Fashion isn't that shallow, though.
Some people think that fashion is this shallow, seedy, anorexic & cut throat arena of pretty gay people and coke nosed snobs. It's not actually that extreme, but there's a certain stigma about people who are into the fashion industry. Especially while the world is all haywire, while people are starving, killing each other, hate crimin' and while things are just kind of spiraling out of control... the fashion industry just seems kind of trivial when you think of what's going on around us. Not just that, but wasteful and condescending. Elitist and narcissistic. The list could go on, if you wanted it to.
I felt that way about my work, what I do... for a little while there. I was feeling awful, like, why don't I do something more meaningful with my life? What am I doing to better the world and the people around me? Why do I get such a kick out of this while there are more important things to think about? I really dug deep, after seeing some talk on the interwebs about fashion being one of the awful things about humanity.
Anti fashion is a popular viewpoint amongst even some of my favorite networks. I see naysay all the time, and I don't think that those who openly talk smack on fashion lump me into the egocentric idea that they have of the industry, but that's only because I haven't stricken oil yet.
I had to sit and think on this.
I don't want to feel ashamed for the work that I do.
I think big, I know what's going on around me. I'm not over seas peace making, I'm not saving whales. I live in Michigan and Flint still doesn't have clean water. I'm not discovering some great new way to save the planet. I don't have a stake in any visual earth enhancing plans... and sometimes that gets me down. It gets me cause I realize the potential of any given individual, and I know that if we all got together and did one little thing we could make big huge waves. Where are we sending our waves? Are you making waves?
So, why do I choose to make my waves over here in this industry? You know, while there's so much more to do around here on planet E.
I can't speak for every designer, or creator, or shaker & producer when I say that I believe that anybody who sets themselves out on some mission for their creative outpour is probably doing it from or for some type of peace. Whether it's peace of their own mind, or something more benevolent. Expressing creative energy generally lands you in some place of rest in mind and body, and when shared, helps others express themselves as well.
I know that the image of fashion is hard to swallow when you see those who aren't exactly righteous in their choices. All that fur, man. The underage models. The unfed. Unfortunately inappropriate or elitist material it is the majority of what you see in the mainstream right now, but, you have to consider the mind of a person who chose the path of their own brainstorm rather than a cut out and clean adaptation of free will. I respect the industry because it is downright ballsy to say "Hey, I'm going to just fuck off over here and give you something you won't believe I could create." AND "I'm going to do it over and over again because I'd rather do this than melt into complacency." Even more admirable is a person who does this with the benefit of humanity on the mind. Those who engage in philanthropy, for example.
Fashion is a constantly moving and ever growing faceted industry of creation that results in an outlet for voicing your opinion. It can be used for saying something unique to the people in a way that they can understand it.
Yeah, you can say something meaningful through fashion. You can set a tone, create a vibe, let them know what you're feeling through the look and sound and feel of your curated experience. You make statements through the materials you use, the models you choose, the songs that play, and the company you invite. You can literally tell a crowd of people to be mindful and consider the world around them by setting that example on stage. Themes, baby. I put a merkin show together and empowered a boat load of women to love their bodies because it was something that I wanted people to walk away from feeling bigger than they did when they came. That was my way of spreading the goodness at the time.
Fashion designers are not shallow. (Not all of them, anyway) They're poetic mathematicians with grace and style. Not only that, but forward thinking & more often than not free spirited individuals who have a knack for carving their own paths in life. I think it's a wonderful formula that could be applied to any endeavor if you really think about it.
We build teams and work together. We make shit happen and I think it's about time we stop considering those who build such great communities and experiences as unnecessary players in the "making the world better" game. Cause, if you're askin' me... who doesn't love a well curated community of hard working individuals who admire art, beauty, and flow?
It takes all kinds. Even my kind. & I think the world could benefit from some playful yet serious functions like this. I'd like to see more if it, that's for sure.
Stein Van Bael