How I Fell Out of Love with Fashion and then BACK in Love With It

ankara maxi skirt
The Zaba skirt from The African Shop {Image Source}

Fashion excited me again. It was not something to be a slave to try and "keep up" with. It was not something that I necessarily had to purchase and have in my possession. I saw it as simply something creative; something I could just appreciate.

True story. For the past couple of years, I was falling out of love with fashion. That doesn't mean that I was burning bras and and took to wearing rags, I just had slipped into a funk and indifference towards it. Which is ironic because I've been living my dream of working as a fashion industry professional in New York City for the past 8 years and am a professional makeup artist. Anything is possible though, including my disenchantment with fashion.

My apathy started a couple years ago because I was broke-ish,  doing the responsible thing paying down debt and was depressed that even with a sale, no J Crew anything was coming home with me. The prospect of having to shop at Conway almost exclusively for a while almost tipped me over. I wanted to be able to buy a nice party dress for $50-$70 sometimes. Yes, I was that broke-ish. A $50-$70 party dress was not a part of my reality then. I hated that fashion was so expensive but yet how cheap and mass-produced it was as well. I hated Moschino and I hated Forever 21. I hated that style bloggers made me want to buy shit [I couldn't afford and probably didn't even really want but they just made it look good] and was envious of their bottomless sea of great clothes and shoes. I began to dislike their new posts with yet another dress or top never worn before and wouldn't be worn ever again (or at least not photographed ever again). Why did they all have to have and/or aspire to Celine bags and Christian Louboutin pumps? Where were the fashion bloggers dressing themselves with Target finds and Aldo shoes? I was angry at them. It was a weird spectrum that I had fallen into. I was fast becoming a fashion grouch.



Then there was the pretentiousness of people in the industry, not the bloggers, but the people inside the industry. I'm surrounded by it everyday. Everyone thought they were the shit when most of them weren't. They were just everyday people like you and me playing dress up, basically. Half of them hated everyone around them except anyone that they thought could get them ahead or would worship them for that time they "kinda sorta" worked with Beyonce. Yea, what-everrr... All the haute airiness of folks, the often times shadiness behind the scenes and some style bloggers acting like they had it like that (was a lot of my insecurities at the time playing on this perception as well) annoyed me and turned me off. Fashion started to feel more like a facade, everyone was just faking a fabulous life and expensive style for people they didn't even know or like. At least that's how I felt about it all after a while. Showing off became the new artistry and I was over it.

Marcie bag by Chloe
Marcie bag by Chloe in Royal Navy {Image Source}

Then a light bulb inside of me turned on last month out of nowhere. This year's theme, I appointed to myself, is indulging in my creativity and owning the fact that I'm an artist; allowing myself to call myself an artist. Along this year so far, I've been participating in anything that enhances my life artistically or that I can draw inspiration, learn or sharpen my skills from. I cannot even remember what I was thinking about that triggered it or if it needed no triggering and just came to me. With this intention in mind, upon reflection one day, it dawned on me that I didn't have to necessarily like or participate in the nuances and shenanigans sometimes found in fashion. And I didn't have to own a style blog, work in the industry (even though I do. It was a dream of mine that has been fulfilled, hoo-ray!), religiously scour fashion magazines or own a ton of high end designer items to enjoy fashion. I could simply enjoy it without any of that. I could enjoy it and draw inspiration from it for free like I did when I was a teenager and broke college student. That reflection was instantly liberating. I could appreciate and love Chloe bags without ever owning any. [I do want one and WILL own one, one day. I told myself that my gift to myself once I eliminate my school loan is the Chloe Marcie bag. I'm not even a handbag person like that but I just love their bags and this model.]

Once I let that negative energy of being whiny, envious, and annoyed go and changed my perspective, a different lens downloaded in front of my eyes. I saw fashion and design as art again. That feeling of wonder, inspiration and appreciation from my college years of being glued to the Fashion Week, Dior runway looks, when John Galiano was the head designer, and Elie Saab gowns on Elle.com returned to me. Fashion excited me again. It was not something to be a slave to try and "keep up" with. It was not something that I necessarily had to purchase and have in my possession. I saw it as simply something creative; something I could just appreciate. I quickly developed a penchant for indie fashion designers and highly skilled artisans who proudly handcraft items through various socially conscious initiatives or created themselves.

I also grew to appreciate quality over quantity and to pay a little more for things. If I wanted things that were nice and of good quality, I stopped becoming mad and depressed while throwing silent tantrums upset that I couldn't afford things right away (such an entitled American, eh?) and started telling myself to just save for things. Isn't that what our grandparents did? I swear old people always have nice stuff; they're my favorites to thrift from because they invested in quality, took good care of their stuff and it's still in good shape by the time I get it at the thrift store! I could still love and indulge in fashion, I just simply had to plan for it. If I knew in advance that I had a nice dinner or birthday party to attend and wanted to wear something new, I set a budget for what I wanted to spend and saved for a dress within that budget. Boom.

Handcrafted scarf by TAARIK
{Image Source: TAARIK lookbook}

This new outlook that just because I couldn't have the kind of fashion I like (which has a tendency to be pricey and more artisan focused now) RIGHT AWAY didn't mean that I couldn't have it ever. No didn't mean no forever, it just meant not right now. I plan for/save for the quality and artistry that I like which gets pricier than H&M sometimes. If I plan for it, I can always afford it. I simply plan for the $150 scarf from TAARIK because: I love it, it's a timeless piece I could wear with various looks, it's beautifully handcrafted and of quality, it supports local artisans in Ethiopia and India and some of the proceeds from the purchase of it fund a young girl in Ethiopia or India's school uniform, school supplies and school registration for 1 year. That's fashion that feels excellent. My entitlement to instant gratification and that instant gratification being "affordable" has been erased. I no longer have the feeling of immediacy and because of this, I appreciate fashion and my fashion purchases more. Last year I aggressively gutted my wardrobe (and accessories too!) and I'm in the process of rebuilding it with items that I need (staple items), can mix and match different ways and that I love and appreciate. Eventually I will have a closet filled with only items that I love and will wear all the time in all different kinds of way. It's feeling great to enjoy style blogs again and not want to punch the bloggers sporting their new frocks. It really wasn't them, it was me. LOL.

My new initiative on here is to include more fashion-style talk with a concentrated focus on conscious design and indie/artisan fashion design. Let's talk about thrifting more, styling with the items you have in your closet and investing in artisan crafted apparel, accessories and things for the home. I'm excited about fashion again and it feels soooo good.

Milan is a New York City based, creative writer and the founder of AGrlCanMAC. She's a self proclaimed accessories junkie who's passionate about healthy living, adventure, books, crystals, the Law of Attraction and arts & crafts. AGrlCanMAC is a resource for women of color all over the world who want to look good, radiate good and feel good at the same damn time.

Follow AGCM on Twitter /// Instagram /// Pinterest /// Youtube

Comments

SO SO TRUE! FASHION WAS ALWAYS THAT FOR ME AN ARTISTIC EXPRESSION EVEN IF AT THE END YOU HAVE A COMMERCIAL ASPECT AND GOAL. AND YES! YOU CAN APPRECIATE SOMEONE WITH SOMETHING AND NOT NECESSARILY NEED TO HAVE IT. THAT MENTALITY IS WRONG AND DESTRUCTIVE BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU LIKE IT ON A PERSON BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT PERSON PUT IT. THAT'S IT THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE TO SEE IT AS AN ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.
PLUS GOOD QUALITY ITEMS MEANS ALSO FOR ME GOOD SOCIAL AND ECONOMICAL BEHAVIOUR.

Popular Posts