So. Your head is suffering from a four week long Christmas hangover, you’ve put on what feels like two stone from over-eager starved student eating. All the clothes in your wardrobe are either sequins or holiday sweaters, both of which seem plain wrong in January. But it’s still too cold to whack out the floral dresses. You go shopping only to try on some size six yellow skirt in the sales that can’t exactly hide your newly developed Terry’s Chocolate Orange muffin top, and your New Year’s “get fit” regime has already failed. Sound familiar? Welcome to January.
Like it or not, it happens to us all, and, in the corny but all-too-familiar words of Hairspray, “you can fight it or you can rock out to it”. This month’s Vogue argues that the answer is “escapism”: reminisce over your 2011 self and avoid the uncertainty of January. But that’s what we do every year, and I don’t see Januarys getting any easier. So, apologies to Alexandra Shulman, but how about a new tactic: embrace this season and its lack of safety and experiment with new styles. The magazines and shops are pushing next seasons’ trends but we’re still stuck in freezing cold Norwich, so if they won’t tell you how to do it, look to the streets. A key element of fashion that magazines seem to miss is that it isn’t constricted to a mere industry bubble. The pavements are the true reflection of society’s cultural and demographic changes and, this month, we should celebrate this. Fashion provides the moodboard and inspiration for designers, proven by the hundreds of up-and-coming street fashion blogs available online.
As a student, having to choose buying dinner over any decent fashion magazine, the campus square automatically became my source of inspiration. It’s a fresh change from seeing the regurgitations of designer labels in shops that are way out of a student’s budget. Instead, street fashion is personal. The people photographed on the blogs scream “cool”, intensified by those mini fact files which are often put alongside their image, making the models, and therefore fashion in general, relatable. Reading about the process behind their outfit [which vintage markets they use, how they pieced their outfit together, whether they’re acing their computer science classes or flunking geography] brings fashion to a new dimension rather than just a bunch of size zeros staring up at you blankly from the page. The creator of street fashion blog bible The Satorialist, Scott Schuman, started his website with the idea of “creating a two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life.” It is this dialogue, personality and interaction that provides a refreshing change from the usual system.
So I’m not saying boycott all fashion magazines in 2012 and wear bumbags or socks with sandals for the rest of the year in protest of the fashion industry’s inability to relate to real life. But next time you’re wandering around the UFO, soak up the fashion scene, the next “it” girl could be closer than you think.