10 annoying habits fashion people need to shake, pronto
Raise your hand if you've been personally victimised by Regina George. As anyone who's ever stepped foot into a high school will tell you, Mean Girls is a universal rite of passage, discriminating no culture, no clique, no gender. While most of reality's Plastics grow up and into the people we always knew they could be — women who champion other women — their fates fail to mirror one another's in totality. Graduated from sleepovers to staycations, from burn books to Twitter rants, from high street to Loewe, a handful continue to walk among us in the halls of life. Just a little taller, noses a tad higher, judging.
Before you get your panties in a twist, by no means am I claiming all fashion folk to be bullies (shoutout to the editor from a competing platform who was extraordinarily kind to me at fashion week), nor is there any truth to bullies being born stylish (a vision of Jennifer Coolidge's Fiona in The Cinderella Story hoist up in pink spandex pops into the mind). Foolish though we would be, to ignore the parallels between the factions.
Quoting Anna Wintour, "People are frightened of fashion. There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous." She was referring to the transformative power of clothing, but interpreted with cynicism bolstered by personal experience, I suspect laid dormant in her statement is a second layer of truth. People are frightened of fashion. People are nervous about the fashionable. Because when left unchecked and wielded with privilege, that very transformative, emboldening power can rear an ugly head, one that lays the foundation for the breeding grounds of false superiority. What's the opposite of a fashion victim? Those words have yet to be invented.
Treating this affliction is a long mental process, one that begins rather simply — with courageous confrontation our "bad behaviour". To put myself and the people who share my love for clothes in check, I'm hanging our dirty laundry out to dry. Below, the stench trails of our original sins. Let's put that narcissism to good use.
1. NOT SMILING IN PHOTOS
An international photographer asked to snap a picture of me at Vivienne Westwood's fall/winter 2018 presentation. He had clear instructions: "Don't smile," he said, deadpan, when I shot him a grateful grin. His shutter only went off when my face fell. For a group that thrives on change, why have we adopted the RBF (that's resting bitch face for you) as our permanent facial uniform? Is there a reason fashion people refuse to bare teeth for the cameras? Do we suffer from shy molars? It can't be because we have dental problems, especially since we're willing to drop thousands on designer sneakers...
2. JUDGING OTHERS BY THEIR CLOTHES
Pop quiz. What's the difference between someone who wears Charles & Keith and someone who wears Comme des Garçons? Let's try another. What's the difference between someone who drives a Toyota and someone who drives a Tesla? Income bracket is a valid assumption. Everything else (such as coolness and perceived success) is merely a by-product of elitist societal constructs. Rise above them.
3. JUDGING OTHERS BY WHAT THEY EAT
Want to know where to find me the next time you're crashing a fashion event? Sniff out the canapés. Chances are, I'm having seconds on the sliders and trying to catch the eye of the waiter going around with the drinks at the same time. Chances are, I'm alone in my forage. That's too bad, because I'm just as fun and fabulous when I'm on my kale diet. We read somewhere that "fashion is skinny". It's 2018, aka time to change the narrative.
4. BEHAVING LIKE VULTURES AT SAMPLE SALES
To be fair, this asshole move is not limited to those with impressive closets; it applies to the everyman as well. There's something about shopping, specifically discount shopping, that conjures our inner bitch. Next time you're itching to pick a fight over the last pair of boots in your size that you're certain you saw first, exercise restraint. Really, they're just shoes. And it's horrible enough that cheap goods often come at the cost of the poor — do you want to allow it to rob you of your humanity too?
5. WEARING HEAD-TO-TOE DESIGNER, 24/7
I love a good Gucci, but one of the scariest sights I've ever seen is a room full of Gucci VIPs at its headquarters, drenched from top to bottom in the Italian brand. Too much fashion is not fashion. On a good day, it's branding. On a bad day, it's an ostentatious parade of wealth. Yes, others shouldn't judge you based on your clothes, but it doesn't hurt to be mindful of how you may come across when you're dripping labels. Instead of making you look like a cultured cognoscenti with finesse, you just look like a human billboard desperate for attention.
6. OVER-HYPING LIMITED EDITIONS...
Only to deem them passé two months later. For all the Louis Vuitton x Supreme bags that flew off the shelves last year, how often do you see them fronted on the streets recently, in comparison to the humble brags you saw IRL and on social media during the early weeks of the drops? It's a crying shame for all that fuss to amount to "nothing". The argument that fashion is wearable art erodes when a customer metamorphosizes into a consumer. To fight the good fight, say yes to calculated appreciation, not mindless consumption.
7. NOT GIVING A HOOT ABOUT REPRESENTATION OR CULTURAL APPROPRIATION
I get it. We're not all made for social activism — if we were, the world would be a perfect place. We are however, decent people (for the most part) capable of empathy, especially towards our fellow sisters and brothers who aren't always fairly represented in the industry we love, whether that be fashion, entertainment or in the STEM sectors. So the next time you notice the absence of coloured models on the runway, make it a point of discussion among your peers. And if you suspect a designer is creatively exploiting a race or any community of people he or she doesn't employ, question their motives. Privileged silence is compliance.
8. GENTRIFYING LOW INCOME NEIGHBOURHOODS FOR OOTDS
You've probably noticed the influx of Caucasians taking selfies with impoverished children for likes — look up "white saviour complex" on Google and @BarbieSavior on Instagram. A close second in tastelessness are social media influencers who snap OOTD shots in gentrified neighbourhoods with a tone-deaf caption about their outfit or a self-righteous quote completely unrelated to the picture. No honey, it's not merely "a cool graffiti wall xo", it's a historical site where human rights battles were fought. If you're going to take the time to pose just so your legs look a few inches longer in 2D, you should learn to understand the significance of your backdrop.
9. HASHTAGGING #FASHIONBLOGGER ON INSTAGRAM
#fashionblogger #fashioninfluencer #fashiongram #itgirl #instastye #instafashion #ootd #outfitoftheday #wiwt #whatiworetoday #streetstyle #styleblogger #stylegram #styleblogger #styleicon #styleinspo #wth #lol #seriouslyareyoukiddingme
10. TAGGING EVERY STREET STYLE ACCOUNT TO GET LIKES
Oh the things we do for affirmation. Tagging the brands we wear on Instagram is a democratic service to others; as someone who enjoys clothes, I'm thankful those who share with their following, where they made their on-point purchase. Tagging Tommy Ton and his disciples in hopes of a feature (the tags are usually stacked in a corner to avoid detection) is just sad. Want the numbers? Put your back into it. Build your brand. Produce solid content people genuinely love. I'm rooting for you. We're all rooting for you.