Monthly Archives: July 2016
So who are you?
I’m Aoife, I’m 26, I’m a quiz master, among other things.
And what does your outfit say about you?
I dress however I bloody want to dress. For years, I was scared of what people thought of me and felt like a chubby weirdo. As I’ve come to terms with myself, my world has gone from black and white to Technicolor. This outfit shows my inner confidence on the outside.
Where did you get the coat?
I found it when I was about 10 in my granny’s house, long after she died. I’m not really sure where it comes from.
How many weed-print items do you own?
Five, at the moment: a skirt, two crop tops and two pairs of leggings. They’re from a brand called Motel Rock. I came across it online and fell in love.
Is your style a talking point?
A guy came up to me recently and said: “I like your ganja-leaf clothes.” Then he looked at me and said: “They are ganja leaves, aren’t they?” I think he thought: “Oh no, I’ve offended this poor woman.” I love it when people are amused by what I’m wearing.
And what it really says, by Miranda Sawyer
Scarlet chinoiserie coat. Crop top and mini covered in ganja leaves. Necklace like a luminous toilet chain. What’s amazing about Aoife is that her clothing is so attention-grabbing, yet what you notice is her face. It shines like the sun, and says, “I am here!”
She is clearly happy. If you saw Aoife in a bar, you’d know you’d have a laugh with her, whether she was serving or buying.
She could be an actor, a nanny, a bus driver or an organiser of off-beam nights that bring outsiders together to dance or knit. I’d be surprised if she worked in fashion. Or the financial sector.
Her clothes are interesting. People who wear marijuana leaves on their tops are usually making a point, but she isn’t a hemp-cat type. Aoife’s leaves say: ‘Life is better without restrictions,” rather than: “Shall we close the curtains and listen to Pink Floyd again?” The Chinese coat could have been bought on her travels, or found in a charity shop, or, indeed, been given to her. She wouldn’t have paid a lot for it, anyway. Not her style.
As she gets older, I think Aoife will discard the madder extremes of her outfits. As someone who dressed like Andy Warhol-meets-Andy Pandy in my younger years, I know that bright colours, strong hair and this-is-my-opinion clothes are a distraction. They’re talking points that ensure you get attention, but not for how you score on a conventional prettiness scale. When Aoife really believes in herself, she won’t need to hide her true light behind an outer wackiness. Her beautiful, luminous, smiling face tells us everything we need to know.
There are three parts to your question, Marcus, and I’ll try to answer them each fairly, politely and without punching myself in the face. So, what’s “the point” of fashion week? Well, the point is that it allows designers to show their clothes to stores that decide whether or not to buy them. This is what’s called “running a business”. It is also so designers can show their collections to journalists who then write about them for people who are interested. From your tone, I gather you are not interested, Marcus, but one of the many strange things about life is that not everyone is interested in the same things. I, for example, could not give a single fig about sport, and yet I do not spend my time leaving comments beneath articles about the European Championships such as: “What is the point of this????? Boring!!!!! Look at all these overpaid idiots!!!!” as some folk are wont to do beneath articles about fashion. When I hear people talk about how excited they are about, I don’t know, Arsenal, I don’t run up to them bellowing: “But why?! None of us will ever be able to play like that so why is anyone wasting their time watching this rubbish?” I accept that some people like to watch a bunch of men kick a ball around a field on a rainy day, and I get on with the far more important activities in my life, such as styling my dog’s hair so that he resembles Andrew Ridgeley, or deciding who I fancy more, 1986 James Spader in Pretty in Pink or 1990 James Spader in White Palace (impossible decision, but one I plan to ponder for the rest of my life).
The reason people feel free to dismiss fashion with a “what’s the point” in a way that no one ever would about sport, or theatre, or film, or Apple product launches, is because fashion is aimed at women. Thus, it is, apparently, totally legitimate to dismiss it as frivolous. Silly little ladies and their lady things! Not important like kicking a ball, you see.
Your next point is slightly separate, although it is often used by fashion sceptics as an excuse for their loudly voiced dislike of the industry. Yes, the clothes are expensive and made for a minority. You could say the same of, say, theatre tickets, to say nothing of Apple products with their inbuilt obsolescence. Regarding the size issue, there is no question that the clothes are shown on indefensibly thin models. But to say that fashion is therefore irrelevant to bigger women, or even most women, is to let the idiotically sizeist designers win. Fashion is for everyone, and just because some ridiculous stylist who has destroyed their brain cells by reading only Vogue for 15 years thinks clothes “hang better” on an underweight eastern European teenager doesn’t mean that’s true. Any woman can look at the runways and get inspiration, such as how good your striped jumper would look with your metallic long skirt from Zara (thanks, Gucci, for that one) or how flat boots would look amazing with a floaty dress (ta, Victoria Beckham). Fashion shows aren’t just telling women to buy specific clothes – they show women how to wear clothes in more modern, often fun, ways. To say that fashion week is irrelevant to most women is to be on the same side as the idiot designers and stylists who think anyone over a size 10 should be happy wearing a burlap sack.