Whimsical -a beautiful word, ugly connotations. We are assumed, if aesthetics are our emotional compass, to be shallow, silly, stupid. We are believed to be mindless consumers and ridiculous cogs in the capitalist wheel. I recall feeling, for years, that pursuing fashion made me less than my university attending friends. My exaggerated use of big words and eloquent explanations of my future goals were an attempt to prove myself smarter than my hobbies and interests suggested. I was all too aware that those unaffected or unmoved by the theater of individual style and the pure delight of fashion misunderstood my values, my core, my humanity.
It seems, as a fashion lover, my substance is questioned by those who are moved more through sound, or touch, or the written word, the stage, or film. Fashion is locked in the "simple" box alongside it's devotees; criminals guilty of enjoying light, texture, colour, fantasy and character. Being enthralled by the art of individual expression is equated to being all the things I am not; superficial, unintelligent and mindless. It is not a matter of asking for acceptance, long ago I gave up trying to desperately prove myself beyond this societal perception. This isn't about me, but has become a bigger question I now ponder - can we change the perception of the industry which gets a bad wrap from the intellects, the artists, the scientists, the social commentators?
Some of the most creative, intelligent and brilliant humans I know enjoy the whimsical. Far from a place of empty desires, they source rich inspiration and deep satisfaction from the stories told on the streets through fashion, in all its expressive glory. In a world of over exposure, Instagram and Fashion Police, it is easy to miss the art among the chaos. It is forgivable that on the outside looking in, the fashion industry is rife with exploitation, environmental devastation and endless production. No industry is immune to destruction and I hope the future holds big change, I see an opportunity, a chance for a re-birth, the potential for a massive over haul on the never ending quest for "new, new, new". Vintage isn't just a cute hashtag, it is a way forward that hasn't been fully embraced. Everything old can be new again, the op-shopping phenomenon has not yet been unlocked on a global, marketable scale. There is massive potential for a new benchmark of re-invention and renewable energy on a scope far surpassing any other industry. Where fashion leads, the "followers" follow.
The whimsical isn't wrong. It is young. It is joyful. It is beauty for beauties sake, a pleasure for the soul. Dressing is a form of art, a narrative, a one man show or a cultural identity. It is art that walks, talks and breaths, art which is accessible to all and belongs entirely to the individual. So are we wrong for enjoying all this? Are we silly? Are we shallow? Are we wasting our time? Quite the opposite, The whimsical feeds our souls, fuels our dreams and keeps the child in us alive when the world is trying to force us to grow up. What is more beautiful than that?