5

The Five Stages of Accepting a Fashion Trend You Hate

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It sounds cliché, but there is indeed a thin line between love and hate.

Sometimes I’ll love something, like, high heels, then grow to hate them. I mean, high heels look cool, but damn, they hurt. Or if something cool and irreverent becomes over exposed, like the Charles Anastase Dungeon Boots were amazing, but Jeffry Campbell’s Lita knock off, and the subsequent mania over the style made it the most repulsive fashion trend of the century. Overexposure can turn love for a style into hate.

There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!”

But what about the other way around? There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!” In 2005, I thought skinny jeans were ridiculous, but for the next ten years they have been a wardrobe staple. I hated boyfriend jeans, but now I like them quite a bit (though still not as much as skinny jeans). I thought “Normcore” was a joke back in February, but now? I’m thinking it’s unavoidable.

Why? Well, for one, activewear has never been so hot. Between every version of fancy sweatpants and New Balance sneakers, there is a person thinking, “Thank god I don’t have to try so hard.” So how did we get from hate to love on this one? Well, it’s quite the same for all trends we hate at first.

Denial

People hate change. We say we love new things, but really, we just like new things that confirm our old things are great. Often times new trends are met with skepticism, for example, as I previously mentioned, I denied the Normcore trend by thinking it was a joke. For months.

Denial is tough to identify because you’re telling yourself it isn’t happening. When you’re staying things like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” and “No effing way will I wear ______.” Because the truth is, hate is better than apathy when it comes to fashion. Why? Because at least when you hate something, it’s on your radar. Which brings me to the next stage.

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That’s outrageous! She’s not wearing underwear! No one can wear a dress like that!

Anger

Once you start hating something, you’re in the “Anger” stage. Over the years, the “Anger” stage has come in the form of controversies. Fashion that offends people for various reasons. Whether it’s showing too much (mini skirts, crop tops, pelvage) or too little (midi skirts, turtle neck sweaters) or “unflattering” (baby doll dresses, boyfriend jeans) people always seem to find a way to scoff and disapprove over fashion trends.

If you find yourself continually ranting about how much you hate a trend, you are in the “Anger” stage.

Bargaining

No, this is not the kind of bargaining where you wait until said trend goes on sale to indulge in it. This is when you start saying things like, “Can I still wear my old clothes?” Yes, of course! But not forever… eventually, there will be new clothes introduced, and they might entail elements of the new trends. For example, if you’re avoiding the Normcore trends, you might realize that almost every store has a version of sweatpants. You might hate the 90′s look, but why are there so many flannel shirts around? It’s impossible to avoid ALL trends.

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Depression

This is when you start to feel bad about the trends currently in your closet. You know, “Empty Closet Syndrome.” When you’re saying things like, “I hate all my clothes.” Or, “I need to update my look.” If your clothes are making you sad, you are definitely in the “Depression” stage. Or you might just need to do your laundry. I realized I was in this stage when I started to feel like none of my clothes fit my new life as a mom and a work-from-home person. Nothing seemed appropriate, certainly not high heels at the playground.

Acceptance

The final stage of accepting a fashion trend you initially hated is “Acceptance.” This is when you say, “You know, this trend has grown on me.” When a trend starts to make sense to you and works well in  your life, that is acceptance.

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jennineThe Five Stages of Accepting a Fashion Trend You Hate
1

I Feel Like I’m Getting Dumber

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I used to think I was really smart. Until we moved and my new teacher tested my reading level by giving a paragraph to read. I sat there, and even though I could read, I couldn’t concentrate at all, the paragraph just looked like a bunch of letters. So naturally, I couldn’t answer any of her questions about the text, and naturally she put me in the dumb kids reading group. It wasn’t really called the “dumb kids reading group” but we all know that’s what it was.

[I'm] smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

Even though I wanted to be “really smart,” it became pretty obvious that I am really just “regular smart”. Like, smart enough to be able to decipher IKEA instructions, but not smart enough to understand Walt Whitman or (insert any poet) Henry David Thoreau. Smart enough to be able Google a dumb question, but not smart enough do my own taxes. Smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

In my quest to be “really smart,” I used to do things like be seen carrying around Nietzche, even though I never got past the first paragraph. I even wrote poetry, of which I was pretty certain that even though I had penned it myself, I was no closer to understanding of the meaning than poetry written by other poets.

Here is an example of one of my old poems:

Thanksgiving.
Turkey head, turkey bed.
I baste myself.
And go back to sleep.

Seriously. I wrote that. I mean, not just right this second, but that was a poem that a 17-year-old Jennine actually wrote in all seriousness. What does it mean? My guess is as good as yours!

