quiestnina

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Fantasies and illusions over reality- a tale of inaccessibility in fashion

Fashion fluctuates between two images in mainstream society: firstly, there is the more common one, which is represented by a golden door locked with a million security codes, only accessible to a certain exclusive group of people. Secondly, there is the image of fashion being the world of outsiders, the industry of freaks and geeks, where all the mad ones end up. Those two images couldn’t be more different to one another, but still, they represent the same construct- a reflection of an industry that seems to be fast-paced but is the slowest in its internal development.

It is all about selling an emotion or a fantasy, that ties someone so close to the garment that they feel the need to possess it. As the fantasies got bigger and more glamourous, they continued to move away from what fashion should be about: the people, that give the life to the garment that it needs to communicate that fantasy.

That’s why fashion feels to a lot of people so inaccessible. It may not even the price in some cases, but the fantasy that the brand is trying to sell.

Fantasies and illusions are what we spent our childhoods with, living in our little bubbles, sheltered from the ugly truths of the world we have been born into. When we grow up, we realize that the world is different than we used to believe growing up, so we naturally distance ourselves from fantasies and illusions. We crave understanding, not escapism. We want to see ourselves in fashion, not size 00 models that Céline sends down the runway or a golden covered fairy-tale fantasy like Dolce and Gabbana, when they do xenophobic campaigns at the same time. We want to see equality; we want to see what we envision for our world to be but in a real picture. We want genderless, but no men in baby doll dresses, since society might not be ready for that yet. But where does genderless start? Is a woman in a suit not also genderfluid dressed?

We want to see our reality, in a mirror. Not the escapist fairy tale book, since we are old enough to know that we won’t magically wake up in a perfect world. In times like these, we want runways to be the voice of those who seem to be invisible but are louder than ever.

The fantasies a brand tries to sell feel as unrealistic as a fairy tale itself- with the complete ignorance of reality, being determined to offer a source of escapism, a lot of people who have to deal with those ugly truths daily feel excluded. No matter how hard they would try, they would always feel ignored, like when you place the children at a big dinner on a small crappy plastic table in the storage room, they will always feel like “the other”.

Louis Vuitton is selling a vison of French craftmanship. Gucci under Alessandro Michele is escaping into a world without the gender boundary, where a man can wear a velvet baby doll dress with a handmade lace collar, decorated with pearls and gemstones without any means of judgement. Celine under Hedi Slime is all about punk and grunge, two by-gone eras that a gen-z member is more than unlikely to have experienced with their senses.

In times of ever-growing change, brands hold on nostalgia, and title everything that has nothing to do with the present reality as “timeless”.

But what is “timeless”? And does such state of human taste even exist in decades being defined by change? Isn’t timeless the most mediocre word to describe something that clings on to the past, refusing to adapt to the present?

Adapting to the present zeitgeist, especially in fashion, is a discipline in itself that demands a lot of proactivity and the ability for constant reinvention. Maybe the past year was exactly about this in fashion. What are some brands without their elaborate shows at fashion weeks? This raises the question whether this is the funeral of the traditional fashion show, ending with the innocent bride in white since there may have been more divorces than weddings in this changing year. And most importantly, now that people have ripped the elitist’s eyes open, how can you make something as exclusive as fashion more inclusive?

coat- Manoush over Vestiaire Collective, dress- old and altered Topshop, collar- vintage, bag- Telfar

That’s why brands like Telfar or Grace Wales Bonner are so successful, especially this year- they embody what the current generation cares about, without selling a tale of exclusivity. They are what most brands could be but refuse to be- they are real.

A victorian child meets glitter- an outfit roundup

They say creative blocks don’t exist. What might feel like a rustic brick wall, ripped out of a trendy New York loft and planted right in the middle of your creative brain, is nothing but an illusion. What really happens, is apparently, the fact that you are not allowing yourself to produce bad work. Something really shitty, like so shitty that you would try raising a billion pounds to get it off the internet. You probably already sensed it, this post is the place where I am allowing myself to write something not necessarily amazing. And what do bloggers normally do in such times of bleak and desperation? Either a Q&A, which is not an option, since nobody asks me questions, so this week it will be a lovely gallery of what I wore this week. Outfits that kept my body covered and my mind sane. As we all know, in this house, dressing up is our cardio.

blouse- Alexa Chung archive, skirt- very old American Apparel

Monday-

Terrible lighting, since I missed the point before the sun said goodbye indefinitely that day. This outfit could be described as a Victorian child rediscovering their identity on Tik Tok, jumping straight on the tennis skirts track.

