Friday, 27 September 2013

That's so last season!

Me in the J/W Anderson for Topshop bat jumper, Christmas, 2012

So I wore my J.W. Anderson bat jumper the other day. It was on a trip to London and I was so excited to wear it again after a long, hot summer. If this was in Bristol it would be w/ever. Here the focus is on high street fashion, we do love our Primark. And why not? Primark is awesome. I have honestly, genuinely, formed soul connecting bonds over the Christmas jumpers in Primark. But I dunno, ppl in London are more savvy, less body con dresses, more side eye.I started to worry that ppl were gonna think I was a total fashion victim. "Poor dear, twelve months too late." Cos I would have srsly looked Bang on Trend (cringe) if this was 2012. Why? Cos Alexa:

But this isn't 2012. And what happens to Must Have Items come next autumn? Are they packed off to an orphanage a la Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, once their owners have outgrown them with the passing seasons. And what about ppl like me who bought that jumper because they saw it in the Topshop magazine and thought it was the most wonderful jumper they'd ever seen. And promised themselves, if they got the job, they'd buy it as a congratulations to themselves. And they did. And they wore it on their first day. And now me and the bat jumper have a history. I don't wanna start blanking it in the hallways cos now everyone else is sucking up to a pink M and S coat. Sure that coat is lovely, but my jumper is lovely too. I don't see why there can't be room on the popular kids table for the both of them y'kno?

It makes me think of this interview in Dazed, a conversation piece between Simone Rocha and Simone Bourgeois' assistant Jerry Gorovoy. This extract in particular:

Simone Rocha: I hope it does transcend time because fashion is something I don’t feel should be disposable. It’s about having a relationship to it, whether it’s how it makes them feel, or how they feel when they’re in it with somebody else. Things should be made in a beautiful way even if it is taken from a dark place; even if you’re designing a t-shirt, it should have a soul. If you treat it with sensitivity it should have longevity.

Dazed: I think it has a lot to do with memories: this idea that garments can hold memories and they become specific to a certain time and emotional connection.

Louise Bourgeois never threw anything out, instead turning her old clothes into art works:

Louise Bourgeois - PINK DAYS AND BLUE DAYS, 1997 Steel, fabric, bone, wood, glass, rubber and mixed media 297.1 x 220.9 x 220.9 cm.Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Photo: Peter Bellamy, © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by DACS

Our most recent histories so often seem the most alien, the most embarrassing. I am much kinder to seventeen-year-old Bethany than I am to twenty-year-old Bethany. And applying that same logic to fashion I totally get how tripping out in 2012 fashion is seen as a bit of a dick move.

Louise Bourgeois - COUPLE I, 1996. Fabric, hanging piece 203.2 x 68.6 x 71.1 cm.Photo: Christopher Burke, © The Easton FoundationARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by the Artist Rooms Foundation 2013

But I am tied to the twenty-one winters that come before me. Twenty-one Christmases, twenty-two birthdays, twenty-one jumpers. There are sad things in those years. There is trauma and ill health. But there is also some really cute clothes. Why must I honour the former and not the latter? Perhaps we should not be so quick to forget the beautiful things of last season. The items that filled us with childlike wonder and turned brown paper shopping bags into Christmas stockings. There are ugly things in fashions' past, and I am not ordering you to wear your shameful soft grunge history like a scarlet letter. But if there is something magical in your wardrobe, that makes you feel lovely and special when it cradles your body. Treasure it. I have no time for deprivation. No time at all.           



  1. I've always felt sort of uncomfortable when wealthy or financially stable bloggers/industry people speak disdainfully of fast fashion. Which is not to say that I'm like OH MAN FAST FASHION = BEST THING EVER. Like, yes, okay, I understand shit about captial-c Consumption and would definitely rather buy all my clothing from ethical/sustainable brands that really care about the world and stuff. But here's the thing: when I buy something from Target (from what I can tell, Primark is very similar?) instead of the usual thrift store/rare consignment store I wear it until it literally falls apart, and then will probably keep wearing it, letting my aesthetic ground itself in decay. If I get tired of a certain item prior to its far-off expiration date, I donate it, knowing that folks like me (working class, living paycheck to paycheck, tons of school loans) and folks poorer than me won't snub a cute [insert clothing item] even if it's not the best quality ever. We make it the best quality ever. It's a weird mix of economic necessity and Lost Boys-esque imagination (ex: the banquet scene in Hook - highly recommended if you haven't seen it). So but yeah, I love this - the reminder that purchases aren't made worthwhile by their novelty alone. That a trend is just a point on a wheel in motion. That there can be memory and magic in every machine-made stitch of mass-produced something.

    1. Perfect comment is perfect <3

      I agree whilst I do not think so called 'fast fashion' i.e. cheap, poor quality, chain store clothes i.e. my entire wardrobe lol are perfect when it comes to fast fashion it is a question of options. Not everyone has the option to fork out £££'s on an beautifully crafted handmade, ethically sourced garment.

      In that sense there's a parallel with fast food and places like McDonald's. Like very few people have the time and resources to cook fresh, locally sourced vegan food each and every night. They're way more likely to pick up a KFC bucket or whatever. Cos food isn't just some kinda organic ideology it is survival. And clothes are as much about warmth and comfort as they are fashion. Like I hang onto warm jumpers, 'unfashionable' or not, cos I've lived in places where it's windy on the inside of the house!

      Unlike America there aren't thrift stores here, we have charity shops where people donate old clothes but the items tend to cost more than Primark and 99% of the time come from Primark and equivalent shops anyway! There are vintage stores and markets but they're super expensive and elitist. And of course there's ebay. But when you consider post and packaging and the reality of actually winning a really sweet piece it's only really realistic for the odd item. Etsy is great too of course but again cos lots of stuff comes from overseas and isn't super cheap to begin with I only buy the occasional 'treat' item.

      I have heard of Target and I think it's the same kinda thing? Primark is a very, very cheap multi storey chain store of clothes. Like you can buy a t-shirt for £3, a jumper for £4. However because the turnover with items is quick (because they're made so cheaply) you're not likely to match with anyone. So it's not super obvious if you're wearing something from there. Literally all my family and friends shop there cos we have a huge store in my city. A lot of people are quite snobby about it as it has certain connotations i.e. working class people, single mothers, people of color. However as a working class person of color who was raised by a single mother those things don't bother me one bit!

      I am very aware of the ethics of the shop, especially as a third world bb myself. I'm sure some ppl would find it ironic, like third world person shopping in a shop where the items are made by third world people. But I don't find it ironic at all, it is a perfect example of how the power structures in Western, colonialist culture operates, y'kno? Furthermore, I think many of these industry ppl are under the illusion that expensive equals ethical which is blatantly untrue. Take the horrific working conditions of young people working in factories producing i-phones in China. I don't seem these people turning their backs on apple! It smacks of hypocrisy.

      Once you start unpicking the topic of fast fashion and working class consumption you can't really solve it until you unpick like the whole of Western capitalist culture. And who has time for that on Friday afternoon. Perhaps the organic food market people, perhaps they could do that instead of making homemade granola. So yes until the granola bbs take down capitalism and come up with a super good alternative I'm gonna be wearing Primark. And I hope this blog reminds people that we can be beautiful peacock princesses while doing so. :)

      Thank you for being here, srsly, I do love our conversations, and I totally have to rewatch Hook now ^^

      Love Bethany