“Fashion is language. Some aren't that eloquent in self-expression, but everybody's using it, regardless of fluency. Some people express themselves beautifully through poetry, some in traditional prose, some in innovative slang. Punks use profanity for shock value, and some babies and straight men just go uh-huh yuh. In fashion, you're either an innovator, or a follower. People who say they don't care about fashion are still following fashion trends that have been set down by their parents or community, so STFU. Why are you wearing a shirt and tie to work if you don't care about fashion?”
-- Johannes Pong, Editor, HK MAGAZINE
“Fashion is about expressing who you are to the world and adding value to people’s lives. Fashion is being in love.”
-- Kanch Panjabi, Founder & Director, Kanchan Couture
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
-- Coco Chanel
What is Fashion? Fashion: A strong word with a fluid definition. For centuries women and men around the world have used clothes to express wealth, culture, tradition, gender, class, personality and style. People have expressed Fashion with accessories, hair, make up, piercings, shoes, handbags, jewellery. The Fashion Industry is constantly thriving on the sole need for people to express individuality, competition and belonging.
Individuals dress to differentiate themselves from everyone else. Some compete to have something that none of their friends have. Some people buy endorsed goods to feel a sense of belonging, because if you buy something that belongs to a trend – it gives you an unspoken membership into the ‘cool kids club’.
When I was a little enfant, Fashion was something that my mother chose for me. I don’t think I started dressing myself until I was 13! I spent most of the 80s in an awkward state of Fashion. At the age of 13, I was let loose to explore my Fashion style. This of course failed. I just wanted to fit in, so I wore what my friends wore. I figured they had broken the secret code to figuring out their wardrobe, on the qualification that they didn’t look like Punky Brewster at school.
More than a decade later, I face the unequivocal question, standing before my closet, which every warm blooded female faces first thing in the morning…What do I wear?
I have to admit, I am a sucker for the advertising traps. If Eva Longoria uses it, I should too! If Kim Kardashian looks great wearing that dress, I will too! Paris Hilton has a line of canned Prosecco? I want some! Okay, that wasn’t the same thing, I still want Prosecco, but you understand me…don’t you?
Let me tell you about one problem I have faced with my return to Hong Kong. I had forgotten about the shopping in Hong Kong. Shopping in Hong Kong is great. PROBLEM: Everyone shops in the same places. -- I bought this black sequined dress shirt from H&M, wore it, thought I looked great. Heck, I looked FABULOUS in it! That night I wore it to Volar, as I was dancing in the corner with friends, my friend Louis points at the model standing behind me…wearing the exact same top as me. Ouch*
What did I learn from this experience? I don't want to shop and belong to the same club as every girl. What have I done since then? I explore my options. I go to boutiques more. Try to find specific location boutiques, places that suit my taste more. I explore online shopping a lot more... And then I realized something. I have my own style. I like dresses over skirts. I like more classic styles, as opposed to bohemian. I prefer flat shoes over heels (fashion faux pas, but I can’t help it!) I might have a slightly more competitive streak, when dressing for certain occasions, but this way, I would have a few pieces that no one else would be caught wearing to the same party as me.
Sociological aspects aside, at the end of the day, I like to think: whatever I wear, I own, I style it so that it becomes me. It might not always be perfect, but I like it. If I met Coco Chanel and got to ask her one question, I would ask her to stand with me at my closet, “What should I wear today?”