize now as I enter the fifth year of my project I do not have to have a plan, define myself or what i do. I just have to be, just lean in, stay true to “breath away” which means I am being true to myself and always experience the joy of collaborating with others.