I love clothes. I love fashion. I have an interest in the way I cover my body. I have ideas about what I think looks nice. It’s not very deep, and it’s not very unusual. It brings me pleasure more than it brings me frustration, but that’s because I channel it mostly into making clothes rather than buying them.
I have written long and hard about how annoying I find it that, as a woman, who likes to sometimes tie up men and hit them with stuff for fun (sex-fun) that the fashion choices of the dominatrix are limited to the horrendous end of horrible. Latex or PVC and any colour so long as you can imagine it as the main schema for the new flag of a fascist state.
The traditional sartorial stylings (well, I say stylings…) of the dominant woman are firmly defined by the kinds of dominant women who are performing that role for money rather than love-honey, and so they are dressing how straight men want them to dress, and the way straight men want women to dress isn’t known for it’s taste and subtlety. As you will know if you (a) have eyes and (b) live in any kind of culture.
Course, there’s nothing wrong with dressing like a whore per se, unless you catch a cold and give it to me, but there’s everything wrong with expecting me to dress a certain way just because of something else to do with me that is nothing to do with that.
But, actually, that’s not really my problem with mainstream fashion. I am a fat person. Or, in truth, I am a fat person in transition. I have (very, extremely) mixed feelings about this, but I have made my way in the last six months from the ghetto where fat people live to the run-down part of town where people who are normal but, you know, fat-normal live. I can access fashion now, but in a somewhat limited way. Still no Top Shop for me.
Not to mention the fact that the gateway to fashion is fashion magazines. Aka gloss-coated evil. I love clothes enough to lust after glossy magazines and yet my feminist sensibilities won’t let me even slide a finger down their enslickened covers.
And I’ve not even talked about sweat shops, environmental concerns, the various pissy factors which mean I hate, hate, hate to buy clothes retail at all if I can help it.
So, while, I love fashion, fashion – or at least, the fashion industry – just doesn’t love me back. And as with all unrequited love, the temptation is to hang on and hang on for the love object to come to its senses and realize it cannot exist without the wonderful glory that is me. Me! Think you can live without me, do you fashion industry? Well, we’ll see. I’ll be over here. Waiting. Waiting…. Oh, you appear to be doing just fine. I might feel the desperate urge to convince myself that the dream is real. That fashion loves me, really – if only it knew. But that’s shooting for the moon. The only real, sensible option for me – in this kind of situation – is to run away.
Quit that shit for a new path. Understand that even if fashion did come to its senses and declare its undying love, that love would still be tainted by all the years it considered itself indifferent to my obvious charms.
So although I am slow and clumsy, my day is saved by making my own clothes. Or, possibly more precisely, by the notion of making my own clothes.
After recently finding myself in the vintage section of eBay browsing on the keyword tweed and wondering where I was going with this Margaret Rutherford inspired daydreaming, I realized exactly what I needed. A suit. A straight skirt and something structured on top. A pattern. A houndstooth check. Two shades of purple. My life, if I owned this outfit, would be complete. I would wear it with a fancy blouse with a huge pussy cat bow, or a stripy shirt and a shiny, man’s tie. In my head I’m already living the kind of high-powered dynamic life that someone who wore a suit of dreams like this would surely live.
All clothes are a drag disguise that promise new adventures. And even if those adventures never really come, I don’t want to be denied the anticipation of any of them.
And where would I find something like this? Why nowhere but on the end of my knitting needles. (Yeah – I know it’s really not the time of year for something like this – but Fairisle takes me forever!) This is why I make stuff. Sometimes the image in my head – the way of covering my body that I am looking for – is so specific I will never find it. Even without the (mostly ignorable) specifications of my sexuality and the (rather more impactful) machinations of the fashion industry.
I like the internet because it gives me a space to write my own blog and define my own little spot of culture – where my choices are right for me. Even if the impact of what I say is small to negligible. And I like making clothes because I get to opt out of having to have things made for me by a cruel churning capitalist wheel that heartlessly, facelessly decides what I want based on economic prudence and flawed research. That offers me products that don’t work for me and then makes me think that I am the problem. My body is the wrong size, not the clothes. My tastes are wrong if I don’t like the colours in the shops. This is fashion. If I don’t like it I am unfashionable.
And sometimes when I make things, I make things wrong, but I always know that’s because I made a mistake and I’m fine with that because no one is trying to convince me that actually sweaters with 3 arms that I can’t fit some parts of my body into are the correct thing and if I want different it’s my body that needs to be ripped and reworked.
Making my own means making clothes the right shape for my body rather than trying to make my body the right shape for the clothes.