You may see fashion as unnecessary to your life, as frivolous, as pretentious… and it is all of that on some level. It can be superficial and selfish, but for some of us it is a safe haven from the banality of our lives. With fashion we give ourselves a confidence and a queenliness. Those who deem fashion as only all of these things have never depended on an art form to express themselves. If art can only be two-dimensional, then we are limiting the happiness we can feel from art itself.
My style has changed so much as my opinion of the world has grown. At 14, I heard the term “fast fashion” — used to describe corporations catering to consumers and trends, with cost efficiency in mind — for the first time. I was confronted with the inhumanity of mainstream brands and decided that I would never buy from them again.
Some people are vegetarian as a form of social activism; I am trendless. Fashion was my refuge to escape perpetuating the white heteronormativity that rules our society. I needed people to know me for being original. I needed to make sure people knew I was not like them.
But the problem of asserting yourself one way is that every time you divert from it, you are not taken seriously. When I came out as genderqueer, I felt obliged to dress in a more masculine way: to never wear skirts again, to abandon my Star Trek earrings. So can I still wear my hand-painted heels and my fitted suits and be gendered correctly? Can I still feel that I am respecting my own gender and be as fashionably versatile as I was before? When does fashion start determining who we are?