Fashion is memories woven into fabrics. Stories splashed across the different canvases conveying emotions of the wearer. Fashion is passion in the physical, displayed for our pleasure across the runways, the streets and the pages of magazines. Fashion is a skill transferred from the hands of experience onto that special place in my closet. Fashion is everything. It’s whimsical, magical, creative, fun, emotive, happiness, self love, growth, expression, sadness, reflection, a celebration, a business that keeps millions alive and Yes, sometimes, a political statement.
I love fashion, in its entirety. From those who design, to the ones who put the threads together, to the many who find new ways to create and ultimately those on whom it drapes. I love the jewellery that adorn us and the makeup that embraces us. I love the history behind our inspirations and the pieces that define us. I have 3 boxes full of Elle magazines in my garage. It’s one of my favourite fashion magazines. I used to love (i’ve gone digital now) the process of opening a fresh one each month. I have great memories of it. I have dreamt many times through it and seen many whose dreams have come alive through it. Who can forget that it was the birth place of one of our favourite sons Trevor Struurman or that it was here that Solange graced the cover wearing Loin Cloth and Ashes by our very own Anisa Mpungwe who also got her opportunity from Elle…fashion truly is a celebration.
I didn’t grow up playing dress up in my mother’s wardrobe (she didn’t have one), nor did I paint my face with her makeup (she doesn’t wear any). I also didn’t fall trying to walk in her high heels (she doesn’t wear them) but I do remember the day my mother gave me her cotton dungarees with slits on the sides…I remember this like yesterday. The shock on my face at the realisation that my own mother had the courage and desire to drape herself in something so bold, could not be hidden. I felt so happy at the realisation that she too, had her moment in time. You see, fashion is a feeling. It lives and breathes.
Like that feeling of pride when I grew my afro and wore it high or that feeling of being defiant when I shaved it all in defence of everyone is beautiful. Fashion can make a statement, much like Serena Williams catsuit or Nontobeko Sibisi’s #respectthedoek. Fashion is for change. Sometimes it’s just a phase, like when I bought a pair of those horrible spice girls boots or when I become a tomboy because I loved Aaliyah. But then again fashion is also growth. Those ugly boots have now been replaced with a pair of the nude pumps in leather and my love for Aaliyah is now being expressed in other ways.
Fashion is sadness. I remember what I was wearing when my sister died and I also remember the black dress and green doek I wore when we laid mama Winnie to rest. I remember what I wore for every interview that was unsuccessful and all those designer pieces that I cannot afford…yet. I remember the pain my feet were in from walking in heels to the pain of not being able to wear my favourite dress because I had gained weight.
But it can also be a smile, like the one that I get when I look at the dress I wore on my first date with my husband, or the simple white dress I wore when we went to make it official. It can make you smile, like when I see how great my butt looks in my favourite pencil skirt or how I slay once my makeup is done. That smile that creeps up on you when a random person comes to you and tells you how good you look…yeah, fashion definitely makes me smile.
There are many things that fashion is but the most important, is how it reminds us that we are all human. Because not all trends will suit us. Not all cuts are meant for us. It reminds us that we are not all the size, built, race and gender. That we can’t all afford the same things and that life is not fair. Fashion reminds us that we are all human and that we can overcome anything and everything. It teaches us to stand up and out so that we can be counted. It teaches us that we all matter, that we are all beautiful and that we should all be represented. Fashion is a superhero, because through it, we find ourselves, our voice and we show the world who really are.
Fashion is not just about meaningless dress up, it has a purpose. It makes dreams come true everyday. It builds that broken confidence and puts that swagger back in your walk. It’s a bullet proof vest, an armour that we can put on and be ready for battle. At work, in the streets, in our homes, in foreign places and those that are familiar to us.
Fashion is memories woven into fabrics.
How do you use fashion in your life? What purpose does it have?