Friday, 4 December 2009

Fashion is a bitch

I like fashion; I really do. I’m obliged to make this clear before I plunge into this rant and seem to completely contradict myself. But is it just me or do all clothes look the same these days?! I left the country for a year and have come back only to find millions of people looking like Adam Ant doused in glitter and spandex. All the high street shops seem to have turned into elitist havens designed for small-chested, small-hipped clones.

Take Topshop, with Ms Kate “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” Moss as their patron. Whenever I walk into the shop I almost feel as though sirens will go off and fashionable trilby-wearing daleks will come out, arms a-flailing, screaming: “OVER A SIZE 12! OVER A SIZE 12! DIRECT TO MATERNITY WEAR OR EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!” I mean, just look at the front window on Oxford Street. It’s actually ridiculous! Is the average Topshop buyer an extra member of The Darkness or are you really suggesting that I should wear a sequinned mini anorak to Tesco’s?

“It’s come to the point where we are being told exactly how to customise ... so now we’re all changing and ‘individualising’
our clothes in the same way. Marvellous.”

Now, before you start imagining me sitting here in a shapeless Bon Marché fleece and slacks, let me say again I do quite like fashion but all I am asking for is a bit of diversity. Just because the fashion elite, drunk on high quality champagne and (fat-free) caviar, click their fingers and say we should be following 80s trends, doesn’t mean we should all end up looking like Chaka Khan. I simply don’t want to be spoonfed clothes that make me look like a drunken 80s rock star.

We have all become one massive wishy-washy brand and, in this age where everyone supposedly strives for independent buying and individuality, we’ve never looked more similar. It’s come to the point where we are being told exactly how to customise ... so now we are all changing and ‘individualising’ our clothes in the same way. Marvellous.

I blame, in part, shows of the 10 years Younger/Extreme Makeover variety that chastise women who’ve dared to devote themselves to something other than the rise and fall of the shoulder pad. After these poor women have gone through the initial soul-destroying humiliation – something like standing naked in front of a magnifying mirror and counting their pores, etc etc – these ‘fashion rejects’, regardless of size, shape and personality, are then scraped, peeled, sucked and shoved into a pair of skinny jeans and the obligatory belt around the waist, and then somehow deemed ‘whole and acceptable’.

All these women want to hear is that they are enough the way they are. So, to see these fashion fiends standing on their Gucci soapboxes, pushing women down the fashionable factory line and prescribing Botox as the cure is incredibly irritating. And of course the average woman that goes on these shows presumably cannot afford to maintain the rat-poison-in-forehead and chemical peel lifestyle, so it’s only a matter of time before the shine begins to fade. Where will all the fashion gurus of the world be then? Already moved on to another victim with low esteem and shouting at her for using the wrong kind of conditioner, no doubt.

That’s why I do kind of (note my reluctance) like How to Look Good Naked, because at least Gok recognises that everyone should look the best they can but within their own means. And, although interspersed with outlandish bra fondling, the most important aspect of the whole thing is to show that we need to change our self-perception more than anything else.

Wow. I think I just praised Gok Wan. Does this officially make me a Gokette?! Disturbingly enough, I am not totally against this – minus the prancing down catwalks in underwear part. You do, however, have full permission to slap me if I start saying “You go girlfriend” without any irony. Read more by Selina.