Fashion is often characterised as a representation of society, its ‘most precise reflection.’ Yet, specular reflections are optical illusions based on light and its energy. Standing in front of a mirror, we see not only a virtual image, but also a fundamentally distorted one. Underlying this metaphor seem to be two prevalent perceptions of fashion: that fashion communicates accurately and that what we wear is indicative of who we are. This reading of fashion implies that if fashion were a mirror of society and its members, the mirror can be read.
To age in public for a woman is, despite all woke societal efforts to the contrary, still hell; to age in public as a star is worse. A roll-call of the sex symbols of my youth in the noughties – Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Christina Aguilera – is notable for the fact that many of them dared to suffer what the tabloids saw as lapses in their promised hotness: weight gain, insanity, shaved heads and bad haircuts, cheap fake tans, bad plastic surgery, each mark against them more or less a problem auto-generated by the fact of being female, famous, femme and fuckable during a wave of (dubious, commercial) feminism that mistook the marketing of slogan thongs for self-empowerment.
American Apparel and American Apparel advertisements, CSS, New Young Pony Club, Urban Outfitters, headbands worn across forehands, leggings, Steve Aoki, Alice Glass, The Klaxons, neon, Kate Moss at Glastonbury, early Hedi Slimane, the video for Fuck Forever by Babyshambles, complaining about people wearing band shirts when they don’t listen to the band, insincerity, The Teenagers’ Homecoming, ballet pumps, Cory Kennedy, Purple Magazine, bangs, The Strokes, Agyness Deyn, heroin, ecstasy, squatting, squat parties, looking like you live in a squat, lenseless glasses, plastic shuttered sunglasses, an absence of politics, deep V-necks, nostalgia, Topman militaria, high street romanticism, recession glamour, home counties Americana.
In the summer backyard, the child poses by a garden chair wearing a long red cotton yukata printed with tiny white fans. The gleaming metal of her hair, now tightly plaited and coiled, is as reflective of light as her mother’s is absorbing of it. One small hand flickers out from the cool sleeve like a fin; a small fish playing in the waves of Midwestern grass, an unconscious recollection of the gilded koi that swam in the Sapporo pond.
My investigation, my work, my trajectory speaks, I hope, to a generation of young black people who need to know that there’s an open space for them to occupy too. But it’s a work in progress. I’m an autodidact, an explorer, and often I’m an amateur too. My career in that sense is an investigative exploration. It’s about how to be a black thinker in white spaces; it’s about inserting the black canon in art history books. It’s about being a black voice that matters beyond the fringes. I want to be able to look back at my life and career and know that I left some inanimate objects behind, yes, but also a logic that changed the mainstream.
We generally have five appointments a day that happen every ninety minutes. Before each appointment we begin with a brief discussion with the bride: her style, her venue, number of guests at the wedding and her budget. We breeze through this in a few minutes because, most of the time, once the bride comes in everything turns upside down anyway.
The idea of time as a crumpled handkerchief offers a welcome alternative to the notion of time as a linear trajectory that is moving in the direction of progress and continuous betterment. Perception of time as linear is one of the legacies of the Enlightenment era which saw history as moving away from ancient barbaric, uncivilised and primitive times towards perfection based on rational thinking and efficiency. Time, according to the ideals of Enlightenment, is not just linear, but also competitive – whereas some are closer to the perceived ideals, others are believed to be losing out, those are the people steeped in timelessness, unaffected by change.