My Unrequited Love Affair with Fashion
I have a confession: I love fashion. I love design and color and before I die, I want to lie down in a field of fine fabrics. But as much as I love fashion, I must also confess that I detest the fashion industry.
Too often, it turns children into slaves and pollutes the planet like nothing else. In our so-called developed nation, people kill and die for fashion. We become enslaved to it and demean others for their lack of fashion.
Fashion can be a dirty word, but try as you might, you’ll never be free of it. I know, because I really did try.
After years of buying the best of the best, l began to see that the industry I loved didn’t really love me back. It never celebrated my curves, my height or my color. The fashion I loved did not embrace the aging women who had paved its way. It was not only horrible to the makers, it didn’t care much for the wearers.
So, like a dejected lover who finally realizes that she’s been having an affair with a narcissist, I walked away. I put fashion on no contact and even when fashion called, sent messages and filled my email inbox, I would not return fashion’s calls.
I wore only what I had and then I bought second hand. I gave away all the things I rarely or had never worn and I found multiple ways to accessorize the same hand full of items, only to find that I was becoming an accessory addict. I repeatedly redesigned my old garments until one day, something amazing happened.
Seemingly out of nowhere, I heard a voice. It told me to make a dress. I laughed at the voice and the fact that I was now hearing things. Then I laughed harder because I had never made anything in my life. I could not sew. Still, the voice was rather convincing. I told that voice that I would need a pattern and the same small voice said, “Make one,” and so, I did.
I now know that the voice was my own consciousness, informing me that I had always been capable of more than I believed. That day, I made a dress. Unable to use a machine or even thread one, I stitched the dress by hand. The dress was made of a beautiful silk that I’d purchased for someone else while in Singapore. I wore it the very next day and got more compliments than I had on anything I ever owned.
Now, I design and make something almost every day. After I filled my own closet, I began to make clothes for others. Then I began to design and make my own fabrics and now, I am launching a clothing line. It’s called NDND Designs, because if you’re not dead, you’re not done.
Fashion speaks, it informs, but it should not define us. I have moved on from an unrequited love into a relationship that is balanced, real and true. I love the fashion I create, and this fashion loves me right back.
Fashion is powerful; it speaks even when you are not listening. It tells a story, but it should be your story. Don’t let fashion control you, don’t let it take you for a ride and then leave you on the side of the road. More importantly, be aware of where your fashion comes from and know if it destroyed something or someone before it got to you. Choose a label that celebrates who you are. Since you must go to work to pay for your fashion, you should be able to wear that fashion at work. Find what’s right for you and take care of it.
It’s okay to love, love, love fashion, but make sure it loves, loves, loves you back.
Bertice Berry, PhD.
Bertice Berry, PhD.