A while ago someone asked me what vision and goals I had for the landscape and industry of fashion that currently exists. As I am transitioning away from Patreon to a blog format in which I plan to group all of my opinions and ideas, I wanted to answer that question and talk about my goals moving forward in the tiny space that I occupy in online fashion discourse. What does a naïve 21-year-old want out of the fashion system that he sees in front of himself today? I’m sure everyone is dying to know.
My journey through this fashion has led to the decision that, I want to study and make a solid career out of something else. I’ll spare you all of the personal reasons that have led me to this conclusion and instead talk about fashion’s impact on this decision. I don’t plan to completely switch off and remove myself from my interest in fashion, on the contrary, I think that I could become more engaged in it than ever but from a removed perspective. I’ve found that my appreciation and opinions surrounding the medium have only grown richer through my interest in other subjects. Fashion taken at face value, gets boring very quickly, as does any medium of art. It’s everything else that leads to forming the final piece that I derive a majority of my interest which can be said about any medium of art. After all, that’s why they are called mediums because they are ways of conveying something, ideas or opinions, moods or feelings. As highly as I value a sense of beauty in my life, “retinal art” as Duchamp labelled it, ‘artworks designed to please the eye, without philosophical or political content’ lacks the complexity that really tickles my interest. For this reason, I can find beauty in the works of Monet but they never held me past their surface-level prettiness. I feel similarly about the conventionally beautiful clothing made by the likes of Dior and most conglomerate-owned brands. They are not ugly, they’re beautiful, but they are empty. They don’t satisfy other conditions such as portraying truth, goodness, love or critical thought, in fact, they often portray the less appealing sides of humanity which I’ve come to want to involve myself with less and less. Imbuing the feelings that I looking for in clothing doesn’t just come from designing or going to school, they come from living.
Although I started my journey into fashion with the desire of becoming a designer, I’ve come to witness that I’m more cosmically attracted to helping others along their paths. If I wanted to be a designer, that’s what I would spend most of my time doing, designing and creating. Instead, I create YouTube videos that I would have liked to have consumed when I began my interest in fashion. And with my other time, I’m learning languages and programming, exercising, and just constantly putting clothing design on the back burner. But I took my initial dreams as an immovable force, a path that I had already paved in my head and was mine to take because it was one of the first independent decisions I made for the direction of my life and I wanted it desperately. Although since then my actions have spoken for me. I reached my independence through other means, that was what I wanted. My final sobering moment was being rejected for the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Art’s fashion program. I was not sure if I wanted it that bad and the effort that I put into my portfolio demonstrated that. I had been accepted to multiple programs the year before applying to Antwerp, but I chose to pursue content creation and delay my entry into fashion. Now faced with the reality of having to wait yet another year was the reality check that I needed. So a piece of unsolicited advice, reflect on what it is you do every day and how much you enjoy it. Make your decisions based on that, not on the ideas of what you want to do in your head.
I liked the idea of being a designer and an artist more than the reality. The reality of working incredibly hard and long, having to arduously critique yourself and take critique from others for something that at the end of the day, most people come to take for granted, even within the industry. Where connections and wealth mean 100x more than any sort of talent and hard work. I know connections and wealth provide a boost in any industry, but in the field of arts, these factors are overtly blatant and can be inescapably crushing. There is universal objectivity in the work of a scientist, but because the art of curation has been lost, anything artistic can succeed given the right business backing. The topic of curation is something that I want to cover after I finish David Blazar’s book, Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else.
Another factor in my decision to not ardently pursue fashion is to preserve the sense of freedom that comes with art and creation. I find that this is only truly achieved when you create for the self or loved ones, not for the sake of financial security which is in turn tied to mental sanity. In my opinion, that spiritual feeling of creation is lost once the act of creation is constrained to the judgements of others. Another topic that I plan to write about.
Fashion is an oversaturated medium as it is. I think it could do with more people that offer different services than design. From talking to all kinds of people that are working or studying fashion and various arts, I have found that I have a more structured, rational way of thinking than the artists and designers that surround me. Not to say I’m above them in any way, I just observed different ways of thinking that suit us to different tasks. I see how they are made to be artists and how I am not. I think my innate attraction to the arts comes from my lack of innate understanding of them. I always found the logical structures and patterns of maths and science easy to comprehend, an aspect that does not always overlap in art. In the art that I find myself most attracted to, I find aspects that I enjoy and can relate to as well as aspects that escape my realm of thinking which make me change how I think. With how my mind works, I don’t think that I can create something that truly mesmerises me. Not to say that I don’t find some sort of joy out of creation, I do, but I find a more ethereal fulfilment out of observing the works of artists that require me to think in a way that I haven’t ever before. In the same way that I value the skills of a person like this, I can see the value in the skills and way of thinking that I possess to help others and I’m sure that there are others like me interested in art in such a way.
I’m currently working with a designer to create a social media presence for them and grow a following. If I can accomplish that, then maybe what I achieved for myself wasn’t just dumb luck. So I think that is the goal that I have found for my work. As cliché as it is, to help others reach a goal that I do not want. I hope to do this through the development of this blog and the resources on it, by having guest writers, a contemporary fashion encyclopedia, interviews with designers and, one day, maybe even selling some jawns that I designed myself at a small scale. In the end, I hope to pursue other interests in my personal life and have this blog as a hobby to help anyone that sees something helpful in it. Rather than striving for some larger-than-life goal in revolutionising the industry which I admittedly dreamed of doing when I first started gaining traction on my content, the idea of making a splash by helping those devout to their work gives me the satisfaction that I think that I want out of fashion. I believe that I can have a larger impact and help others in this way, rather than adding to the heap of struggling brands as if the clothing that I have to make is really that unique because I know that there are those more devoted and talented than I am. I’ve found more peace with my relationship with fashion in the last few weeks by coming to terms with these realisations. I wish everyone working hard to make it good luck and I hope that I have or can help in some way.
Hopefully, the analysis I have coming on Yohji Yamamoto in the coming days provides some insight…