jeans: old fast fashion, blouse: Sonia, coat and blue blouse: old H&M

Tuesday-

I was rediscovering bits of my old teenage wardrobe that day, such as the sparkly jeans, which already lost half of the stuck-on sparkles to the tumbling of the washing machine or the light blue frilly blouse that I bought right after I got sacked from a fundraising company after only three days of working for them. Throw a Sonia Rykiel archive piece and a cherished coat into the ensemble, and you have a look that literally communicates layering as its philosophy. Also, this was the first time I have worn that blouse in years, and I must admit, now I understand why I haven’t worn it in so long. Hands off fast fashion kids, it will burn them.

boots: vintage, dress: old fast fashion, Coat: Manoush, but second hand sourced

Wednesday-

I have imagined this look in my head since my digital existence came across this gorgeous Manoush vinyl coat on a reselling platform online. When I saw it online, I felt an inner connection to my eleven-year-old self, who felt like a Manoush store must be heaven. I first went into one of their stores somewhere in the south of France, and I felt very seduced by their pink glittery interiors. I was eleven, that’s how you get brand loyalty. If I have to name this outfit, this one literally screams, I miss showing off random pieces of my versatile wardrobe being thrown together with absolutely no sense. I had a lack of confidence that day, so I wore my vintage cowboy boots, which, at least sometimes, make me feel cooler than I actually am. Also, there is an actual bag in the plastic bag, I am not that much of a fashion victim.

dress- Ganni, blouse: vintage, tights: Calzedonia

Thursday-

On Thursday, I discovered my love for white tights and decided to dress like a big fancy Victorian baby. Under the lovely horse print dress, even though I don’t practise that sport anymore by far, I am wearing a frilly vintage blouse, which I bought years ago in Paris. This ensemble is one of my favourite looks ever, it kind of provokes the thought of a crossover of Blair Waldorf’s iconic tights hierarchy and the heavenliness of danish design. Also, I am aware of the fact that the last sentence made very little to no sense at all.

dress: old Urban, vest, blouse and beret: vintage

Friday-

Ranch girl escaped her country life, ran away to Paris and tries to undercover herself whilst wearing a beret. I actually haven’t been to Paris in years, but it seems like I am drawing a lot of visual references to that magical place. I love wearing that dress, even though it constantly reminds me of nights out and messy decisions, at some point I even avoided wearing it for more than a month, since I couldn’t bear being reminded of the foolish things several things made me do- what would we all give now to be foolish again without the fear of certain germs?

trouser: old fast fashion I believe, dress: &other, blouse: vintage

Other-

I would call this look “you wanted to go to a rave but your parents have forced you despite your age to attend Christmas dinner first”.

all vintage, the ultimate grandma x gucci look

Saturday-

A vintage ensemble, aka the ugliest blouse that I ever purchased, and my forever failsafe pink 80’s dress. Together, it looks like Gucci on acid. And believe me, you could tell everyone it was actual Gucci and nobody would doubt it.

So that’s it from my nonsense this week.

N x

The lonesome hood of the travelling jeans

Yesterday, my favourite pair of jeans declared their dramatic end by ripping between the thighs. I connect clothing to certain moments in my life, whether it is that unflattering mini dress that my chaotic mind thought would be the best companion for a first date or those jeans that I had in my possession since I was 17 years old. Those mom jeans I am talking about, are that certain type of clothing that mutate to a staple in your wardrobe, and for some reason, are somehow always with you. They move to a new house with you, get taken off by someone else and they carry you through your heartbreak. I don’t know but seeing that this pair of jeans has now officially arrived at their end, it made me feel strange, it felt like the end of an era. I am no longer seventeen, and if I would have not owned the jeans anyway, it is a debatable question on whether I would rebuy them. The answer is, I genuinely don’t know, since when I think of those jeans, the last thing I think about would be their faded blue colour and worn-out denim material.

When I think about this pair of jeans, I first and foremost think about how much I loved them when I got them and how much my parents and everyone else around me hated them. I got them back in 2015 when everyone in the small village I grew up was only aware of one possible jeans shape, skinny jeans. Everything else around that small spectrum was not accepted. Now, when I see young girls there, they all wear mom jeans and doc martens just five years after I did it. Some things do change, don’t they?

