Born this way

Lynn Harding

 

It is half past three on a Monday morning. My hair is frizzy, my hands are cold and I’m wearing the only pair of pants I own – and when Lynn is wearing jeans, she means business. Incidentally, when she talks in the third person, she’s generally either stressed or inspired, and, as writing takes a pinch of both, this editorial looks promising.

This issue’s Fashion section is all about making statements. In the age of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Paloma Faith, this could be construed as ‘attention seeking’…mainly because, well, it so often is. Linked as they are, although not inextricably, expression and exhibitionism are the Atkins-permitted bread and butter of the style world. The fine line drawn in the sand between showing off and making a show of yourself can, however, be difficult not to cross.

The honest truth of it, as your Nana might say, is the fact that people in general like – and like for those around them – to fit in with the status quo. It doesn’t matter what that status quo is, as long as enough other people conform to it for it to be deemed socially acceptable on a large scale.

The irony of people like Lady Gaga lies, of course, in the fact that whatever individuality they may originally have expressed becomes so assimilated by the masses as to incite ever wilder and further-reaching attempts at uniqueness on the part of the ‘visionary’, ultimately ending in dresses made of meat – both metaphorically and literally. And so, the innovative becomes, ritually, the passé, and often the absurd.

Just as Nana suggests, the reality in the fashion world is that although people may want to be stand out, the vast majority also need their difference to be accepted – and the easiest way for this to happen is if their individuality becomes a trend.

Getting there first, putting your name to that conical bra or see-through rubber dress before anybody else, is the most important thing. Don’t get me wrong – I love creativity, design and style; but purporting to use somebody else’s ‘look’ as a means of expressing your own personality is a key flaw in today’s fashion world. Dressing like Alexa Chung doesn’t make you look like a brooding, hair- and leather-fringed indie waif – it makes you look like Alexa Chung.

I do hope that you can take from this issue the message of inspiration as opposed to imitation. From bow-ties to the more extreme sub-dermal piercings, stepping outside one’s comfort zone has different levels for everybody.

For me, this means jeans; hey, I never said I was Gaga.

 

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