Friday, June 11, 2010

On Shopping & Fashion

Above: Lizzie Fortunato for Madewell

Below: Liking the print/ textile design on these shorts, also by Madewell.

Detail of print, photo courtesy of Judah Ross

So, recently someone said to me "I was reading your blog, I like it, you are kind of a shopper, aren't you?"

Readers: please don't get me wrong! This comment was very sweet and very much appreciated. I'm always surprised & pleased to run into someone who reads my blog but this statement also left me feeling a bit embarrassed. It's true. I am a shopper. Blogging makes it really easy to find great items out there that you convince yourself you need to have (which you often don't). Being able to buy so many of these things online, makes it even easier to consume. Point. Click.You are done & your wallet/ debit account is suddenly lighter.

Due to the nature of my husband's job, I usually accompany him to several art openings/events a year, and I feel pressure to look good. Most of these events are social events; people are not just checking out the art. This is after all Los Angeles- La-la land. Land of all that is superficial and rife with conspicuous consumption. So yes, I shop. I enjoy dressing, and putting together an outfit.

But I don't want to be known as just a shopper, or my blog to be just about shopping.
I hope my blog does not come off that way. This blog is not entirely an art blog, design blog, or photography blog. It contains all of these elements. I do think I have a good eye- and I enjoy posting on various objects, art, and clothing design.

Essentially what it comes down to
is I don't want to be thought of as being superficial. A silly woman who spends an inordinate amount of time and money on clothing. Many of the posts I do on clothing...I don't actually end up purchasing the items. Sometimes I am dreaming & coveting, other times I'm inspired by the design (like the last image above - another great print by Oami Powers of Judah Ross) and I'm collecting visual information in one place.

When I do buy clothing-

#1. I am first and foremost an emotional shopper.
I usually end up falling in love with a particular print, fabric or design. I have tried to have a 'uniform', or purchase things based on the idea 'every woman should have a white button down shirt and black pants in her wardrobe kind of thing etc. etc.' I have tried this and it just doesn't work for me. If I don't feel it, I won't buy it.

#2. It has to fit and it has to be comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable, it will show and you won't look good. I firmly believe this.

#3. I try to buy from small designers, small shop-owners, and artisans. If I can't make it myself, or support an emerging designer or small boutique...I usually resort to J.Crew or Madewell. Clare Vivier- one of the independent designers whose work I love and love to support, recently wrote an interesting post about this subject.

Making clothing, trying to get into textile design, is an odd thing. I love fashion, but I hate it, too. I hate how quickly everything moves, how it's designed to increase consumerism. The false sense of perfection it compels people to impossibly try to attain. I hate seeing girls with severe eating disorders wearing garments most people never, ever will be able to afford. It's really kind of perverse. It can be an extremely superficial world.

However, along with food and shelter, clothing oneself is also a basic need.
Fashion, and what one chooses to buy to wear can be a potent tool for self and cultural expression, and can communicate to others so much about who we are or who we wish to be.

So how to slow things down? How to make clothing more like art pieces, but still make things that other people can relate to, will want to buy & find useful? Find beautiful? That are sustainable?

I'll let you know as I muddle along & try to figure it all out!


Jocy said...

Your blog isn't just a shopping blog, just like you aren't "just" a shopper. But even if it was, it is fine -- you've got enough substance in you that you can throw frivolity around as much as you can, on any topic you wish, with no apologies or explanations needed. I get mad at myself for caring too much sometimes about how people perceive me, but, in the end, no matter what I do, I will always love wearing beautiful clothing and looking for beautiful clothing. You're lucky because you can create it! Jealousy courses.

jeana sohn said...

i get that kind of comments often as well. i remember this comment. "you shouldn't eat out all the time like that!" i think i had a lot of lunch and dinner meetings with friends in that week and this person probably didn't know how much i love cooking.

we all shop and we like to see what other people buy. and i think it's awesome that you support small stores and designers.


oami said...

I couldn't agree with you more about emotional shopping. My favorite pieces are the ones I bought even though they weren't 'practical'. Thanks for the compliment on the print! I just finished a new one, waiting to get it back from the printer..

Janis said...

Humm...someone being judgy? Don't listen Jennifer - you have a wonderful blog and you don't need to explain it to anyone. Keep doing what makes you happy and what you feel passionate about :^)

Happy (hot) weekend!

Jennifer said...

I really don't think this person was being judgy...they seem to be a very sweet & thoughtful person. Their comment just triggered my insecurities. Got me thinking...not a bad thing.

Thanks for your sweet comments as always. I really hope once you get settled in your new place, we can meet in person this year.

Jennifer said...

Jocy, thanks...I'm envious of you-such a change you have made in your life, such bravery.I'd like to think that what you did inspired me a tiny bit to quit my job,and step into the in a way, you are responsible for my latest creations, too!

Jena, thanks...Yes! "We all shop and we all like to see what other people buy." So true...I do hesitate to post about what I end up buying on this blog not because I think people will think I have bad taste (I could give a rats ass about that)but because they will be judgmental about the $ I spent, especially in today's economy.

Oami,you are so welcome,and I hope to make a purchase from you in the near future...can't wait to see the new print and what you and Ursula are doing with Twenty Five.
Emotional shopping:
The most random pieces I buy are sometimes the ones I end up wearing to death!