ITS BARN WEEK AKA MBFWA
The local and global fashion scene huddled together and communed for our Sydney fashion convention, or what my sister and I affectionately named Barn Week, with Carriageworks setting a very industrial/rustic/barn yard chic aesthetic that perfectly juxtaposed the $5k+ bags that graced the sinewy shoulders of Australia’s fashion elite.
I allowed my self to ponder fashion and what that truly meant to me this week, after all, it was Mercedes Benz Fashion Week here in Sydney.
I’m the first to say I have my foot in multiple camps. This may be the spiritual and esoteric realm, fashion land, feminism, environmentalism and my other passion of high vibe food and herbalism. I’m just so passionate about -isms.
Some may say (and it has been said, I assure you) that it’s impossible to juggle all of these loves. Perhaps its paradoxical that one industry places so much emphasis on consumerism, causing large scale environmental damage, whilst I finger through the pages of Ramana Maharishi’s teachings on Non-Duality in my Uber between shows. It may be incongruous, yeah. However, this week allowed me to contemplate a completely different perspective.
Frequently, I find myself conflicted in whether or not they all go hand in hand; fashion is inherently superficial and I say that in the most literal sense of the word. Its an external layer, that we all participate in. We know the fashion industry to be innovative and drenched in art, but we also see fast fashion as a large scale environmental and ethical travesty. So where do I fit in to all this? Fashion may only skim the surface, however style and acknowledging it as a unique art form drives the concept much deeper. As Andy Warhol once said “I am deeply superficial”.
So where am I going with this? How is it that the complex 21st century woman can have her finger in every single pie? We live in a time of boundless information, so to assume that its impossible to have brains and passions that span the length of the world is simplistic, and I refuse to be put in that box. Plain and simple.
In fact, when I first started The Alchemists this dichotomy was one of my biggest struggles; was it inauthentic to see a Shrimps coat and pine for it or fall in love with a Stella McCartney embroidered bag. Was that me just loving and appreciating beauty and innovation? It think its the latter. I choose to see beauty wherever I step. I am passionate about the beauty of fashion, I am enamoured at the experience of using my body as a canvas and I love the process of getting dressed in the morning.
So how do we stand in the expression of our true nature?
I feel as though, when we make the personal shift from “fashion” to the spectrum of “style" and "self-expression" we are able to discern what it is we truly like, rather than formulating outfits based on what we're told will offer us acceptance. Also, in that frame, there is no snigger, side-eye or undermining comment that can be made that will have a direct effect on us or our sense of security. It may be easier said than done.
The main problem here is that many people in this over-saturated world don’t know what it is that they truly like.
What if we placed more importance on consciousness in the realm of clothing and fashion? Both literally and figuratively. If we saw every tee shirt, scarf, jacket et al as a physical extension and depiction of our own uniqueness and authenticity, fear falls away.
Similarly, if we moved away from purchasing things based on trends, but rather because we truly love it, we have the potential to truly grasp who we are as humans. No longer do we fall victim to an "it-bag" (maybe we truly love said bag, there's no harm in that) because it's when we purchase something because we're told we'll be favourably embraced, or that we'll perfectly fit in, when we lose the ability to differentiate who we are. When we dress, we can be truly in ourselves. That is the coolest thing you can wear - being totally comfortable in your own skin!
That jacket you spent hours deliberating over, there can be value in that time, consciousness in the effort of the selection. We can choose it to accentuate our own unique beauty, or own passions. We are able to tell a story, an emotion, a mood, just in the superficial selection of clothes. A painting is merely a superficial layer of paint, coming together into form, into poetry, into conversation. Clothing and style can be your medium too.
If we spend all of our time feeling guilty, or guilting others it won’t matter how much yoga we do, mindfulness we practice, breath work or green juice we drink because we’ll be self-flagellating. We can't chastise a community of people (or ourselves for that matter), full of creatives because of their intrinsic connection to the external, what damage is that doing to ourselves? I may love a Woodstock ’69 photo as much as the next girl, but does it make me any less awake or less authentic because I don’t wear crochet tops (unless its a la Birkin), barefeet and printed maxi skirts?
We live in a world of boundless information, niches, creatives and artists, we can have the opportunity to be an artist in our own right every single day, just by throwing on an outfit and feeling what it likes to be in our own uniqueness and embracing that aspect of our authenticity. If that means wearing a piece of fabric, a brooch and a turban to a party like my artist grandmother in the 1940's in New York did, then do it, its your expression and you're a complicated, wondrous lady, who dictates your own world and what goes down, how its gonna play out.