Sharp Edits #Eight

...Happy New You

by Mariel Reed
A new year is a means to a new beginning—a good excuse to start again, to reinvent yourself or give second chances. We learn from our mistakes and build upon what we retain. In fashion, we make mistakes. Whether designer or wearer, we have all, at some point, had the thought, “What on earth was I thinking?” We look back with reproach on the fads that took our attentions by storm, and then slowly released them. Some of these fads became so over-saturated, we could not escape them. Some simply popped by to say, “Hello!” before disappearing again. Why do we subject ourselves to these fading fads? How individual are we really?

Following a trend in fashion is a signification of insecurity. The keyword is ‘following’. Trend followers are so scared to be recognised as different, nonconformist, even inferior, that they try their hardest to colour within the lines. They want to be seen as normal, that there is nothing wrong with them. They would rather blend in with the flock than stand out like the black sheep they truly are. Perhaps it is about confidence. Part of the problem is that too many people stress the importance of first impressions. When choosing an outfit, we tell the whole world what we want people to know or assume about us. And although it has nothing to do with what we are actually like, we classify ourselves into different socio-economic groups with various memes and mores that make us seem like who we want to be, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But the reality is that each of us has eccentricities and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. Changing an outfit is a lot easier than changing a personality, as long as you are creating a real personality via fashion instead of blending into the background.

No one in the fashion industry is guilt-free in following a trend or two. I wish I could take back the years of pastel polo shirts and mini skirts, over-priced, clunky sneakers, hold-my-gold jewellery, cardigans, the list goes on. We dabble, try, we dip our toes. In an industry that is purely aesthetic, it is near impossible not to be consumed every once in a while.

It is our responsibility to change that. At NJAL, we support trendless fashion. We dress for ourselves. We dress to express, not to blend in. I have limited respect for those in an Abercrombie uniform, marching with the army of Blah. The army of Blah is dull, moronic and is at war with expression. But these soldiers believe by looking like everybody else, they are fitting in and that’s what they are supposed to do. To me, fitting in equates with disappearing. It shows extreme lack of confidence and self-esteem. Why didn’t you wear lime green on New Year’s Eve?

I believe that clothing should be timeless too. Your wardrobe should be a collection of your own fashion; what makes you, you, or what made you, you. “What on earth was I thinking?” is an amazing question because it does not reflect on our current selves, but our past selves. We are ever changing. Our personalities morph and grow, just like our choices in fashion. Who we were and who we have come to be—our closets should be like a record of our lives. Real fashion is about individuality. Wear what’s inside on the outside. Do not be afraid to express who you really are, what you really like because it will probably look better than an Abercrombie uniform anyway. Our 7,500+ designers know the meaning of individuality and the importance of visual communication. So for the New Year, don’t be a follower, be yourself. But if you’re on NOT JUST A LABEL, you probably weren’t a follower anyway…