There’s an interesting post over at Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing today about her recent trip to see Wicked on Broadway. The costumes really captured her imagination:
What’s most impressive is how the clothing tells a story in such an authentic way. It’s first a product of good writing, I suppose, that Elphaba’s iconic witch costume comes off as real, rather than kitschy. There’s a story behind each piece: the hat was given to her as a cruel joke by classmate Glinda, for example.
You can check out the full post here, it’s a lovely read, as is the rest of her blog.
As Gertie does often, she threw the discussion to her readers, asking:
Are you ever made to feel shallow for being interested in fashion and garment construction? Do you think that fashion is a powerful art form, or is that overstating it?
For me, fashion and sewing have always been two separate things. Sometimes I’ll take inspiration from fashion supplements in newspapers, but more often than not, my sewing habits pay little to no homages to the current trends.
There are certain aspects of fashion which I do find shallow. After all, fashion is all about how you look. When I think fashion, I inevitably think of Cardiff high street (or any city’s high street for that matter) and its plethora of cheap, fast fashion on show.
For those of you who have read/listened to my interview with Zoe, she speaks of the “feeling of dissatisfaction” which seems to drive the industry, and I can’t help but agree. We’re bombarded with advertising which subtly promises something “better” if you upgrade your wardrobe. In the world of the glossy and the airbrushed, you can achieve anything if you have the right dress and shoes.
Yet, as Gertie says, there are often times when fashion truly is an art form in its own right. I’m sure more knowledgable fashionistas could list off many designers who do great things with their seams!
As for me, I don’t necessarily look to haute couture – I’m the kind of person who identifies more with grassroots projects, and it’s this human touch which adds depth to fashion and clothing. Inevitably I look to the online sewing community for that and there are countless examples of people on the street who can pull off statements with an outfit alone.
One particular example deserves a post all its own, but take a look at this video from The Uniform Project. The idea was to wear the same dress every day for a year to raise money for the Akanksha Foundation. I always think of this example when I think of fashion which makes a point and makes a difference.
As for sewing, I can honestly say I’ve never been made to feel shallow for making my own clothes. Sewing is a craft and a skill in its own right. It may be growing in popularity, but it’s not as common as it used to be. As a trainee journalist, I’m learning shorthand, and I often think you could draw a lot of parallels between the two skills. People wonder why I’m learning shorthand when I could just buy a dictaphone in the same way as some people wonder why I’m sewing a pencil skirt I could easily buy for under a tenner.
What do you think? Is fashion shallow?