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WORDS BY SIGRID (SIGGI) MCCARTHY.
I often wonder when my interest in style & fashion developed, and truth be told, I cannot single out a particular point in time. I have not become one of those people that lives and breathes fashion, although it does play a large role in my daily conversations, Internet trawling and train of thought. That said, I have come to believe that fashion can in fact align with a life filled with other interests and experience.
I began contemplating this notion when a teacher I admired in high school told me I was a "woman of substance and style." To me, this was one of the greatest compliments I could receive, and coming from such an intelligent, diligent woman it meant even more. Her words have stayed with me throughout my adolescence and early adulthood, and have made me think more about the ways in which men and women integrate both aesthetics and substance into their lives.
The viewpoint that many people subscribe to is that fashion is self indulgent and meaningless. I guess I’m writing this piece, not from a defensive standpoint, but more from a place of observation. Style and substance in my opinion can most definitely coexist; so why do people assume it has to be either one or the other? Being well dressed and conscious of one’s appearance does not necessarily mean that one is disengaged with current affairs and the complexities of the world.
I think it is important to remember that people with style are not always involved in the fashion industry, and more so, that being fashionable is not necessarily the same as being stylish.
If you look at the unique styles of many indigenous groups in developing countries, you’ll realise that style is in fact rooted in everyday life, not merely in the so called superficial fashion industry. It is ignorant to assume that people are shallow for taking the time to establish a sense of style, as these people are merely using colours, shapes, and patterns to express themselves creatively.
I respect those that give a creative finger to the more conservative and those that dress the way they want, as I have never understood why one should subscribe to a certain way of dressing in order to avoid judgement from others. For me, it is a real pleasure to pass someone on the street wearing something vibrant and unexpected, and so I encourage people to take risks and experiment with their style.
Those of you that follow this blog will know that my present day style icons include Ulyana Sergeenko, Eva Fontanelli, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Patti Smith, and Ursina Gysi. They are style icons of mine, not because I necessarily love all of their clothing and want to wear similar garments myself, but because they have established a look that is unique to them. I admire them because their points of view are fresh and stimulating, and these women are not afraid to take risks.
They are influenced by their upbringings, their surroundings, their experiences, and their lifestyles and they channel all of this into their sense of style. They don’t allow other people’s expectations to dictate how they present themselves in a physical sense.
And more importantly, they keep the streets interesting!
I believe that being playful with your exterior means being playful with life and, for as long as this is true, I will admire those that are never too old or scared to play.