One Size Fits All: Fashion is an Art

Hi, my name is Natasha.  I’m 21. I like, amongst other things, “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Trek,” cats, being an accidental hipster asshole, taking pictures and talking about fashion. Welcome to my column, a place where I plan to rant and ramble about fashion, above all things, and why you should care about it.

I’ve been a lover of clothes and fashion for quite a while; it may sound cliché, but I used to love going through my grandma’s closet to rummage through rows and rows of vintage handmade dresses and jackets (all of which were always too small to fit me, no matter how old I was).

Nowadays, I spend hours and hours poring over blogs and magazines, memorizing the names of models, designers, photographers and other industry big-shots. I online window shop too much and spend an inordinate amount of time planning my outfits throughout the day. The words of Robin Givhan, Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn are like gospel; Shala Monroque, Anna Dello Russo and Daphne Guinness are my icons; I wish John Galliano was my godfather; and I want to be best friends with Alexa Chung (and then steal her clothes). To put it simply, this shit is important to me.

Some people might say I am vain, vapid, or, even worse, “girly” for caring so much about clothes. Fashion is to many people an afterthought, a trivial waste of time.  I beg to differ. I say, you have to have some smarts to really know a thing or two about fashion. The fashion industry is a fast-paced, constantly shifting business, and to stay ahead you have to have a naturally strong instinct for spotting trends and talent before everyone else. Being on trend means you’re already five minutes late to the fashion party; you have to be five steps ahead of everyone to be considered worthy of anyone’s attention.

I’m not going to argue that fashion is not a silly, ludicrous, or ugly business; drugs, eating disorders, general back-stabbing and rumor-mongering are all regular features of the industry. At its worst, the fashion industry is responsible for forcing unrealistic standards of beauty on women (hey, who doesn’t wish they had a body like Karlie Kloss?) and reinforcing our already consumerist culture of obsession with luxury and status symbols. It helps feed into a global phenomenon of child labor and environmental destruction, taking advantage of free trade laws while simultaneously charging exorbitant prices.

But at its best, fashion is an art form, a place where brilliant minds like the late Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquiere can work their magic with fabric and create never before seen shapes and styles out of thin air. Designers are artists, crafting wearable masterpieces with as much care and effort as any painter or sculptor. Dressing is a part of our culture and society in more ways than most people ever notice. From a lowly pair of jeans to a lovingly made couture gown, clothes say something about who we are today. Designers from Charles Frederick Worth to Christian Dior are responsible for creating the styles that have come to epitomize entire decades of our history.

Especially now, with the invasive presence of the internet, anyone can indulge themselves in the fashion world: we can all be style icons and it-girls, photographers, editors and stylists in our own right. We fashionistas (and fashionistos) can combine high and low, old and new, chic and tacky, into something totally unique.  We can be the setters of trends without needing a platform like the pages of Vogue or the runways of Paris Fashion Week to do it. I say, fashion can be an egalitarian place where anyone who cares can make a name for themselves.

In short, I would like to ask all you doubters out there to take a second look at your closet and see the potential for fun and creativity that lies dormant within your wardrobe. There is nothing wrong with putting a little extra thought and care into what you wear; showing that you care about clothes doesn’t tell the rest of the world that you don’t care about anything else.

To quote Miranda Priestly, you might think you’re telling the world “you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back,” but fashion is pretty serious business in its own way.