I also used to love watching art house films. Going to the museum and learning about old artists. Going to galleries and trying to discover new artists. Listening to bands no one has ever heard of. I used to love having conversations about the ‘meaning of life’ and discuss the woes of the planet. How I was going to get things right in my life. How I was going to evolve into this higher being, intellectually.

Being smart, that was something I really wanted.

But then…

I am not sure exactly what happened. Or when. But instead of watching art house movies, or even dramas where you know the actors acted. I’d opt for some comic book turned action movie. A goofy comedy. I started watching a lot of TV shows. A lot of TV shows. Like, every single one of them.

Instead of “improving my mind” I’d watch Maru jump into a box.

Repeatedly.

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Instead of agonizing over the evolution of human intellect, I’d agonize on whether I’d get brown boots or black boots this year.

At some point I decided that “intellectual” conversations were about as as meaningful as the conversations about black boots versus brown boots. That in the end, who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life, and just lived in the moment. Moments that mostly consisted of watching Netflix and reading about Internet cats. Since my brain can only fit so much, it became full of meaningless anecdotes from streaming episodes of canceled TV shows (Remember when Tami Taylor said, Hi Y’all!?) and cute things I saw on the Internet, like that sneezing Panda.

I decided… who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I just stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life

Maybe, it’s not just my poor decision making, it’s been scientifically proven that our IQ is up to 14 points lower than our Victorian ancestors. If that wasn’t hindering my quest for intelligence, the fact that brain activity slows after about 20 years of age. That my “epiphany” that everything is somehow meaningless and we might as well just have fun and look at cute things on the internet, might actually be a symptom of my brain’s deterioration.

Of course, it’s not too late. There is always time to learn about all kinds of things that stimulate the ol’ noggin. Even if I delve into more meaningful subjects, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be looking for black boots and Internet cats.

 

Image credit: Painting by Frances Van Hove, a contemporary French painter, who is very likely to be much smarter than I.

jennineI Feel Like I’m Getting Dumber
18

I’d Like to Be a Fashion Blogger, But I’m Mostly Wearing Sweatpants

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There used to be a time when I would dress up every day. Get up at 5:30, go to the gym, curl my hair. Put on makeup. Put on one outfit. Take it off. Try another. Still not right, try on something else. Arrrgh! Nothing looks GOOD, and now all my clothes are on the floor, it’s now 8:15, I’m half naked and if I don’t get dressed right that second, I’m going to be half an hour late for work.

These days, Jasper normally wakes me up at 5:30. We go out into the living room. I read him about 20 baby books (it takes about 5 minutes). We play with trains. I push him around the house in his bobbycar. Then at 8:15, in my sweatpants, I slip on a pair of shoes, brush my hair, and drop the baby off at daycare. Then start work, still in sweatpants until noon, where I take a shower and that’s it. Afterwards I might just put on a cleaner pair of sweatpants. Or I might wear a pair of skinny jeans… the super stretchy kind. And that’s pretty much my sartorial schedule.

The fashion blogger who wears sweatpants when they’re not posting outfit shots is nothing new. I’ve heard many fashion bloggers admit that most days they’re in sweats, working all hours of the day semi-disheveled. Yet, you wouldn’t know it because everything looks beautiful, all the time on their blogs and social media.

It’s great, don’t get me wrong, I love an escape from my unmade bed and microwave burritos. But I wonder how much my life can I really share on a fashion blog when my actual favorite pair of pants is a pair of last season’s Uniqlo sweatpants.

Maybe it’s just a phase.

Or maybe everyone, everywhere is just tired of agonizing over what to wear. The pendulum swings both ways. After years of the the fashion industry trying to top itself in ridiculousness, or as Suzy Menkes noted, the Circus of Fashion where she complained how people wore crazy clothes to fashion shows in hopes of getting internet famous. Because you know, once you’re internet famous, your life is complete.

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Or maybe, fancy sweatpants are now a staple for fashionistas everywhere? The Cut listed both sweatpants and sweatshirts for their “stylish basics.” Here’s to hoping. Even though wearing sweatpants as a fashion statement is just as ridiculous as wearing a giant cherry on your head. Yesterday, The Gap launched their new ad campaign, “Dress Normal” which, as my dad likes to say, “Normal is a setting on a dryer.” I’m guessing The Gap is meaning “normal” by understated and somewhat boring.

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I actually kind of like it. Elizabeth Moss just needs to unbutton that top button though.

The point being, is that when fashion trends take a turn for the understated, what then happens to the conversation. Does the conversation quiet down too? Do people move on to talk about other things because talking about how this pair of sweatpants is cool, but those pair of sweatpants are terrible gets to be a bit tedious?

