I have an interest in fashion. It’s not fashion, so much that interests me, it’s more the idea of fashion. What we wear means different things to each and every one of us.
So where does this interest come from? I’m not sure really. I spend most of my time slopping around in the most comfortable thing I can find.
Do I follow seasonal trends, celebrity dress, what’s in, what’s out? NO, No and no.
I don’t even buy many clothes. When I do, they are mostly the vintage, pre-owned, pre-loved variety.
Yet, I have an endearing love of dress and all things to do with textiles. This love of dress has taken me in all sorts of directions in my life, and I suspect it may take me off in yet another path over the next few weeks.
It blossomed in my late teens when I realised that I could in some way ‘express’ myself through what I wore. Throughout my early twenties I perfected an, ‘anti’ style way of dressing , adopting all sorts of cast off’s from charity shops and combining them in the whackiest way I could conceive. The whole point of this was to show that I didn’t fit in. And it worked. At that time it all seemed to matter an awful lot.
At the same time, I learned a whole range of textile crafts such as knitting, crochet, tie dying, batik, weaving, felting, embroidery and tapestry. I realised that I love the feel of fabric. Having wool in my hands and making something with it, is one of the great joys in my life.
As luck would have it, I met a wonderful woman who has since become one of my oldest and firmest friends. Esther was disillusioned with her career in hairdressing and I was just plain disillusioned. Together we came up with the idea of opening a vintage clothes shop. We called it ‘Rip the Calico’ because we thought it was a cool name.
‘Rip the Calico.’ lasted for about eighteen months, before we conceded to the fact that it actually wasn’t making any money for us.
We paid off any debts remaining from the shop by crocheting hats and making bloomers and camisoles, then we moved on.
Esther went on to run a very successful vintage shop with the mega cool name of ‘Hale Bop.’
I meandered this way and that way. At a certain point I decided I would like to write about ‘dress.’ The only forum I knew to write within was academia. I proceeded to spend six years writing a Phd Thesis offering a sociological perspective on the meaning of dress in women’s lives.
Don’t get me wrong. It was a fascinating subject. What constrained me was the fact that I was writing in the wrong groove, so to speak.
That’s not to say that it didn’t work. My PhD thesis passed muster and I can claim the dubious title of Doctor.
But I found academia soul less. I love writing, and I can write to an academic brief, but personally, I don’t find it satisfying. For me, it is too constrained, theory ridden and formal. Apart from anything else, it doesn’t enable me to communicate in the way I want, to the people I want.
And yet, sociology is an interesting discipline. It has it’s value. It just needs to work on making itself more comprehensible!!
So, that’s where I’m coming from. I want to use my blog space to return to that idea of dress and what it means. This time around, I intend to enjoy myself, have a little fun!!
So, here’s the plan, Stan. I’m going to write a regular Friday post about DRESS and all sorts of random things relating to it.
WHAT IT WON’T BE is a guide on how to dress, what to wear, where to shop- because I don’t have a clue about that sort of stuff!
IT WILL BE a random assortment of dress related posts, infused by fact, fiction, history, film, personal experience and, where it’s relevant sociology. I’d love to invite other bloggers over to write guest pieces for me.
I’ll leave you with an important thought for the day.
as PJ.O’Rourke so famously said.
‘Women should never wear anything that panics a cat.’