The ugly, true, awkward before-story
This is a personal essay (read:rant) I wrote for my english class. It is mostly about my relationship with fashion, and my blog. I even mention you guys! Unfortunately, because of a deadline issue, I didn't write nearly as much about blogging as I wanted to, but, alas. Anyways, here it is:
I have been obsessed with fashion, in some sense, since the day I was born. As a kid, I loved playing dress-up with my friends and making up a wide variety of stories to go with our eclectic attire. One of my favorite things to do was pretend I was from a random time in history, and dress the part, naturally. My friend from elementary school will never let me live down the time that I (in maybe 1st grade) invited her over to play, and then forced her to spend the entire duration of our play date scrubbing the floors with kitchen sponges, pretending we were maids in some mansion from long ago, me wearing my favorite costume, a dress and corset-ish belt thing, picked up from the renaissance festival. Something about the combination of the sartorial and the imagined coming together was very appealing to me. That fascination with the combination of clothing and storytelling led me to many of my interests, such as gymnastics and theatre, along with a brief and rather unsuccessful stint as a ballerina. Nowadays, however, I am more interested in the tangible than the conceptual. I find that combination of clothing and storytelling in fashion editorials, images that, for the most part, are purely for that purpose; to tell a story, and to feature clothing, winding the two concepts (the clothing and the story) around each other until they are one. It is surprising however, how much of an impact these seemingly frivolous photographs can have on society. Fashion editorials, when done well, are truly a snapshot of the times. Take this photograph from an editorial done by Camilla Nickerson in 1995:
Lots of new features were added to surveillance cameras in the 1990s, and, because of that, surveillance cameras were popping up everywhere. That was also around the time of the first attack on the World Trade Center, which also resulted in more surveillance, and really brought an awareness to the need for surveillance and higher security. Regardless of reasons, everyone was being watched, all the time. Creepy. So, Vogue, and more specifically, the fabulous Camilla Nickerson, had the inspiration to do a shoot based around the idea of being watched, of surveillance cameras. These images commented on the feeling at that time, on what was going on, and, on where things were headed. Looking at this picture, and knowing the background information, it is very easy to see that. At the same time, this picture of a beautiful girl (Kate Moss) wearing a beautiful dress is a cool picture even if you have no idea what’s going on in it. That is, in essence, a fashion editorial. Aesthetically beautiful, but, after some analysis and some context, very thought provoking.
Fashion images are also incredibly inspiring. For this reason, beyond all the internet sites that essentially are for the same purpose (pinterest, tumblr, etc.), I keep a good old-fashioned inspiration board hanging in my room. Seeing the collage of images, hanging straight and orderly (in very un-collage-like fashion), influences what I wear, what I do, what I talk about, and how I see the world, in it’s own way. Here are some examples of things currently hanging on my inspiration board (which is in desperate need of an update):
- Jane Birkin barefoot in New York City in the sixties
- Cartoon images of sunglasses and bags based on Prada’s spring 2012 ready to wear collection
- A movie still from Benjamin Button
- Inspirational quotes :
- Be bold or italic. Never regular.
- You are a perishable item. Live accordingly.
- “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anais Nin
- A cartoon image of a Leica M8 camera
- A watercolor of a tiger
- A vintage-looking floral print with some quasi-neon colors I loved
- A girl with lolita-esque heart shaped sunglasses
- An artsy photo of the eiffel tower lit up at night
Making, organizing, and editing my inspiration board is something I love and hate to do (see also: running, writing, eating food). I find a lot of the images I use on my board on the internet, more specifically on tumblr and pinterest. I am legitimately addicted to tumblr, and its a genuine problem. Tumblr is a sort of make-your-own-blog site that’s fairly popular with people my age, mainly girls. I basically think of it as blogging for dummies, or, to their faces, “beginners”, because 99% of tumblr blogs are pretty much exclusively photo blogs. All you have to do to make your blog, and subsequently TO blog, is click a few buttons. Although that’s all good and well, and very fun, it’s not something I could really call a blog, in the same way I couldn’t call a stick figure a portrait. To me, a blog has to have meta tags. It has to have a banner, and a name that isn’t stupid. It has to have words, and a topic. It has to have a design that is original, original to the point that someone would have to have some basic (read: VERY basic) knowledge of web design to create it. Basically, unless you put some thought and some work into it, I just don’t think of your creation as a blog. A lot of this disdain for many “bloggers” today comes from me myself being a blogger, and having a very bad, very boring, very embarrassing, but very REAL blog.
Over the summer, I decided to start a fashion blog. Why in the world I would embark on such an idiotic goal, I have no idea. I had tried to start one many times before, I had blogged about various family trips several times, but, I had never successfully maintained a blog. I wanted something long-term, a goal. So, I began to brainstorm. My problem was not with the content, I have plenty to say about pretty much, well, everything, but the many, many, many tiny details that go into making a blog. I needed a name, and more specifically, an original name. A name with a url that had not already been purchased. Essentially, I needed to create a name, no phrase or word in existence was available. I nearly pulled my hair out looking. Suddenly, one day, it came to me. Wallpaper Pants. Things went on smoothly from there. I set up my website through blogger, picking a simple theme and editing tiny details, like width, colors, location of the various widgets, etc. Next came hours of teaching myself things like meta tags, html code, and a million other web design components that I, after hours of researching, immediately forgot. Eventually, after all my work, it was time to blog. I blogged, and blogged, and blogged. Nothing happened. I connected my blog to my tumblr and pinterest pages, making it Wallpaper Pants; the brand. Still, nothing. And then, slowly, little by little, Readers started coming. Readers started reading. Eventually, readers started commenting, and emailing me, and then, suddenly, quietly, horrifyingly, school started. A full course-load, cross country, and a musical brought a near-end to blogging. I was blogging once a month at most. Readers still read, but numbers were down. Fall ended and winter began, and now here I am, in January. My new year’s resolution is to blog more, a goal I can (hopefully) fulfill. Blogging has been, for a person who literally can not finish a project, transformative for me, and entirely fun. It has taught me about fashion and about myself, and allowed me to work on my quirky-funny blog writing style. Basically, its been great, and its only getting better. It’s strange to think this all started with a little girl, scrubbing floors with a sponge.