INSIST ON YOURSELF. NEVER IMITATE. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finding your ‘personal style’ is more a portrayal of self-understanding, of your mentality, physicality and spirit. The more I was on the road towards a path of clarity, the more my style and consumerism habits changed. I used to be one to look at magazines, online trends and pick out how to stay best dressed in light of the unique symbolism of the runway. Today, I approach the runway from a very different perspective, I see it as an path of vulnerability, where a designer is laying bare their sense of creativity, understanding of society and diversity and somehow transforming that into and onto garments, a show, a production. Their creative soul is left to be positively or negatively critiqued by the tabloids and this is how the fashion industry can become a place of self-destruction rather than fulfilment. It is of common knowledge that the creative industries are seen as fickle, fake and fad yet if we take a moment to flip the industry on its head and silently observe the power it has to convey the zeitgeist of our time, than perhaps we could view fashion as an art form, rather than a place of consumerism.
Certain creative icons have been known for their transformational style, often styles which precede their times. Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith, Prince, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bowie, Barry White all had an individuality found in essence in their style.
Les modes passent, le style est éternel. – Yves Saint Laurent
London is the hub of emerging designers, it is the place where creativity tackles culture and where designers are unafraid of their messages and what they portray, the likelihood is that they will point out blankly what is wrong in our culture and their garments are tools of rebellious thoughts. Alike how creative individuals from the seventies relished in their uniqueness and how designers create position pieces, fashioned from both nature and technology, today we can observe how this has trickled into contemporary style and the more you observe, the more it is obvious how each person has somewhat put intricate thought into the way they consume, dress and communicate.
Finding a style that suits you, which symbolises you and that makes you feel confident, proud and reflects back onto you and others who you believe to be is a learning episode. Making tear sheets, writing down your style history, experimenting, questioning yourself, finding icons and making an effort are all a part of making that sustainable staple wardrobe, which will make you feel cool within the means of your budget, age, body, gender, sex and rules.
When I was severely depressed, clothing and dressing were the last things on my mind. As I started coming out of my phase of deep sadness, I started caring a little more about how I portrayed myself, what I wore and why. I became more conscious of the materials I put onto my skin, conscious of the clothing brands I chose to wear and ensuring they were ethical, I started looking in vintage shops for unique statement pieces rather than high street brands. Fashion is fickle, but it is also a means of control of your outside appearance. When I lost control over even my outside, I knew their needed to be a sustainable change mentally, physically and that had to also reflect back into my material world. We are life forms experiencing a material world on a planet which needs to be cared for. If we don’t care for ourselves, both internally and outwardly how can we expect to take care of an element much larger and bigger than ourselves? How can we expect to care for the planet both inwardly and outwardly? Yes, fashion may be fickle but we dress ourselves anyway and we all to a certain extent follow trends. Finding your style is about inward thinking, transgressing the material world to represent who you are ethically, morally and sustainably.