Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Misunderstood Art: Fashion

I made a choice in high school that I would pursue art as a career.  I went into college with one thing most people entering college rarely have-- a path.  I knew that I wanted to do something I love for a living, but I also have a fondness for the finer things in life (great food, wine, sexy designer bags and shoes...) and art very rarely pays off financially when it comes to career.  The term "starving artist" is a household phrase for a reason.

There were a few paths I considered (and still think about trying my hand at all the time):
-  Culinary school
-  Tattooist
-  Hair Stylist/Colorist
-  and finally...  Fashion Designer

When I made the choice to go to art school and pursue photography (something I've always had a passion for, and I know people can make a living at), my fashion design teacher was really disappointed.  It actually made me think twice about the whole thing since she seemed to have so much hope for me...  But when I really thought about it, she was a "fashion teacher" at a high school in the middle of nowhere, Maryland, and I knew how cutthroat the fashion industry truly is, so I went with my original plan of studying photography (I know I ended up with Video as my major, but still graduated with a concentration in Photography and minor in Literature, but that's another story for another time).

Alexander McQueen

Few things inspire me as much as fashion does or can.  I have physical reactions to fashion that I don't get from many other things.  It appeals to me in so many ways.  Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen (RIP) have made bags that have actually made my mouth water.  How crazy is that?

Not only can some pieces be considered wearable art (bags and well made pieces becoming an investment), but amazing shoes or clothing can totally change a person's mood or view of themselves.  Confidence levels can rise (which, to me, is invaluable) and the amount of creativity that can go into collections or even just one little handbag, can be mind-blowing.  I also certainly expressed myself through fashion while growing up.  I loved that one day I could be a goth gal, and the next wear some cute preppy get-up to show all sides of me.  What I loved the best was mixing the two looks (or any two looks, for that matter) and that remains my favorite part of piecing together outfits AND is also what my favorite designers are most successful in doing.  Putting soft with hard and pretty with rough.

MY 1st Marc Jacobs bag
This fondness I have always have for fashion and designing really bloomed into a full-blown love affair when I began working (my face off) in advertising and actually had the means to participate in owning some of this artwork (i.e. I could afford to buy some nice things for once).  I welled up with tears when I purchased and held my first Marc Jacobs handbag of my very own.  It was an emotional moment because not only did I own a piece of art from someone I so admire and respect and adore, but it was a mark of pride that I had worked hard enough for long enough to have earned the right to purchase something that purely was just for my own happiness.  That's how I feel about each designer piece I own.

Most people don't understand this passion and most people I've run into seem to think that it's all a big waste of money.  I always found it funny that while I was buying a new LAMB handbag and driving my 1997 Toyota Corolla (that ran fine) I was being told that my money was being spent foolishly, but others could drive around in over-the-top expensive luxury cars and wear sweatpants.  It's all in what makes us happy, folks.  I choose a handbag that makes me drool and you choose a fast car that gives you a hard-on.  What's the difference?  We both can afford the toys--  I understand how ridiculous buying a $500 bag is if you can't afford your rent or can't go grocery shopping for a month or two-- but the same goes for a fancy car or going to bars every night of the week.

Budgeting your money is a must, but even when I didn't have the money to own the fashion, it was still a passion and a hobby of mine.  Just like people love watching sports, I had fashion to follow.  It's not that difficult to grasp.  I bet the same people who give me shit for spending money on labels wouldn't give me shit for buying a Warhol...  *sighs*

I digress...

I got so excited each year for NY fashion week and have followed the TV shows that have popped up in the past few years (basically any and all) that included anything involving fashion or a peek behind fashion week in any way, shape or form.  Popping online the next mornings to see the new collections by my favorite designers, and to discover new designers I had never heard of before was like Christmas morning each day for a week.

So, needless to say, I have always dreamed of sitting front row at any fashion show during NY Fashion Week and this year, my dream came even closer to coming true.  For the first time ever, fashion week set up a live feed so that designers who wanted to participate could have their shows broadcast LIVE online.  It was fucking AMAZING.

L.A.M.B. Fall 2011
Not only was it just amazing to see the clothes/models in action (SO different than looking at the stills I've been accustomed to judging a collection by) but it became this wonderful interactive experience where you could plug in with your twitter or facebook and chat with millions of other viewers, or (like I did) make dates with your fellow fasion-loving friends to view the show at the same time and chat via AIM, gchat or on the phone to view and discuss what we loved and hated while the collection was being seen for the very first time.  It was brilliant.

This link helped me with scheduling times to watch and where to watch.

Style.com has every show and collection meticulously archived here where you can see each triumph and fail of the ready-to-wear Fall 2011 collections from NY fasion week.

I watched as much as I could possibly squeeze in, and what I couldn't, I went back and watched on Fashion Week's YouTube channel.  I have many opinions on what I saw and what I loved and what I hated, but I think I'll save those for a different post.  :)


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