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Confessions Of A Fashion Misfit

Monday 01 November 2010
Words Spindle


This is sometimes how I feel. I feel I’ve been overlooked by Fashion.

It’s 8am on a Sunday morning and I’m awake with clammy hands again. Was I woken by the family upstairs with the young baby? Did I have a nightmare about periods again? No, I was worried about how I look (in bed I usually go for casual briefs or a pair of British Airways Business Class pyjamas by the way)!

Excessive much? I know! I sometimes worry I’m alone here but I don’t think that’s the case. I think Fashion has got us hooked like some kind of bearded deity writing a book about his son and his many exploits as burning shrubbery. I think Fashion has got us worshipping it, and goodness me what a splendid looking church it is!

Fashion invades every aspect of our lives (in a good way like when Britain or America do it but not Othercountries, “No Othercountries, you bad Othercountries”), and it does so in a way that is somehow more visceral than other art forms. It’s a discipline where excess is not just expected but loved and unlike other artistic counterparts the ‘popular’ side of fashion can be exciting and of good quality.

Very unlike music then, Meerkuts? I hear you say. Oh, fuck yes. If we look at the difference between the catwalks around the globe and gigs, it’s not hard to see that one stands miles ahead of the other in terms of ‘accepted creativity’. I’m not an idiot. I know there’s an abundance of creative, experimental, groundbreaking music around at the moment but the industry itself has held music back ever since the counterculture of the 60s fell apart. Okay, in the last 4 decades we’ve had amazing growth in music and thanks to pioneering musicians, producers, inventors and little Cornish engineers who like to fiddle with boxes, music has flourished and carved it’s own convoluted paths through history. It’s been a struggle at times and only thanks to independent labels and dedication has originality in music prevailed, but not so with fashion. Fashion made it’s own rules.

Fashion defines the 20th Century. In a way which the other arts can only dream of, Fashion is visible, exciting and mysterious. When a new art movement comes on the scene or a bold new film director makes their debut, it’s usually treated with “Oh, I know the boundaries of that art form” or “It’s just a re-hash of Hitchcock/Dali/Hemingway/I.Am (Will)”. Fashion has managed to still retain its tall, dark stranger mystique to this day. The boundaries of Fashion allow for it to be treated like logos or brands in that they permeate our culture completely. I see Fashion everyday sometimes without even realising it’s Fashion. If I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame (I was in an episode of SuperNan) now I want my fifteen minutes of Fashion!

Hey Meerkuts, what’s your point?

My point is that… I want to be looked over by Fashion but not overlooked.

Do I understand Fashion? I’m not sure. I know what I like and what I think looks good on other people and I can admire the beauty of things that I’d never wear. But do I understand it? No.

Five years ago I was the fashion equivalent of that guy at gigs who always wears a Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead or Chilli Peppers t-shirt no matter what band he’s seeing. He’s not going to get picked on for being a dick but you know he’s just playing it safe; all good bands and nice t-shirts, but all very safe. I was wearing jeans, quirky t-shirts with Converse or skate shoes. It’s like middle class white boy fashion. It doesn’t really make a statement but it’s not bland enough to be boring. It’s middle of the road but with the illusion of being geek-chic. Like Keanu fucking Reeves! So this is the part where you think I’m going to say five years on, writing for Spindle, now I dress better than Jesus. I conquered fashion. I “get” fashion. No joy. I still wear jeans and quirky t-shirts but with the occasional shirt or tank-top, and it’s K-Swiss not Converse these days. I’ve matured. No more Criminal Damage jeans or River Island polo shirts for me but I still haven’t been confirmed at the altar of fashion. I’m less Keanu Reeves but more the other guy from Bill & Ted. I’m not even part of things now, at least with the half-arsed geek-chic I belonged to a fashion. I fear I’m venturing into the abyss of clothes as function not as funky. I fear I’m becoming Sam Neill! I NEED TO BLEED FOR FASHION. I NEED TO MAKE A SACRIFICE TO FASHION.

I was comparing Fashion with Music earlier and I think this is why I feel so strange about fashion. As a youth I sacrificed myself to music, films and comic books. I may not be Uatu yet but I’m at least a Jonny Storm. I’m within the pantheon of these art forms. I put myself through the queues at comic signings, I spent most of my weekends as a twenty-something trawling through record shops, and I sat through ‘Lord of The Rings’ (the director’s cuts – it’s like 16 hours long, ruins the individual films and makes you want to rape Elijah Wood – don’t bother!) So you see I have passion for these art forms but what about Fashion? I need some guidelines to stop being overlooked by Fashion. I’m going to use myself as a sacrifice to Fashion for you, me and Spindle. So how can I bleed for fashion?

Meerkuts’ Steps to Fashion Sacrifice (Like The Wicker Man but with a Mongoose-Man Thing)

1)     Attend Catwalk but look at clothes not models

2)     Design item of clothing without Velcro or arse-flaps

3)     Make fashion statement in public everyday

4)     No trainers

5)     No jeans

So, I worry about not being fashionable or even being able to say I dress in stuff that nobody’s ever heard of  (I honestly heard a guy use that as his chat up line the other night! She asked him what music he listened to and he said, “I only like music nobody’s ever heard of!” Tit). I want to make it so Fashion can’t overlook me. I’m going to use these 5 steps and experiment with the parameters of Fashion. I want to see why women can wear skirts and trousers but men have to be trapped just in trews. I want to try and break the monotony of 90% of men’s wardrobes. I want to go to a Vintage Boutique and find something for a man!
I’m going into the fashion equivalent of ‘Nam. I may be some time… but I won’t be overlooked.

Words and image by Meerkuts