19 February 2013

hope springs eternal



"Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you." (x)

Nan Goldin, Amanda in the Mirror (1992)


Feel like NYFW was a bust for sure. Every season I contemplate if I should really return next season because I don't enjoy writing about the shows unless it's one I really care about -- which is once in a blue moon. My feelings about shows are so personal I just want to talk about them over tea with a friend in hushed stillness, somewhere intimate-- writing impersonally about the shapes offered is so bland to me. Fashion writing, reviews, critics, there are few good ones that elevate it above just explaining what went down but talk about why and how it came to happen. Everyone can be a critic but that doesn't mean they're a good one, that they bring clarity to a collection. Most of the times it's just words about clothes, which is funny because fashion week itself is seldom about the clothes. People take it as a production of ego and identity instead of treating it about the clothes, and it ruins the romance of being invited to see something beautiful. I think maybe everyone knows it, too, which is why it was very subdued this year, but there was so little joy in between shows because people were waiting for something wonderful that didn't arrive. We look for distractions in this week to validate why we're there, and why we belong there, and it didn't come, and we pretend not to be disappointed. I think that's the case for too many people at the shows. That stopped being the case some time ago for me which is why I hardly wrote about any of them and skipped so many. And I'll go to even fewer next season, if any at all. It doesn't bring them anything anymore. I think there might still be something left for me, I just haven't decided if it's worth the shot.

We Won't Play Nature to Your Culture by Barbara Kruger, 1983

My priorities are my friends and myself and finding happiness and wholeness for us in places that are inhospitable and often lonely, and I don't think we find that in fashion anymore -- or at least most of the time. I feel like a lot of my friends have moved on and I'm so happy for them, but I am unsure of where I stand now. I do love fashion, I do, I do. I care about the history of clothes. I care about what they mean to me. I care about, you know, things. Material things. these things help me be what I want, and hide or show what I choose, and it provides a nice distraction from having to think too hard about bigger, scarier things. I'm still figuring shit out, you know, so it's good to have things to focus on physically, because if I didn't have a channel I'd be buried in my own head, terrified of whats to come. Dramatic, but it's my blog, and I can cry in my own head if I want to.

Zen 101, Peteski via

A few years ago I wrote quite adamantly -- and sincerely, so sincerely -- about my desire to work in fashion. You know what? I do still want to, even if this post makes it seem like I don't. It's just that my focus has changed. Fuck the performances. I want to work in the peripherals. I don't want to write about clothes I don't care about. I want to write about clothes I care about and the history of the clothes I care about, and I want to produce images that mean something to me, and I want to develop products that connect to me, and I want to surround myself with people who inspire me and don't need validation. I love makeup and all of it's complexity, so that's my baby. I feel like I've been stuck for awhile on what to do and who I am and so it's my goal this year  to change, even if that change hurts, even if it's scary, because without change I am the history of myself instead of the present or the future, and if there's anything I'm not -- it's a sucker for nostalgia.

I'm not here for games anymore. I'm not here to be someone else's hero or someone else's image of me. What I love about art and fashion and beauty is that it is malleable and easily changed. It's both the lie and the truth. Most of the time lately I've felt like I'm doing something in between, so I'm going to try to be as honest as possible about what I want and what I need. And some of the things about my image and my priorities are not things I want or what I need. So expect some changes around here. And I hope you're whole and happy and well.

See you soon.


10 comments:

Nicole said...

as life evolves, we evolve and our writing evolves. no one is static, no one's interests are static...

I look forward to seeing what changes come in your online presence/space.

Embrace the change and be true to you.

Ana said...

Usually, you come to a blog which is... well, it's probably easier to define what it isn't. you come to a blog that isn't in flux. You add it to your feed because you know what it will deliver with the next post.

I love that I have found your blog at this transformative phase.

I have no idea where the next post will take me, but I know I will enjoy it.

There is something powerful about them.

thelingerielesbian.com said...

Great post! Sometimes change and evolution is necessary and when you get so much acclaim for who you are or what you do already it's sometimes hard to realize when it isn't working for you anymore.

Kudos for trying to get to know yourself better :).

Christian Ford said...

Regardless of how you change or what you change, I will still read your blog because your writing style is what I love. I'm into fashion as well but that's not my motivation to read your blog. You have an image that is intense and draws people in and I am one of those people.
Nicolakilledme.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for whatever this new part of blog-life is.
Also, you're not a teenager anymore.

Cristy said...

I just noticed that you changed your description to say that you're Taiwanese American. I wonder if further exploration of that identity is part of the change you're planning? If so, I'm even more interested in seeing where you go with your posts.

Mens Fashion Online in Adelaide said...

Lovely photos..:)

Jan9 said...

i really like how you are able to express what i feel :)

Jann Orlind N. said...

I looked at the title and I haven't even read the post yet. But I hope the title references The Los Campesinos' song, "Hello Sadness". :)

Yasmeen said...

Arabelle, I know you totally don't need the validation but YES. And yes. And yes.

I agree with so much of what you've said here. When I think about the things I occupy myself with (social justice issues, feminism, writing, history, space) fashion, particularly current fashion shows and mainstream fashion magazines, seem unimportant and frankly, useless. But fashion emerged as such a loved industry for a reason and every now and then we find something that reminds us of that feeling. It's hard to come by these days. And when I come across that small reminder (when I find a dress that I love so much I don't even care if I share it on the blog) it's like magic.

It doesn't happen a lot, and it doesn't last long, but I guess that's what makes it special, isn't it? I hope you can find little bits of magic in the unimportant stuff this year. :)