I understand that you are probably reading this spiel after coming across this site by accident, or because you enjoy looking at pretty pictures or admiring the waifs with gasps of disbelief and secret wistful-ness. But, and it takes a lot to say it, this is quite possibly one of the most important things I have ever written about in my life, ever. So listen up fashion whores.
And I know that everything I write here is going to be completely unoriginal and has been said thousands of trillions of times by more experienced, more eloquent fashionistas in desperate need of respect. But the reason why I'm saying it again, chicas, is because, yes, as I have aforementioned -- it is very very important.
Here I come to the issue. Why oh why am I constantly being told by someone or another, that fashion is not a 'real subject'? That it holds no 'real'purpose in the world and is another way for talentless, desperate, airhead, anorexic bimbos and mysoginistic, troubled, shallow men to play into the consumerist market of our contemporary society. NO.
If I'm honest, when I was younger, I was one of those people. The haters. The slaters. The super-intellectual 'individual' type who thinks they're above it all. Granted, I was early and pre-teen, but regardless, that's what I felt at the time. I remember walking down the high street with my mother one day, enthralled by the endless teenage girls with mountains of shopping bags, primping and preening and doing their hair in the reflection of shop windows. I remember saying, 'Mummy, I'm never going to be like those girls. I'm never going to spend all my money on clothes. I hate shopping.' I recall one day at school, one of the girls in my class was lying on the school field, grabbing her stomach and whittering on to anyone that would listen that she desperately needed to go on a diet, and that she was so fat. That day on the way home I told my mother matter-of-factly that dieting was officially the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of, and why would anybody deny themselves food. Proceeding to take a huge bite from an ice-cream. Lastly, I remember going on a school trip to some sort of camp where everyone is made to share a dorm and it's just a disaster/teen-magazine cover story, waiting to happen. There was a disco being held on the final evening and all the girls spent about a zillion hours crammed into the communal toilets, snatching each other's hot pink gloss, making conservative tops cropped and spraying so much hairspray, it was almost a crime. Except me. I picked an outfit from my bag that consisted of a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved top from the supermarket and a pair of old clogs that I adored. I barely brushed my frizzy hair and managed to succumb to a little roll on glitter along my cheekbones. When I surfaced, I was greeted by open mouths and, 'you are such a geek', 'you'll never get a boyfriend'. We were nine.
After that my favourite catchphrase became 'I don't care'. When sneering classmates asked me why I was dressed like a loser - 'I don't care', when they laughed at my summer school dress instead of tight black flares - 'I don't care'. And I didn't. I was happy to be different. When I went through my early teen 'punk' phase, I thought I was the coolest thing since The Spice Girls. I stood out from the crowd. People looked. And I liked it. Little did I know, that was the beginning of my love, of my obsession, with the one thing that I believed was the cause of all evil -- fashion.
Nearly ten years later? Yes, I spend all my money on clothes, money I don't in fact have. Why? Because clothes are a way for me to express myself, because shopping relaxes me in a world of chaos, because to me those clothes are memories and art and iconography in their own right. Yes, I've been on a diet. Hundreds in fact. In fact, I'm on one right now. Why? For myself, because losing a little weight will make me feel better, more comfortable. And yes, I start the 'getting ready' process hours, and sometimes days, in advance. Why, why and why? Because taking pride in appearance is something I am a strong supporter of, and because I feel that fashion is my art and therefore needs time and attention to be paid.
Now I sit here typing this and look back at the timeline of my life, playing over the phases in my head, how it came to this. It was inevitable. And do you know why? Because Fashion is important. As much as I hated it, eventually, it pulled me in. Slowly, yes, but it did. If I appeared to my child self, as I am now, I wouldn't believe my eyes. Chanel lipstick, in-season Dior nail polish, a Topshop blouse and Guess jeans, all topped off with a smattering of vintage jewellery. Heck, back then I wouldn't even know what in-season meant.
The reason I'm telling you this rambling, and most likely pointless, story, is because fashion matters. It matters enough to have changed my perspective on life. And it matters enough to have millions of people deign to join the industry, write about its intricacies and spend their hard-earned dollar on couture magazines, every single day.
I am not disputing the fact that fashion is central to many of society's problems. Eating disorders, rape, con-artists, abuse -- I could go on and on. But surely, because these issues are so extreme, we should not merely dismiss fashion as 'shallow' or 'inane' or 'worthless'? Surely if the thousands of individuals who step-up to the fashion plate - knowing what they do, and still pledging to the fashion gods - enter the industry every minute, it can't be that worthless.
All this comes down to is a simple phrase: 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. Roughly translated to: 'don't judge a person by their pursuits', or indeed, 'don't judge a pursuit by a few select individuals who act like fucktards'.
I love fashion, and I love writing about it. It makes me happy and makes me feel that I'm contributing something to the world. This is my hobby. Just because it isn't science or literature does not mean that it isn't worthwhile. There are so many concepts that are covered by fashion that should be shared with the world, and the bloggers and the writers and the journalists and the designers, work so so hard to achieve this, and make the world a better place doing what they believe is life-changing. And that's special.
So next time you hear someone slating fashion, or telling you that your time is better spent somewhere else - don't listen. Smile knowingly and explain to them they shouldn't judge something before they've lived it. Fashion is culture and history and art and science. Fashion is a philosophy. It is a pursuit worthwhile and one that has and will continue to go down in history. Fashion is true love, and we are a part of that. Fashion is life. My Life.
Don't ever forget that.
Sparkle and Shine.