What did fashion teach me - Part 1


I have been trying to make sense of this experience for a long time but things don't make sense all the time and surely they don't do that when the happening is happening.


Now that I got myself out of it, I can look back and say : Hey, what the hell was that?! Really? People do that? I was there too?


Questions which cross my mind a lot, all the time. As if I am not 100% sure of the validity or reality of anything.


The ongoing debates we are surrounded by are not going to stop anytime soon. No matter what religious sects, extremist groups and different thought currents tell you, there will not be a moment when everyone agrees with everyone and we all hug each other and caress each other lovingly talking about what's for lunch. That's pretty weird and theatrical I would say. We can all learn to treat each other respectfully, lovingly, having meaningful conversations leading to a better understanding- that for sure- but we can not expect for the struggle of understanding to disappear.


There will always be controversy around subjects like: good vs. bad; contraception vs. moral/religious constrains; men power vs. women power; love vs. hate; work savvy vs. work addiction; women are sluts vs. women are mother nature incarnated; men are providers/warriors/defenders vs. men should sleep too; one apple a day is enough vs. more apples a day (I agree! :); being merry going is good vs. being merry going makes you a looser; parents are saints to be worshiped vs. parents have no clue and screw children's lives; love is for fools vs. love is going to save us; gluten vs. gluten free and the list goes on an on, an on- the point being : fashion is neither good nor bad. I was affected while in there, for particular reasons I am going to address in second part of this article, but I also learned and had the chance to walk around places like : Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chenzhou, Chongqing, Xiamen, Changsha, Beijing, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul.


So you understand now that this is not a manifesto against the industry. It is a sincere and objective attempt of mine to answer the question : What the hell was that?

I did not raise out of Moldovan ashes to jump on the catwalk gloriously. I did not become a supermodel, even if I met some of them. I did not become rich, on the contrary. I did not meet the prince on the white horse (wind blowing, hair all over, dramatic music in the background) using the charms of the job, on the contrary. I was not treated like a queen, on the contrary.



What is fashion?


I will start here so we all look in the same direction (definition of love, isn't it?). So, Victory please tell us, what is fashion?

Fashion is a business. The business of ideas translated into material things, into clothes. The business of transformation, of identity searching, of never finding it. Fashion is culture, it is the external manifestation of emotions, mind sets, group identity, society, state of mind. When allowed, fashion is freedom of thought, of the body, of life. Fashion is aesthetics which goes hand in hand with morality stepping into the marvelous land of philosophy, which is marking the border of human understanding of this mess we call life. So, while being living and thinking creatures, who assign meanings to things, we are dressing ourselves and bring into play those thoughts, those states, those conditions of life. How we do it is what fashion is.

Fashion is a pretty nice thing, isn't is?

Until we bump into the business part. Profit is the bottom line, it is the reason, it is the sine qua non of fashion, it is the soul of fashion. There would be no fashion industry otherwise. Fashion caters for all kinds of desires, body types, addictions, wickedness, basic needs.


What are models?


Really, what are they? What are they for? Why take human beings out of the "normal" stream, ask them to dress themselves differently each 5 minutes and show things around, smiling( or not), looking quite pleased( or not ) while doing that? Why do that?


Well, because models are human instruments. They are used to represent those creative, transformative and universal ideas for other humans, so that they buy them.

An instrument has to have certain qualities ( as in properties), form, willingness to be engaged for the job, life style (no life, I would say but that's me!) in order to be considered and used for that particular reason.

Here comes the saddening, the maddening, the incredible but true part : human instruments are being used on the fashion market for the ultimate purpose of profit acquisition. Profit for whom? We know the 20/80 rule, the Pareto principle which applies in this matter as well. Only a few get to enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Another maddening factor: these instruments are young girls and boys (mainly), who didn't finish school yet, who don't know how to be basically, but wanting to be seen, heard, understood, appreciated. Upon becoming instruments of the fashion industry they are being imposed certain requirements, that keep the industry going, but lead to deep emotional and psychological damage on the instruments' side. Remember, they are indeed alive.


Kuala Lumpur. After this I got lost, took the bus, took the train, walked for miles until I got home. I was alone in the middle of nowhere. If I would have disappeared on that day, nobody would have known and cared. That is how fashion feels - up close, skin level. I mean, the image is nice but...is it worth it? Where and how was the photo used I don't know.

I was 19 when I started. I was old inside the industry, life saving out of it. I did not look for this to happen, it just appeared in my way and I went thought it. But... I'll tell you this story next time.