Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fashion more than dressing the part

When people ask me what my major is, I’m perfectly OK with saying, “Writing. I study writing.” It might not be the most lucrative program, but I’m proud of that identity. Do you finance majors get to sulk around in dimly lit coffee shops and contemplate the meaning of existence — for a grade? I don’t think so.

When people ask me what I like to write about, however, I hesitate. I’m reluctant to respond, “Fashion,” partly because whenever people ask, I always seem to be dressed like a complete slob. Can’t anyone ask when I’m wearing a cute blazer and not an oversized t-shirt with flat hair?

But I’m also reluctant because there’s a certain stereotype associated with people who center their thoughts on fashion — that they’re ditzy.

Now, I’m certainly not declaring myself a great intellectual mind. On the contrary, my mental capacity is fairly limited. I don’t understand the intricacies of the stock market, and bioengineering is a complete mystery to me. However, I am confident enough that my intellectual capabilities are at least greater than, say, Stephanie Pratt’s.

Back when I used to watch “The Hills” in the hopes of gaining some kind of insight as to how the fashion industry worked (I didn’t), I remember being astounded that this bimbo could maneuver her way into a fashion PR job. The real issue I had, though, was the message she was sending to avid “Hills”-watching girls everywhere: You can be a complete and total idiot and make it in the fashion world.

The perceived connection between unimpressive mental abilities and fashion is nothing new. I theorize that this stance is derived from a pre-feminist attitude that women should look pretty and nothing else. Ever since, fashion has retained a bad rep as an interest for those who have the time to bother with it.

But what qualifies something as an “academic” interest anyway? Art enthusiasts are certainly never questioned intellectually, and isn’t fashion, essentially, art? There’s so much brain power going into the industry that it requires creative and business-minded individuals alike. If the fashion world were actually run by a bunch of idiots, we’d all be running around in paper sacks.

And so I declare that if you are a blog-reading, magazine-studying, fashion-obsessed being like myself, it’s OK. I believe that it’s possible to be smart and still into fashion. So the next time someone asks what I write about (so long as I’m not wearing a sweatshirt and Vans) I’ll proudly say, “Fashion.”


ANNA SMALL said...


also, im coming to realize that the fashion industry is actually driven by a lot of insanely intelligent eccentrics who pretty much just wear black and are way too busy to give a shit about how they themselves look, like grace coddington haha

Sam said...

No but really, I completely agree! That's why I slowly care less and less about what I actually wear, haha...