On my seventh birthday, I remember receiving a gift from an aunt of mine; A two-piece set which consisted of a long sleeve, olive green blouse with a sewn on (faux) waistcoat finished with ivory side panels and gold rounded buttons running down both sides. This beauty of a garment was combined with some leggings in the same olive green tone. I had a house full of peers that had turned up to wish me a happy seventh and my main concern was to take my new ensemble up to my bedroom and find some matching shoes and accessories that would compliment my look. I strolled downstairs dressed and styled head to toe a-la moi…Now, I was ready for the party.
I have always
wanted needed full control of my appearance for as long as I can remember. It’s something which has always been paramount to me, not only as a professional but also as an individual. We must clear something up here though; This should not be confused with vanity. The ‘V’ word is often misused when it comes to someone caring about the way they choose to present themselves. You might be sitting there, reading this saying “here she goes again, ranting on about looks and clothes..how vain” when actually, you do it too. As long as you own at least one mirror, and look at your reflection at least once a day, you too care about the way you look.
Appearance to me though is not about beauty or vanity. Firstly, I’m a firm believer that there is beauty in even the most unlikely things. Beauty isn’t even always visual; There can be beauty in a conversation, poetry, a scent or someones touch. My need to have control of my appearance goes way beyond the way I look. For me, all of the elements that go into the way I present myself are purely a creative expression and an extension of myself. It is a fact that when you’re satisfied with the way you look, you feel good about yourself. Why do people wear suits in corporate positions? Why don’t they just turn up for board meetings in their sportswear? On the contrary, why don’t personal trainers turn up for training sessions in their pajamas? Clothing is the fuel that makes individuals perform the way they are expected to and ultimately succeed in whatever field they’re in.
As humans, we’re often quick to judge others based on stereotypes. For example, you see two different types of women walking down the street; The first is wearing a figure hugging dress, high heels and her hair and make up is flawless. The second female is dressed head to toe in black, patent combat boots, long black hair and heavy black eye liner. Both are walking with an undeniable confidence and are unphased by peoples stares. The chances are, the female wearing the figure hugging dressed will be branded as ‘vain’ various times throughout the day and the second female will be labeled a ‘goth’ or ‘punk’ just as many. The fact is, both women probably took the same amount of time to get ready even though they support to completely different looks. They both choose to wear and style themselves in a way that they feel is expressive to who they are as individuals.
Part of my labels’ philosophy is that clothing is a form of linguistics; it is a form of communication to others, without even having to open your mouth to utter a word. Having an identity is part of who you are as an individual. It is your uniform, your armor.
The seven year old wannabe stylist still exists intensely in me and everyday she creeps up and is the source behind everything I do related to fashion and styling. No one should be made to feel guilty about how they choose to visually represent themselves, because when it comes down to it that’s all it is, a visual representation of who we are.