Do we all suddenly realize there is more to life than looking good, even while wearing sweatpants?

In all seriousness though, those sweat pants from Uniqlo last season were really good. I wish they would bring them back.

 

Wearing: Sweatpants: JCrew (Why am I showing the J.Crew after talking so much about the Uniqlo ones? To keep you guessing!) Tee: JCrew • Zip up hoodie: Target • Bag: Proenza Schouler • Flats: Jenni Kayne 

jennineI’d Like to Be a Fashion Blogger, But I’m Mostly Wearing Sweatpants
21

We Need to Make It Easier (and Safer) to Talk About Suicide

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When the news about Robin Williams broke, it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. While I was deeply saddened to hear of his death, and that he committed suicide, I was not shocked. I did see him in real life once, in 2006, and while I can’t disclose the details of where I saw him, I can say that he appeared to be going through a very rough time. I remember thinking that he too was as fragile as any human, and how hard it must be to go through difficulties when everyone expects you to be on top of the world.

“My conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’” ~Robin Williams

Yesterday, I listened to Marc Maron’s 2010 interview with Robin Williams, where Williams talked about the time he thought about suicide:

Maron: Before you had the heart problem, you don’t seem to be someone who is morbidly fascinated with death…

Williams: No. I mean, it’s weird, there was this ONE time, when I was drinking  I thought had this thought “Fuck life.” Then my conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’… You know you have a pretty good life…even though it’s not working right now… First of all you don’t have the balls to do it… I mean, what are you going to do, cut your wrists with a water pick? That’s erosion.”

I highly recommend listening to the whole podcast, the conversation between Maron and Williams is just so real and uncontrived. It is actually, really beautiful.

Robin Williams was the first person on television I remember admiring. I loved Mork and Mindy, and had these rainbow suspenders like he wore on the show. They were my favorite, and I wore them often. Of course I loved a lot of his films, as we all did, but the real reason why his death hurt so much, because what happened to him could also happen to me. As horrible as it is, I get it. I’ve been there.

Now, before you call 9-1-1, allow me to explain.

I’m not going to kill myself.

For those of you who know me, already know that I have suffered from depression almost my entire life. Part of that depression has included the presence of suicidal ideation. Every since I can remember, I had this reflex where I imagine my demise every time there is a quiet moment in my brain. I don’t know where it comes from, and yes, I am seeking professional help. It’s like I have this, as Dexter, puts it a “dark passenger.” Only, my passenger just likes to tells me things like, “No one cares, so just drive a knife in your chest.” Obviously, my dark passenger isn’t a very strategic planner, since it often picks methods I’m not even physically able to do.

Over the years I’ve tried many things to silence this “passenger” including drinking,  and other things like shopping, working, relationships, diet, exercise, self-help books, professional help, etc. To this day, it’s always there, lurking in the quiet.

Why not talk about it? (Until now?)

It’s been reported that most cases of suicidal ideation go untreated. While I cannot tell you the details of those cases, I can tell you that above the stigma of talking about suicide, there is the real fear of being locked up and/or having your children taken away. Once, while I was in a particularly dark place, I called the doctors office, and they asked me if I had suicidal thoughts. When I asked, “Why?” they answered with, “Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.” Then, I quickly answered with, “No. I do not have those thoughts.”

“Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.”

So basically, even under the protection of “doctor-patient-confidentiality” it is not easy to talk about suicide. Would you talk about it to your doctor if you even thought  they were going to hospitalize you? If you tried to talk to your friends or family, they would freak out and treat you like a mental patient? Or worse, roll their eyes and think you were “just trying to get attention?” Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

According to an article on Psychology Today,The truth is that suicidal thoughts, even the fleeting ones, are a very serious symptom of illness.” While the thought of ending your own life is indeed serious, until discussion about suicide is normalized, then we have no idea how serious it can be.

Looking back on Robin William’s conversation with Maron about the ONE time he thought about suicide, it’s obvious now that it wasn’t just that one time. Williams was very open about a lot of dark details of his life, but maybe suicide was the thing he didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about. Perhaps things would be different if he had been more comfortable talking about suicide. Or maybe things would have ended the same way.

One thing is clear, we need to make it easier and safer to talk honestly about suicide.

 

 

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]
jennineWe Need to Make It Easier (and Safer) to Talk About Suicide
1

9 Apps & Web Services That Really Will Make Your Life Easier

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The past few weeks have been insane. Jasper contracted Roseola, an ear infection, pneumonia, and to make matters worse, I’ve had a crazy cough and felt run down. Needless to say, that’s why you haven’t seen any real ‘outfit’ posts. Why I’ve been kind of absent on social media. Right now, I’m laid up in bed, trying to crank out my posts, and well, trying not to do too much.

