What does fashion mean to you?
A way to express yourself in a creative and fun way? An unorthodox kind of reality escapism? A megaphone for your status quo or perhaps a plate armor to entirely encase you from the outside world?
I can tell you what it’s not:
It’s never just a piece of clothing, it’s never something that you just threw on and I have never ever met anyone whose clothes meant nothing.
There are two kinds of people.
The ones that acknowledge the fact and the ones that don’t.
The truth is that whether you are a Pinterest worthy fashionista, living for the day the new Armani collection will hit the stores, or a punk rocker manifesting a severe disregard for convention, you, in your own way, are still doing and using fashion to convey your message to the world.
In a way we are what we wear and we wear what we are.
Culture has always been reflected through fashion, as a non-verbal source of communication, an artful -or artless depending your point of view, code between you and everyone else in the world. So we wear our beliefs and that’s a global phenomenon, we communicate who we are and who we want to be with and whether we like it or not, we do label and categorize ourselves through a sartorial puzzle of garments that make up the way we look, the way others perceive us.
That phenomenon became clear to me when I was working in the food industry as a chef. We all wore uniforms and unless you saw me before I made my way to the changing rooms, you would have no clue about who I am, my personal preferences or my social status. Stripped from all my personal elements, you could only tell that I cook for a living and that I defy the laws of physic with my knife skills.
In the kind of a working environment where men would typically weren’t allowed to grow a beard or have long hair, where women had to put their hair up and change from their sexy bodycon dresses into a baggy uniform with long sleeves that would hide all sorts of tattoos and battle scars we were all the same.
This of course comes with a blend of ambivalent outcomes. On the one hand you might miss the chance to instantly identify the ones that have the exact same interests with you on the other you might end up getting to know all sorts of people that you otherwise wouldn’t in a million years. And get to learn from them, expand your horizons and feed an intensely inquisitive mind.
Speaking from experience, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, take me to a punk/metal venue and rest assured that I will be comfortable enough to make five new friends within an hour, as I take for granted that we have plenty in common and a bunch of stuff to talk about, including how “The Ramones” had a song for every letter of the alphabet. If you bend the rules for U, V, and X, that is.
But would I approach the girls with their lace skater dresses sipping expensive lattes at a hip café with the same lack of precaution? Probably not. At least the old version of me wouldn’t as I now strive for an open mind for a different view and nothing else matters.
In any case, if you think about it you will probably come to the same conclusion.