fashion statement

i have always loved this turn of phrase and its conjugated usage: make a fashion statement, as if to emphasize that this is an active choice, a decision we make every morning to don ourselves in cloth - not clothes, not shirts, skirts or pants, but cloth - objectively all clothes are merely draped, tailored pieces of cloth used to cover our parts; parts that we feel are private, or that sometimes we are ashamed of, or that we feel are not permissible to expose in a given situation or context. the cloth can be cheap or expensive (mind you, it can be cheap in quality and still expensive in cost,) red or blue, short or long, functional or fashionable, but everyday we all get our of beds in the morning and throw something on - now the thought and purpose that goes into this action is debatable but i think that we all say something in performing that action, that we are all consciously or sub-consciously telling the world, "hello, my name is _____ and this is how i want you to see me (because/and) this is how i feel; this is my fashion statement today."

i love it when people take this idea and run with it; i mean dudes in skirts, "loaded" clothing (think keffiyah scarf or icons on t-shirts, like lord ganesha or a swastika or something with "shock value"), or really-ripped jeans. i love these type of items because they say, 'hey, i'm not supposed to wears this but it still works,' or 'hey, i believe in something,' or 'hey, i don't believe in "new"ness. '

i hate it when people use their precious time and money to reproduce unoriginal trends and end up happily wearing whatever everyone else is wearing (vancouver fashion - beige/black/white/grey gap/jacob variations, gortex anything and lululemon everything with a vuitton purse or man bag.)

but with times a changin so fast the way they do these days, there's a fluidity between clothes that mean something and nothing at all - note that i have recently swapped my keffiyah for a sanskrit print scarf cause people be in the streets rockin keffiyahs to death - and i literally mean death because they no longer mean anything at all, unless you're preparing for a sandstorm or something.

recently i've realized a few things about myself (among others, but i'm percolating on a synergy here) -

i can write.
i can dress.
i can express.

not necessarily in that order and not as a coherent one unit but i've been told that all three qualities are engaging - how to combine the three in something i contribute to my surroundings? i'm currently giving this some serious thought.

i mean, i feel strongly about clothes. this manifest as styling a shoot here, working with an artist there and general conversation matter mostly. and i dress with purpose. my mother says she likes to see me leave the house in the morning because it's always some different, dazzling (yes, truly, dazzling) ensemble, accented with accessories, punctuated by color, never quite the same combination of bottom, top and footwear. a second hand store addiction (i experience a high upon entering, intuitively i know there is something in the smelly store that is calling me, "Jamilah, i'm so glad you're here! i've been waiting for you" - what a rush to finally stumble upon the vintage earrings or scuffed leather boots whispering my name!!) combined with odd tastes means i have set aside a part of my closet for outfits exclusively suitable for Jamilah "on a boat" as in "ooooooooooh, that buttercup culotte jumper with a knit top is sooooooo me on a boat!!!"

monday to friday i tone it down for "the office" but they always exclaim cause i manage to cut corners here and there to drop something new or unusual on them every once in a while.

now, on weekends, that is when i go all out - it's exciting for me to put on the brightest, most eye catching piece of cloth, add an unusual touch and match it with the appropriate (or inappropriate) accessories including but not limited to earrings, shoes, scarves, sunglasses, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings and of course subtle touches like eyeshadows in purples, greens, golds, blues and firey red lipstick...

i'd like to argue that an unhealthy obsession with fashion is in no way dissonant to being conscious, political and bright albeit fashion is still consumption at best and is often a superficial luxury BUT I know that one of the ways I express my artistic and creative self is by my dress; I know that it sets me apart; I know that it identifies me saying,

"hello, my name is jamilah and today I want you to see me as professional, capable and bright because it's Monday and I feel blah and not quite ready for the week, so let's keep it clean-cut and simple; this is my fashion statement today."

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