Being a Fashion Spectator During Fashion Week
Like many a young girl, and boy, I enjoyed thumbing through fashion magazines to catch a glimpse into the fantastical adult world oozing luxury. Fashion. I was transported to this magical place that didn't exist outside of the giant colorful pages. Outside of these magazines fashion was relegated to stores at the mall and not much else. The wild shapes and colors with daring photographs and stories seemed unattached to the reality of retail stores. It seemed like such an exotic and far away land which I could only hope to visit one day, some day, in the real world. I created collages ripped from the glossy pages, working my favorite images into fashion patchwork quilts which still hang from the walls. I didn't make the connection that behind these images were tons of people working behind the scenes to create the magic others would glimpse in the privacy of their own homes.
Teen Vogue was my first taste of a more attainable outlet since the stories and products were purposely made within reach compared to the adult version. I really enjoyed pouring over the images for the first time, still do, drinking them all in and meticulously dissecting them later for hours. What were they trying to say? Why was I drawn to this one more than others? I was consumed, time flew by unnoticed, along with my collages filling my weekends with deep inner exploration where I didn't need to leave my room. New York was a far away land but I didn't realize the two intersected in one very important way. New York is the capital of fashion and magazines.
As I grew older the fashion dream and world seemed ever more elusive. I didn't realize the industry has strong holds in certain cities and like religious pilgrimages you must travel to them. These opportunities and jobs in these far away lands where you begin your journey into the fashion industry will not come to you. So I didn't do what all aspiring fashion magazine editor in chiefs do which is move to New York ASAP and slog their way to the top. By the time I finished college I didn't know what I wanted to do but I wasn't ready for any big life changes. Which was a good thing since I started dating my soon-to-be husband less than a year after graduation.
Fashion has peaked my interest again even though it never really left the nooks and crannies of my brain. It was just hibernating, waiting for me to rediscover the magic that previously enthralled me. My interest now is less in a commercial sense, buy all the things!, and more in an inspiration sense. The slippery slope of Man Repeller, other blogs and the accessibility of images and videos on Instagram made it easy. I grew jealous of people living in New York living the dream. Why was it so far away and out of reach for me? I mourned my place on the map. The fashion capitals are so far away. How will I get there?
Easy. The internet.
After my shopping hiatus in February I still haven't purchased any clothes even though I am allowed to now. I'm more interested in clothing minus consumption which is the philosophy behind a new blog I've been reading called One Who Dresses. While the two seem inherently intertwined, fashion and capitalism, I realized gazing at images in magazines or runways filled me with creative energy not the need to consume. I look at clothes as works of art. Sometimes they startle me. Sometimes they are mundane. But they always elicit a reaction.
Fashion as wearable art is not a new concept. My appreciation of fashion stems from curiosity and seeing something new which will never be created again. I don't imagine being able to buy runway looks in the future unless I get a giant influx of cash but that's okay. I will be here on the other side of the glass screen drinking it all up from hundreds of miles away filling my eyes and soul with art. Without going through a single airport I witnessed the Gucci heads which spawned the Gucci challenge and other fantastical creatures. That Calvin Klein runway covered in popcorn with a barn? I saw that too with a super cute dog who has more fashion credentials than me. Ouch.
Through many fashion blogs, websites and of course Instagram I have watched many a show in the far away fashion capitals of New York, Paris, London and Milan just gazing through my phone. This idea and concept which would have been so foreign to my teenage brain is now ubiquitous. You don't need fashion elite status to view these collections and runways in real time. If given the hypothetical choice I would probably choose being a fashion spectator through the internet over the international travel slog just for convenience and mental health sake. If you are a fashion obsessive this may still not be enough for you but it quenches my thirst just fine.