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A fashionista in fashion heaven

APRILL BRANDON

By APRILL BRANDON
Aug. 18, 2010 at 3:18 a.m.
Updated Aug. 19, 2010 at 3:19 a.m.


Fashion.

When you see that word, in general, you have one of three reactions:

1. Ugh. Talk about a snooty, ridiculous industry for vapid airheads.

2. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God . Ahhhh! Fashion! Oh my God.

3. . (which basically symbolizes the muteness smart men have learned to utilize after centuries of evolution).

Let's be honest, many people associate fashion, and consequently the people who are really into fashion, with shallowness, elitism and the glorification of women so thin that if they ate a sandwich, you would be able to physically watch it make its way into her stomach.

Although I am firmly a member of the No. 2 reaction set (BIG surprise, I know), I can still understand all the negative connotations that have become associated with the fashion world. I mean, $8,000 for a dress? At that price, it better cook and do windows, too.

So, when I say fashion, what I mean is my kind of fashion. I'm talking about the do-it-yourself, resale scavenging, vintage shop treasure hunting, putting-together-funky-outfits-with-what-you-already-have fashion. I'm talking about using fashion as a way to express your creativity.

See, I'm not an artist (unless you consider art being able to spend two hours putting on makeup only to make it look like you don't have any makeup on). I don't paint, sculpt or even draw (unless it's naughty doodles during our weekly M3 meeting). And while I do get to flex my creative muscles via writing and coming up with elaborate excuses why my writing isn't done on deadline, I've always considered what I do to be more of a craft than an art (although if you talk to my critics, what I do is actually more like a crime against the English language).

But what I can do is use my body and my face as a canvas to decorate however I see fit.

And that's why this past week when I got the chance to cover a portion of Austin Fashion Week, I was in heaven. Pure, textile, shiny fabric heaven.

See, unlike other Fashion Weeks, which I can only access through the pages of Vogue, Austin Fashion Week is right here on my doorstep. And, also unlike other Fashion Weeks, this event celebrates the home-grown, self-taught, making-T-shirts-into-evening-gowns local designers from Texas.

Snooty? Hardly. These designers are more likely to have a beer with you and talk about how they turned their mom's curtains into the fabulous maxi-dress they're wearing at the after party than charge you the price of small, imported car for a power suit.

By the time I left and headed back home, not only did I have a healthy dose of optimism toward the changing face of the fashion industry, but I was also inspired. These designers were real people, and many of them were self-taught. They wanted a funky, striped dress or necklace that went with their favorite outfit, and when they couldn't find it, they taught themselves to sew or to solder.

And in my eyes, there is nothing more fashionable than creating something out of nothing.

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