The thing is, life goes on, no matter how I’m feeling. Grocery shopping still needs to happen, the laundry still piles up, if you have kids, they still need to be taken care of, and you still need to get better. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Anyway, I’ve been loving the prevalence of apps and web services that do things like send someone to the supermarket. Make dinner.  Send someone to pick up the laundry. Heck, even find a last minute sitter.

You might remember when I tried Blue Apron, which was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy to actually MAKE dinner, so I’ve been living off of Instacart and Munchery the past few weeks, and recently just tried Rinse for our laundry. There are several services out there that you can try. (Thanks, Temi for introducing me to this world of online services!)

Munchery

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We use this so much, we know the Munchery delivery person by name. The food is made by local chefs, and menus change daily. I’ve ordered as late as 4:30 for a 7pm delivery, which is pretty amazing since I don’t always know if I’m going to have time/energy to make food. The prices are reasonable, about $9-$12 an entree. While they suggest you heat up in the oven, I always just pop the entrees in the microwave, and it’s pretty good!

Good Eggs

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If you have a bit of lead time, great at meal planning and love eating organic food, Good Eggs is great for you. They have a full spectrum of produce, meats and even prepared meals for the whole family. It’s great for me, because I usually make Jasper his food, but sometimes it’s nice to buy freshly made baby food to take that off my “to do” list.

Instacart

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I know a lot of people are trying Amazon Fresh and Google Express (disclaimer, my husband is Google employee) but I love the immediacy of Instacart. Depending on where you are, you can choose which supermarket you like. In my location, I can choose from Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Safeway and Foods Co. oh, and Costco. I can schedule a delivery even two hours from the time of ordering. Heck, that’s almost as fast as going myself. This morning it was so fast, I really could not go to the market and back in the time they got my order. Deliveries cost anywhere from free if they are having a sale to $8 depending on how soon you need your goods. Great if you just realize you ran out of coffee or milk!

Sprig

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Sprig, like Munchery is a meal delivery service, but instead of using a variety of chefs, this is all done by ex-Google chef, Nate Keller. They also deliver both lunch ($9) and dinner ($10). With a $2 delivery fee. Not bad for locally sourced and seasonal meals!

 

Task Rabbit

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Say you need someone to pick up your prescriptions (like, if you’re REALLY sick), help around the house, run some errands for you, or all that random stuff that you need but can’t do yourself for whatever reason. You can put a job out at Task Rabbit, and someone will respond to your request and wella! You get your stuff done. I used this when I was 37 weeks pregnant and my husband was in China and I had the worst cold. It was great to send someone to Walgreens for me, because no way was I getting out of the house.

 

Washio

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I HATE doing laundry. I’ve always hated it. One of the things I missed about living in New York was that everyone used the wash & fold service. I miss Mae our laundry lady on Elizabeth Street. She was awesome. If you need to schedule a pick up and delivery, or even get your dry cleaning done, Washio can be arranged right from your phone. Prices are $1.60/lb which is pretty steep, but if you are super busy, or have your hands full, sometimes ordering from your mobile phone is handy.

Rinse

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Rinse is different from Washio in that it is only available online, but it does come at $1.50, and you can schedule your pick ups. We used this service last week, and they did a fantastic job of separating and folding our clothes. The only thing is, if you schedule on a Thursday, you won’t see your laundry until Sunday. But I did like how flexible they were with pick up times. In the end, I’d probably go with the neighborhood wash and fold ($1.10, plus free delivery on orders over $25) because they have a 24 hour max turnaround time.

Care.com

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If you need more support than just getting your laundry picked up, Care.com has a range of help you can find, from nannies, to sitters, housekeepers and even personal assistants. You can run background checks on the people you hire, and they even give advice on taxes for the help you hire.

 

urbansitter

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I used urbansitter when I needed to go to an event at the last minute and needed a sitter. urbansitter has a range of sitters you can choose from with availability you can see in real time along with reviews and references readily available. I had a good experience with them when my regular sitter couldn’t make it.

Anyway… wow, this turned out to be a huge post. Do you have any recommendations for apps that make our lives easier? I’d love to hear!

 

jennine9 Apps & Web Services That Really Will Make Your Life Easier
2

What’s the difference between Selfies and Self Portraits?

 

Selfie taken with a Polaroid in 1999.

Selfie taken with a Polaroid in 1999.