I think, back in the day, the reason why everyone seemed to hate it, was my ultimate reason to wear them. It felt like a mini protest, communicating to the world, probably in caps, that I wear what they hate, just to stand out. I tried to source imagery from back in the day, but unfortunately (maybe fortunate for my sake), they are lost somewhere between two dusty hard drives and a couple of hundred flash drives. Even though I remember how horribly they fit around the crotch, I still wore them every day, and the fact that everyone apart from my humble self, disapproved of them, gave me a sense of strange confidence.

The second thing that I associate those jeans with is the fact that no matter how many times I moved flats and countries in the past two years (let me tell you, it’s been a lot), this pair of jeans always made the selection into the suitcase rather than the charity shop bag. I took them to Manchester, to Toronto, I sweated through countless deadlines in them, and I wore them when I put on a holding deposit for my first flat (in Montreal’s -12 degree cold). I also wore them the day after on a very cold 5-hour long bus journey from Montreal to New York, sitting across, what was in my eyes the most handsome guy existing on planet earth, but not having the courage to speak to him.

the outfit of that 5 hour bus journey, which I have spent 5 hours contemplating of speaking to that boy or not, spoiler: I didn’t.

I wore this exact pair of jeans when I eventually made my move back from Toronto to Manchester, which also marks the occasion when my feed had been the last time on Canadian soil. I had my first Wendy’s and my last Canadian poutine whilst they hugged my legs. Subsequently, I wore them when I was hungover at my stopover in Iceland, and I still had them on when I landed in Manchester and saw my best friend for the first time in about seven months.

not exactly what I wore on the flight- I wore this when I transferred the deposit for the flat. Trust me you don’t want to see the flight outfit, it was horrendous.

These jeans have never been stripped of my body by a man. This is not due to the fact that my last slightly sexual activity is more than 422 days ago (okay, maybe), but to the fact that those jeans are not seducing jeans. They are not this kind of jeans that guarantees you a pull. They are more like an “I am an independent woman and you can’t tell me any otherwise” jeans. I wore them once when I tried to win a guy back, it didn’t work. Those jeans are more men- repelling than any other jeans I own, why did my juvenile self think that this was a great choice to get someone to bed? Today, I know, those jeans were my literal guardian angels, and they’ve saved me from the worst.

I may have not been sharing my travelling pants with three others, but maybe their lonesome hood was what made them special. They are not magical or anything, to be honest, they really were never fitting around my crotch, but they have witnessed more key moments in my life than other garments did.

N x

Dispatch from quarantine, everything from Banana bread to fast fashion documentaries

Second post this week- I know, madness! Better than Christmas or any other occasion where you feel overloaded with gifted items! Today, I am gifting you with those lovely words, combined together in sentences.

As I am currently in my second quarantine of the year, a.) the backgrounds for the images are and will be pretty much the same and b.) apart from taking outfit pictures, writing and reading and doing other very intelligent and cultured stuff, this week I thought I’d educate myself more about fast fashion by watching “Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester”.

From Gemma Collins to gender reveal parties- you will see a lot in this documentary, but very less about their actual ethical morals and practises.

Nowadays, especially in Gen Z, the environment, climate change and the role of fashion in this play a big role and the negative numbers rise a big concern worldwide. It is no secret anymore, that nowadays the fashion industry with all its dirty practises is one of the earth’s biggest polluter. Missguided, a Manchester-based, multimillion fast fashion brand, particularly known for its shockingly low prices, such as the £1 Bikini in summer 2019. Whoever expects to find out the way a Missguided or any other fast fashion garment is produced, will be better off watching documentaries as “The true cost” on Netflix. Shocking imagery, but the bitter truth, so very worth watching. So, what is the Missguided documentary about, when it is not about their actual production process? Long story short: it is basically about making their brand even more approachable to the wider mass, making them seem like the coolest employer in the world, and letting the world of Missguided seem like a Disneyland for adults, a place where all your dreams will come true.

Outfit: old and thrifted, shoes: Dr. Martens

The documentary portrays Missguided as a brand that is all about female empowerment, “boss bitches” as they’d like to say, even though the high positions in the company such as CEO, Chief Growth Officer, IT Director or Chief Product Officer roles are all occupied by men. To rub the female empowerment sentiment even more in, the documentary portrays their body positivity campaign as a means of showing the world that Missguided is accepting everyone in every shape and size instead of just wanting to sell their new underwear range. Also, their critical campaigns, where they have been accused of objectifying women, are seen as “female-empowering in the four massive walls of their headquarters. Watching the documentary, feels more like watching a reality TV show in the end- everything is about making the brand as “cool”, “approachable” and “northern working” as possible. The shining star of the show is the Senior Creative Treasure, who is planning and doing all the creative shoots and campaigns. You get exclusive insight into her job day to day life, whether that is the actual reality or not.  When the camera sneaks into the holy halls of the buying team, you feel like you are captivated into god’s own mansion, by seeing how hyped up they get for getting the garment as cheap as possible without losing a word about the garment worker’s rights, who are basically the foundation of the whole show. Without the workers, there would be no clothes and without the cheap clothes, Missguided would not be Missguided.

