The last time I made a legitimate attempt at an outfit post was in march of last year which was just a little under a year ago. Why? I can assure you that it had nothing to do with laziness. The real reason I stopped posting outfits and then basically stopped posting all together had a lot to do with my increasingly tumultuous relationship with fashion, fashion blogging, and consumerism. There was a time when I was largely wide-eyed and innocent to the very things that I now find extremely questionable. I looked at fashion strictly as a form of self-expression - an extension of one's personal identity - as well as an art form. I disagreed with others who viewed fashion as nacissitisc and self indulgent. Where others saw an industry built on hierarchy, exclusionism, and blind consumerism, I respected and adored the creations of designers and marvelled in their creativity and ability to translate what they envisioned in their minds into items of clothing. Fashion was so misunderstood! And even those who scoffed at the world of fashion were not immune to it. After all, every social group had some type of "dress code" and even those who claimed to be above it all still considered how something would look on them before purchasing. We all have some measure of ego (which is completely okay!) not to mention the fact that we humans are extremely visual creatures. Even functionable things like chairs and placemats are designed to be visually attractive. I felt that no one put it better than good ole Miranda Priestly:
'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.However, I was also ignoring things I didn't want to think about. My frequent visits to a certain expensive department store in west berlin (kadewe, i'm lookin at you) were spent roaming from store to store lusting after designer bags, shoes, sunglasses, wallets, keychains, and jewelry and, to tell you the truth, I wanted to own it all. A large part of me wanted to wrap my arms around a mulberry and never let go because of it's purely aesthetic value as well as it's value as a functional piece of artwork. I wanted to have a little piece of the designers I loved in my own possession. But I was also ignoring the fact that, whether or not we want to admit it, a subtantial sense of exclusivity does belong to the fashion industry: exclusitivty in terms of limited edition pieces and waiting lists that never do seem to make it down to the masses, as well as the exclusive financial bracket one had to belong to in order to afford such things. True, there's always the option of turning off the electricity for 6 months and eating ramen non stop until your sodium intake causes you to swell up and explode in order to afford that miu miu dress (but at least you will look good while doing it!), and many people do just that. But, just based on the sheer nature of being extremely expensive, luxury items are largely unattainable for most people.
I was also ignoring the fact that I did feel the slight need to validate myself when shopping at such stores by wearing designer pieces in order to be taken seriously by sales people, which is a really warped idea. Meanwhile, outside of the store I felt uneasy, turning my bags to face inward, lest a designer log be seen. Five years ago in Berlin, fashion that was not cheap or vintagey was pretty much shunned (for the right and wrong reasons). I was almost embarrased to walk around with designer duds. It was a strange dichotomy. Good ole retail therapy was also to blame, as shiny new things seemed to make getting over a bad breakup more bareble. On a broader level though, I still loved self-expression through fashion and was blogging full force. I took outfit pictures relatively regularly and devoted a lot of time to my blog. It was around this time that my blog began to get more recognized and I was able to attend some events during fashion week. And this is when everything sort of fell the fuck apart. None of the parties I attended seemed to live up to what I had thought they would be like and in the process of networking like the best of them, I sort of lost sight in who I was. Simultaneously though, I was finding much of the scene utterly unattractive. So many people were more concerned with promoting themselves with the hopes of becoming famous or scoring lots of free merchandise than meeting like-minded people who wanted to talk about fashion. And with invite-only events, the feeling of exclusivity found their way to these events as well.
All of a sudden, the free Über taxi felt less like an exciting fairy tale and more like a declaration of status. I would be lying if I said that it was all bad. Not everyone was a jerk, and it would be completely wrong of me to condemn all of my fellow bloggers who enjoy events like these because they can be fun. They should be fun. They just shouldn't make people turn their nose up at others. And I began to see how easily people got swepped up into this kind of lifestyle. I love a good party just like the next person nor I am 100% immune to the allure of luxury. But I don't want to make others feel left out in the process. In addition to the social aspects which I found slightly troubling, was my actual consumption. I was very enthusiastic about researching fashion trends for the various seasons and learning about specific designers, which I still think is legitimate because it is dealing with the artistry behind fashion rather than the blind consumption. But in the process of discovering designers and trends, I wanted to incorporate those new pieces into my own wardrobe. I also felt that as a fashion blogger it was my job to keep my readers up to date with trends as well as blog about recent purchases. My life had begun to revolve around consumption.
My knee-jerk reaction was just to give the ole blog a fuck-you very much to fashion, and sort of retreat from the blogosphere entirely. And for a time, it felt good. But inevitably I began to miss blogging and the interaction with the blogging community. So about a month ago I began to dedicate my time trying to get reaquainted with my blog. At first, it was like awkwardly slow dancing at prom, but me and my blog slowly started getting to know each other better. I traded in fashion posts for text-heavy numbers. My readership had dropped drastically, as I was basically non-existent for the better half of a year. I didn't particularly mind though, because as I began to gain new readers, they were there because they were interested in what I had to say and not just looking at pictures of me in cute outfits. But then I thought, hey wait a minute, why can't i try to incorporate both?
I don't want to strictly be a fashion blogger, because I have other interests, and there are a lot of things I still haven't been able to reconcile about the fashion industry. I used to love watching shows like Fashion Police. Now I see how it is a parading of wealth and gives viewers the idea that luxury is the definition of the good life. But I also see how much passion the hosts have for fashion and how knowledable they are about the construction of garments and what particular parings are appropriate. But let's also bring this discussion back to the blogger level for jsut a second. Bloggers are not just there to post 20 some pictures of the same outfit and have their ego stroked. Just kidding! Some really are. But in all seriousness, blogging also takes a shit ton of time and dedication. Bloggers are also giving something to their readers, they are opening up about their lives and posting about it on the internet in order to give readers interesting content. Now I know bloggers aren't out there curing cancer, but they are offering a free and legal form of entertainment. Bloggers (as well as vloggers) can also be seen as a modern form of escapism from the more serious and pressing matters in our lives, which is probably why they are just do gosh darn popular to begin with. Lord knows I definitely watch my favorite youtubers back to back when I just wanna "feel pretty and girly." (Don't lie, you do it too.)
In terms of our own consumption, let's face it, none of us can be on a constant crusade for justice, running around in hand-sewn hemp sacks, eschewing all forms of wordly pleasures for the sake of the better good, with the exception of a very special few who remind us how pitifully human we are (like, say, oh I don't know, Ghandi, Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela,) Besides as I have previously stated, I am a firm believer in taking care of oneself, and part of taking care of oneself is treating yourself to lovely things now and then. No one ever said owning a Prada bag in itself was sin incarnate. If you save up for that bag, kudos to you! You earned it! It's just a matter of not running wild with it, not turning a blind eye to the more questionable aspects of fashion and the consumption of fashion, and still being a socially and ethically conscience human being. Bottom line? Just don't be an asshole, okay?
What I guess I am getting at after talking your ear off for about 30 minutes is that nothing is ever really one sided, and fashion is certainly no exception. It's quite safe to say that I have a complicated love-hate relationship with it that I can't exactly end, but am not always happy being in. Sometime's I am yelling, "just give me some space, goddamnit!" and other times I am pleading with a pair of black boots to love me forever. I still haven't quite figured it out, but while I am still brooding over this serious first world problem, I guess I can find time to make an outfit post here and there.
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photography & post-production: dean