Do you like fashion?

Maybe that seems like a funny question on a sewing blog (or maybe it doesn’t). Personally, I can’t say that I do like fashion. I don’t like shopping. I’m not keen on marketing and sales. And yet, I like to look nice. I like some branding. I like designing. I like style.

The other day I went to the shops. It was kind of depressing, and not for the reasons you might think. I kept seeing stuff that was pretty much what I designed in college. I know vintage is on its way out and a more utilitarian, modern aesthetic is trickling down into the mass market, but it was everywhere.

Basically, I don’t like the race of fashion. Either keeping up with it or keeping ahead of it. It’s exhausting and it’s expensive. And that, for me, makes it boring. I can’t be bothered with it. It also quickly gets very unenjoyable and uninteresting to care what people think of you and your appearance. And all this is before we even touch the subjects of marketing ploys and corruption.

I’m not going to go into the whole ethical fashion subject. We’ve been there before. We know there is bad stuff going on and there is only so much we can do about it, which we do.

The next thing is marketing. I know the companies have to make money. They need it to live, the same as we do. They are doing it the way they learned because that’s all anyone would teach them. They give us a dream and get us to buy things to build it. Then they change the dream and get us to buy something else. This, of course, only works as long as we succumb to the sales message and/or actually have the money to buy stuff.

Then there is planned obsolescence. A certain “fruit company” (as Forrest Gump put it) is well-known for this. Each phone they release has a different charger fitting, so instantly your previous phone’s docks and accessories are obsolete. Lightbulbs are designed to last only so long (really). And there is ‘fast fashion’. Impulse buying and things that last neither in wear nor in fashion.

Personally, I would rather spend my time doing something non-consumptive, like riding my bike, or painting (I know you use paints and paper etc. but it’s less wasteful and more creative and relaxing than shopping).

Plus, I don’t like being told what to do. (This is not necessarily a good thing as I’ve noticed I sometimes rebel against myself and don’t do what I know I ought to do.) “X Must-have items” will meet with more than a raised eyebrow. Possibly a chuckle.

I was in danger of enjoying myself in a shop the other week. It was almost like when I used to make Barbie’s outfits from her myriad clothes. Thankfully I have a few powerful reasons not to shop: one being ethics, another being the number of times I’ve gone on about ethics and thus don’t want to be a hypocrite, and another being money. Also, I haven’t room for many clothes, let alone shoes and bags.

You may wonder why I even go into shops. Well, sometimes it’s just for a look. Sometimes I want to visually reverse-engineer something to see how it’s sewn. Sometimes I actually need something (but I won’t buy what I can make unless I need it right there and then like when I got caught in a heavy downpour recently and bought a waterproof jacket).

And yet, fashion is a fact of life. It’s always been there and it always will be because that is how human civilisation works. People copy each other, then the first people get bored and do something else and everyone copies that. It’s not a bad thing. It just depends who’s copying whom. If the people at the front are setting a good example then that’s good. And as long as that good example is thought to be normal and not a mere trend, then we’re headed in the right direction. Like with recycling. People the public looked up to (celebrities) had to do it as part of their everyday lives for the public to first take it as a good thing to do, and then get used to it so they do it all the time. The same is happening with bikes and the CycleChic movement. It helps that Britain has had three Tour de France wins in the past four years. 🙂

Usually an aesthetic goes with a lifestyle movement. That’s just part of getting people to like something. I suppose that’s fine. It’s just that I don’t want to follow. I don’t have to anyway. If last week’s trip to the shops is anything to by, I’m at least right on time, if not early. But I bet I’m not the only one. How often have you, as a sewist, gone into a shop only to find that instead of getting inspiration, you get maker’s déja vu?

Here’s a good video:

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