The first “selfie” I took was in 1999 with a Polaroid camera. I’m not sure why I wanted to take a photo of myself. My husband at the time was/is a photographer, and he took a lot of photos of me. Yet, for some reason taking a photo of myself was different. I had control over my own image. It wasn’t that the photos I took of myself made me look “prettier” because they seemed to be more emotional in expression than the ones my ex-husband took. Perhaps those polaroids said more about how I felt about myself than they documented a face.

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Polaroid taken of me with the same camera by my ex-husband. Obviously, I look way prettier here than in my selfies.

I never forgot those Polaroids. At the time, I described them as “self-portraits.” They were, indeed photos I had taken of myself. Held at arms length, at random times of day, I didn’t put all that much thought into the composition, or the lighting, or anything really. The act of taking my own photo felt strange enough.

In 2013, the word “selfie” earned the honors of becoming the “Word of the Year.” Never before in history, has there been so many people taking photos of themselves, at arms length or in the mirror, though not with a Polaroid, but with a digital camera. But these “selfies” are not self-portraits, or are they?

…anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting.

Self-portraits are generally thought to be works of art, either by an artist or photographer. Selfies are not considered art, and sometimes considered works of narcissism. Some say that self-portraits incorporate thoughtfulness to composition, lighting and the subject. However, anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting (and subject matter). Others say the difference between self-portraits and selfies boil down to intent. Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

I’m not so sure it’s any of it. The division between creating a self-portrait and a selfie is the latest in linguistic elitism. Art and craft. Fashion and street wear. Photography and pictures.  Eroticism and pornography.  On one side you have a class of people who create on an artistic level, and then you have what everyone else creates. Art is a painting; craft is paint-by-numbers, unless it’s Andy Warhol’s Paint by Numbers, then it’s art again. How the Fashion gods decide what is “Fashion” and what is “Street Wear” I’ll never figure out, except maybe, “Fashion” is who shows at Fashion Week, and “Street Wear” is who shows at trade shows.

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Zinaida Serebriakova self-portrait in 1909, wouldn’t be out of place today as a selfie.

In the Middle Ages, when mirrors became cheaper and more accessible, artists started painting themselves, mostly as marketing pieces to show off their skills to potential patrons. Before the 20th Century, women were not allowed to practice painting nudes of other people, so they painted themselves. Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo used self-portraiture to depict their intensities and emotional pain. Cindy Sherman, in her early work, used self-portraiture to identify female archetypes in film.

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Cindy Sherman Film Still

So, what of bloggers who take selfies to market their beauty or fashion skills to their potential readers? I remember how I started The Coveted as a street style blog, only to find that taking photos of myself was easier. There are those people who dress up in costume for their selfies, and others who share their emotions. Even though my early Polaroids show raw emotions, there really wasn’t much thought put into them. I just wanted to capture a moment.  Yet, those Polaroids feel less like “selfies” than other selfies that incorporated more thought and intention.

Whatever the reason, we have this impulse to photograph ourselves. Maybe it’s just that impulse that is at the heart of Art itself.

What do you think? Is there a difference between self-portraiture and selfies?

 

jennineWhat’s the difference between Selfies and Self Portraits?
4

Objects Without Meaning: The Brand That Doesn’t Pretend, Yet, Still Profound

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Have you ever read a fashion label’s about page? Or a fashion show review? Often sounding more like those little placards you’ll find next to a painting in a museum, the language used in the fashion industry is heady, full of rag jargon. I get it. I went to art school, I know all too well explaining to the professor why I used certain colors or imagery. Which, for me anyway, was mostly bullshit… 99% of the time, I just “felt” that it was the right thing to do.

I believe fashion designers, like artists, graphic designers, architects, basically everyone in the visual arts, has a hard time linking that indescribable force compelling them to create to words we can actually understand. For those that can write about art and fashion, they’re like decoders, translating visual language to written. Some writers are great translators, others, well, churn out a lot of gobbley gook, which is why a lot of fashion reviews end up sounding like they want to mean something, but really mean absolutely nothing.

While Objects Without Meaning is a label with wonderful designs, I mean that’s what caught my eye at first… what really resonated was the bold-face admission that their clothes don’t have any “meaning.” They just exist.

“Objects Without Meaning resides in the present with no long-winded story to tell. We propose clothing as an empty vessel, a blank slate to be filled by the many experiences and emotions of daily life, merging nonchalance with a true sense of spirit.”

Perhaps the fashion industry has it all wrong. Our clothes shouldn’t do the talking for us, so why try so hard to make a statement?

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jennineObjects Without Meaning: The Brand That Doesn’t Pretend, Yet, Still Profound