There is not a single doubt in my mind that everyone who works for this brand works damn hard, and puts passion and sacrifice into their jobs. That aspect is very visible during those four episodes. I have every ounce of respect for this; my point simply is that the cheapness of the clothes, the quality of the materials, the garment workers’ rights, and the branding as “female empowered” when men acclaim the high positions, are just not okay or ethical. After watching this, my worry was not that if someone who did research about the industry would watch it and see Missguided as the one and only brand, I was worried that someone who has no idea of fashion’s impact on the planet would watch it and would be blinded through the pink Missguided glasses.

I am saying this as I can 100% say that I would be blinded if I wouldn’t have known before.

What I wore when I wrote the post- Skirt: old, Shirt: Alexa Chung Archive sale

So now, after having given my very detailed opinion that nobody asked for, a question very off-topic- does anyone have a simple idea why the ultimate quarantine baking recipe Banana Bread, is called Banana Bread when it is literally a cake? Asking for a friend, you know.

Have another one as I couldn’t hold my bag still in the first one

I will love you and leave you now,

Have a fantastic day- and make the most out of Secondhand September!

N x

On the power of dress, checked suits and the very first day of Zoom School

It is 7:56 PM and to say it quite frankly, I have been procrastinating to put these words onto paper since midday. I don’t know, why sometimes I can be so afraid of my passion, why I fall in such a deep stage of self-sabotage and spent most of my day mentally beating up myself for not being as productive as I would want myself to be. Maybe the answer to all this is the classic war of art, that I am unable to resist my inner resistance.

dressed up to go nowhere

Anyway, now, at this very warm late summer evening, I finally resisted the resistance and started typing out those words which have been floating around my mind all day. Today, was the first day of online school, which is still a very strange sentiment to wrap my head around. When the world started to go off its usual tracks this March, I naively thought, that by now, I would be back creating and learning on campus and being Tesco’s best customer.

But instead, I did the lecture from my living room, and now, sitting on my sofa sipping wine, I feel nothing but nostalgic. Two years ago, when I made the brave move to leave my home country, my parents, everything I knew, I was so excited but also insecure for my first day of uni. Looking back, I was not fully aware of what I signed up for, but what I can remember vividly (as if it was yesterday), was my outfit and more importantly, how it made me feel. For some, fashion might be just a means to cover up our naked bodies, but overall, it is an escape from daily life, a medium that allows us to communicate who we want to be, instead of who we see ourselves to be. I remember, that day, the very first day of my higher education career, I put on this pink checked co-ord set, as it reminded me so much of the Cher character in the movies and her iconic Dolce and Gabanna suit.

I bought the skirt to the set I wore in one of Paris’ Topshop’s and I remember when I put it one in the changing rooms, “This is the coolest thing ever”. I saw in this suit everything I dreamt of being. Secretly, even though I adored it to pieces, I was still hunting for its yellow sister, which was the other version that Topshop produced of this set, but sadly it was nowhere to be found in my size. Once I moved over to England then, I completed the set of the skirt I bought in Paris just a few days before, and once I wore them together, I felt so invincible, it was almost like protection from my outside world. And obviously, on top of all that, in those days I was very mesmerized by all the past subcultures, such as Punk that emerged in London, post-second world war, where checked patterns have always been a key item of expression.

exhaustion after first zoom classes lol

Internally, I was madly nervous on my first day at university, as most of the other students in the room. I worried about all different kinds of things, apart from my outfit, as this made me feel confident, even though, deep down, inside I wasn’t.

Now, today, the pink suit is in my childhood bedroom, and I have upgraded to this very much identical clueless suit- this time in yellow.

Although some people will never admit that they dress with a certain purpose in mind, I believe that we do. Our outfits are the skin we choose to wear that day, it gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves in a world that constantly tells us who we should be.

Co-ord: Resume Copenhagen, Blouse and bag: old Zara

Our clothes mirror our created identities, and allow us, to be who we truly want to be each and every day.

Ps: here enjoy a very bad mirror selfie of myself.

N x