Sunday, 24 May 2015

Why I'm Not Into Fashion, Unless I Am

I was asked at a job interview recently if I was into fashion. I didn't answer the question well.

I wasn't expecting it and I gave dithery "Um, not really. If it's doing something interesting, I suppose." My attempts to elaborate did not go well either. I explained that something unique or quirky or different will interest me, but that I'm not interested in keeping up with whatever might be new at H&M. Every year, it'll have something for when it's cold, something for when it's warm, something for going out, something casual and something professional. And they'll be basically the same as last year's lines and I won't buy any of them because I already have loads of clothes.

I stick by what I said. But I realise that while I spoke enough about what I don't like, I didn't really cover what I do.

I like seeing people do interesting things with their clothes. And I mean, something really, really unique and different and unlike as much of the rest of the world as possible, in a way that still compliments their character and form.

For instance, I have this friend who... I have this friend:


This is Hollie Would. I have never seen her looking anything other than fabulous. She does clothes well. Very well.

She used to regularly host a variety night full of people who also did clothes well. Performers including singers and jugglers and burlesque dancers and drag acts, all of them really imaginative, with their performance and with their look.

They looked interesting, they look intriguing, they looked like the kind of people I wanted to pay attention to.

People like Odelia Opium, a burlesque dancer who incorporates her costume into the dance. While I have seen burlesque dancers who do the same dance in a different outfit and call it a new act, she's different. Some burlesque performers get their gigs just through the price tag of whatever they're throwing on the floor. This one makes her clothes work with her movement. They match the theme of her dance, they are an integral part of each performance. She does burlesque a credit in the way she uses her outfits.

And it is part of what makes her consistently brilliant.

Then, there was the Middle Aged Mermaid, a drag act that presents the relationship of Ariel, the Little Mermaid, a decade or so after she left the sea to get married. It's a funny act - parodied Disney songs about the high price of living in London. And the clothes are fantastically imaginative. The Middle Aged Mermaid wears a dress made of Oyster cards with a gauze tail flowing along behind her. I have no idea where the idea came from, but I love it, and I've enjoyed chatting about it to the Mermaid herself and others about how quirky and original it is.

It's that kind of weird innovation that I enjoy about the things that people wear. Even though it is just a dress, I think it makes a huge difference to my overall enjoyment of the act.

I like that kind of oddness. I like seeing when people make dresses out of Pokemon cards or Lego or bottle caps. My friend Jan went to MCM Expo this year wearing an outfit made entirely of beer cans. I have a T shirt that, while rarely worn, is cherished hugely because it changes colour as the temperature changes. In the summer, it shows off any and all sweat stains, but I think it's an incredible piece of fashion technology.

That is the kind of the fashion titbits that I enjoy. I don't keep up with what comes down catwalks, because I don't care what you wear as long as you're comfortable in it. I'll enjoy it all the more if you wear it well, if you wear it with confidence. But if you feel good in it, that's all that matters to me.

My housemate is a comedian. This is his act:


He made that mask himself. He's working on a new one. He fiddles with the costume as he gigs more often. His outfit is brilliant. It creates a character so unique that you can't help but remember him. If clothes are supposed to make you stand out, I'd come to Neuroses before I went to basically any high street or designer clothes store. We'd go round the charity shops, chop up someone else's hand-me-downs and make something of our own. We'd be creative with it. We'd make something unique and original, something that reflects us.

Which, I think, is the point of fashion.

Not to say what is good and that everyone must wear it. But to show off the way people have chosen to reflect themselves through their clothes, for other people to emulate or improve on or ignore, depending on their reactions to it.

I like the things that surprise me, the things I don't expect. The things that pique my curiosity, not because I wonder where they were bought, but because I'm wondering where the idea behind them came from. Because I want to know how they were made, why they were made, what else can be done with them - how far we can run with this idea and what more we can do with it.

2 comments:

  1. I like seeing people do interesting things with their clothes. And I mean, something really, really unique and different and unlike as much of the rest of the world as possible, in a way that still compliments their character and form. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW0rO1PjNW0

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