A confession – it's been stalking me for years now, this crawling disdain for fashion; the certainty that it is not an ally but an enemy. The older I am, the more disenchanted I am with what is meant to make us beautiful. Now, at 36, I believe it is one of the ultimate evils in the universe, along with yoghurt. It should have its own Death Star.
Put simply, I hate fashion. I scowl at Harper's. I snarl at W. I spit at Vogue. Sometimes, I tear them up, these glossy pages full of anorexic children – part human, part makeup, part computer program – just because I'm worth it. Then I put a colander on my head.
You may say that I am bitter. How is my sex life, you ask? Do men flee my fashion-free person? What is my weight? What has happened to make me reject the things we women are supposed to hug – wedges, fringes, shifts, tassels, linings, bows? And don't forget shoes! Surely I love shoes, the icons that Carrie Bradshaw worshipped instead of a god? No? I must be ill. Weep for me in my giant knickers. I am outcast.
Not at all. I am a reasonable example of a normal woman. I like food and men and comfort. It is just that at some point, the unceasing prattle of fashion has become a scream in my head. I cannot ignore its idiocies any more. I walk past a shop that sells 6in heels and I am angry. Banana Republic? Angry again. Selfridges and its loathsome "I shop therefore I am" adverts, a manifesto for morons? Don't even go there. I have had it with this tyrant-fool throwing darts from every billboard and magazine and TV screen. I want to hurl a spear back at it.
I decided to write this piece late last year, when I read that a 16-year-old girl wearing high-heeled shoes had fallen between the carriages of a train in West Sussex. She died, of course. It was snowing that night, but still this young woman, with a lifetime of fashion choices before her, ran along that platform and is now dead. And I couldn't help suspecting that had she been wearing a shoe designed for movement, rather than to push her breasts out and her pelvis forward, she would be alive.
This was different from the usual Fashion Death, where a model has a heart attack on the catwalk, because she lives on grapes. This was an ordinary girl – a bystander. And why was she wearing high-heeled shoes on an icy night? Because fashion, the whispering monster, told her to.
I thought about that young woman for days; I couldn't forget her. Why? Because I realised that although I did not fall under a train, like Anna Karenina with a shoe instead of Vronsky, fashion has bullied me for ever. It has followed me around like an eternal schoolyard taunt, throwing self-doubt and rubbish into my path. If you are a young woman, it is the ordinary soundtrack to your life. It is never enough to wear a clean dress and comfortable shoes and be done – fashion is a Jewish mother on crack. This will make you beautiful! This will make men want you! Wear this! Wear that!
Can't you ignore it, you may ask? Can't you squeeze yourself into a library and have an inner life instead? Ha! Anyone who thinks that has never been a young woman staring into the window of Topshop. Sophisticated weapons are employed to make us need the rubbish. And so we do.
I discovered fashion when I was 13. Before that I dressed as Andy Pandy and was very happy. No one sticks Andy Pandy in 6in heels to emphasise the sexual organs he doesn't have. I remember those Saturday morning shopping trips very well. I can't remember exactly how I knew what I was supposed to be wearing. You breathe it in, like air.
And so I dressed, like all schoolgirls in 1987, in approximate homage to the cast of Neighbours. How wonderful I looked, I imagined – jeans, black polo neck, boots and a pair of red Noddy braces that I wore inside my breasts. (No one is infallible.) How I enchanted. How I belonged. I thought I looked just like the effortlessly beautiful girls at school. Except I didn't. And, very soon, I realised that I didn't. All that weekend job money and childish angst and still I looked like me. That was the first seduction – and the first betrayal.
I didn't give in. Who does? So I spent years buying junk – what else was money for? To make me secure? No. How much more feminine to be insecure. Run towards the ever-receding sense of self-acceptance and the promise of love; perhaps this collection will fix you! Or this one! And if it doesn't, there will be two more next year, like a bad clock. And always, because designers produce just one tiny dress for all the advertising campaigns and magazine editorials, because improbable slimness is a mirage most women can only weep (and shop) for, came the continual, wicked message – too fat.
But the seduction continued. I worked for a tabloid newspaper for a few years and I earned a lot of money. I used to wander around Harvey Nichols, particularly on weekdays when I was at a loss for anything to do – up and down, up and down, an insect with broken antennae. The first thing I noticed was how miserable all the shoppers looked, pale and shrivelled, as if they had been unplugged from something and were desperately trying to plug themselves back in – to a shoe perhaps, or a strange piece of jewellery. I don't think I ever saw anyone laugh in Harvey Nichols. White and windowless, it smelled only of anxiety.
I also noticed how easy it was to buy a dress, and a bag and then perhaps some stupid, unnatural shoes and feel a kind of brief, bright burst of self-acceptance, which always evaporated as soon as I was home. It withered like a smouldering feather in an ashtray. The goods lay unwrapped on my ordinary bed. They looked odd there. They didn't fit. The marketing doesn't follow you home. When the stiff bag with the ribbon is thrown away, you are left with just an ugly piece of leather – and yourself.
Fashion can't, I now know, make even itself happy. I met a 16-year-old model once, in the offices of her agency. I was supposed to interview her, but my newspaper thought her comments were too depressing, so didn't publish them. The dream didn't fit her either. The doll was broken.
She was a sweet, utterly ordinary girl with an astonishing face. She exuded gloom. She showed me a photograph of herself. It had appeared on the cover of Vogue. "I don't think it looks like me at all," she said. She was right. It didn't. It was a non-existent woman.
She described how they had attached long strands of hair to her eyelashes for the photograph. "It was really painful," she said. "They said 'Don't blink'. But I need to blink." In another photograph, she had to wear a sort of white harness on her head. "I couldn't hear," she said. Because her minder had disappeared, I asked her – do you like any of these pictures? "No," she said. Do you think you are beautiful? (Just a hunch.) Again – "no". And then I knew – it is worse for them than it is for us. I only have to compare myself with the nearest angry writer. Models compete with Aphrodite.
The oddest thing rescued me from fashion. It was that I got fat. Never mind why; that is a story for another page. But I got so fat that even fashion wouldn't pretend it could fix me. You can get so fat they don't actually want you in their clothes. It is bad marketing; if very fat people wear their clothes, thinner people won't buy them. There was no point rattling through the rails any more, seeking a satin redemption – nothing would fit my unfashionable bulk. I was consigned to M&S smock-land, across the River Styx. And it is lovely here; no heels, no stupid dresses-of-the-moment, certainly no thongs. Fashion has died for me, with an angry little hiss. Ah, peace.
I can look at the clothes on the catwalk now and laugh at their imbecility. They are not for me. I still think about that young woman on the train tracks, though. What did she pay for her shoes?
THIS ARTICLE WAS WROTE BY TANYA GOLD IN THE GUARDIAN.
It is a very interesting article which highlights the effects on teenagers. First do not wear heels when you go by train or when you go with your mother in the market. My opinion is that you should not get these things to generalized fashion, much less throwing stones at those who work like us. Increasingly more people are attracted to this beautiful world. But each individual has his own principles that are guiding.
I can 't say I 'm a person who lives for fashion, but if fashion had not existed, We would be Naked.
what role fashion plays in your life???
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