Reading a fashion magazine one day, lying side by side on our paunches, Donna and I were turning pages over pages of what-to-wear and what-not-to-wear. It has been a while after we finished our fashion school and ever since, we have been ritualistically reading fashion monthlies, trend reviews and textile newsletters. This was a habit since our research methodology classes. Most of the times, there would be an upshot of reflective discussions which would often divert into throwaway gossips, wedding campaigns, beloved songs, makeup and countless other unsuccessful DIYs.
From many a costume in those magazines, prints were reproduced and edited for assignments, coiffures were tried on each other and then there were many unfortunate days when we fought and argued to death. This is an excerpt of a small discussion on one such magazine reading hour.
It was an old April 2002 issue of NYLON (USA) from Sunday second-hand market. Cherub shape face of Tasha Tilburg was on the cover and we were halfway through the editorial feature of Alanis Morrisette. Tea break fetched in a discussion as to how our closet has become dense. We are living in the times when our choices on clothing and accessories are no longer ours. We look like clones of each other, wearing what has been articulated by magazines, social influencers, celebrities and in few cases our friends at work. Every day on the streets and boulevards, brands bombard you with visuals telling you that you are out of trend. And that is until you buy this “must have in your closet” mysterious piece of clothing which by the way will go out of trend next season. So you buy and throw and then buy new and again throw. You are being told every day that you are inadequate until you have this “wardrobe essential”, “beauty regimen” and a “trending hot” piece.
To the amazing success of these influencers, we all look so similarly in trend. Every second guy on the street is bearded today much like recall of the Vikings in 2015. Every dame has a shoulder length bob and distressed pair of jeans. Individualism got derailed somewhere in the decade of 60s and the last fashion icon remaining today is maybe Ms Iris Apfel. We have lost the distinctive connection with our clothes. There is no emotional value to a piece of clothing because we have so many to wear and our love for them has divided to decimals. The cover of NYLON had punk’s grand dame, Vivienne Westwood saying: “The whole 20th century was a mistake” and we were somehow nodding. Today we live a life of excess. There is a never-ending yearning to wear something new every time and lots of disappointment due to inability to dress up to self-expectation. So much hustle to become trendy for some sort of recognition in the social strata. How about not caring what is out-of-trend and wearing what the heart says? That would even de clutter our spaces. So here is how it all narrowed down.
“How shall it be, should there exist a parallel universe devoid of fashion as we know it? A domicile where no one tells you as to what is stylish, the “must have”. A place where there is no media and billboard. There are just shops where clothes are retailed. People go to purchase clothes when their old ones are tattered, are no more cosy and comfortable. The garments are just made to the fancy of the designer. In that instance, what would you pick for yourself?” asked Donna.
“What would you?” I probed back.
A knitted white bodysuit in green polka dots is what Donna wants to wear every Saturday and I would like to accompany her in a tropical print shirt that ends at my ankles.We decided to be unfashionable …….. because as Mark Lampe said, “Life is short, wear tropical shirts!