Photo courtesy of Lea Colombo – for i-D Magazine
I’m sure people are wondering what the fuss is about – why so much of our headspace (no not the app) is consumed with 'fashion' and passing trends. Trends that come and go, and come and go again. ‘The gingham ruffle’ has been hanging around like a bad smell for months now. I leave each high street store depressed, practically menopausal (I’m 28) and craving catastrophic chaos. That or a shot of absinthe. I head for the most charitable street in Dublin, Camden Street, and prepare to rummage through former lives. I enter Dunnes Stores and wonder if I'm in the 'wrong' store – Irish designer Joanne Hyne's new collection may be the most exciting thing to happen to the Irish high street, ever. I make a beeline for British Vogue and flick frantically until I locate fashion editor Lucinda Chamber's latest shoot – I need that hit from overseas. I screenshot my way through Instagram – my current photo album count is at 22,222. Don't you know.
I like clothes. I like that what I wear says something about who I am. I was a shy teenager, awkward and slightly too aware (by aware I mean obsessed) with how people perceived me. I was never going to be the cool, opinionated girl who could hold a cigarette, a boy’s attention, and a conversation at the same time (I am by the way embarrassed that this is who I wanted to be). But I had something none of the other girls had. It wasn’t much, certainly not to them, but to me it was everything. I could use fashion as a way to express myself and by doing so, set myself apart. In this way, I felt empowered and worth something, that despite my shortcomings, which at the time were all-consuming, I was unique in some small way. That to me, is what fashion is about. What it’s not and what a lot of people think it is, is a shallow glossy shell of a girl groomed and perfected to within an inch of her life. That is the high street, reality television and mainstream media’s version of fashion – an entirely different thing to you and me and our personal relationship with what we choose to wear.
It does however seem funny that something so loud and assertive and attention-seeking could be associated with a shy teenage girl. That an industry so defined by its larger than life personalities and narcissistic tendencies could also have been my path to self-discovery. Even today, aspects of having a fashion blog still terrifies me – being photographed sends me into anaphylactic shock, actively putting myself out there (in every sense of the word) is not something that comes naturally to me. I like to think of myself as anti-social, on purpose. But, it’s the truth and so much of who I am today is caught up in what I wear and how I wear it – that would have still been the case had I not started a blog. But I did. This was not to become an influencer or even a ‘fashion blogger’, but because I clearly have an addiction (see above) and more importantly, because I wanted to show how fashion doesn't have to look like every 'trend' page you've ever seen. It can look like a cross between your granny in her going away outfit in the 50s and Kate Moss being Kate Moss in the 90s, or your Dad on safari in the 80s and Grace Jones doing disco in Studio 54 in the 70s. It can look like anything you like. Fashion is supposed to be fun, and frivolous, and filled with as much meaning as you allow it. Fancy that.