I think that my affinity for fashion has evolved quite a bit over the past few years. In traveling more and having the pleasure of collaborating with some incredible up-and-coming designers, I have developed a whole new respect for this very important sector of the business. I don’t need to attend the biggest shows or feel that urge to be seen at exclusive parties (not that I am necessarily invited, anyway). I sincerely do prefer this element of discovery that has become a big part of my world as of late.
Having worked my way to a point where I am able to interact with fashion creatives that project varying forms of spirit, as opposed to those that are monopolizing public attention simply because of a name, is something I am grateful for. This is not to say that the big fashion labels haven’t rightfully earned their stripes, but there remains so much under-the-radar talent that I personally find to be more intriguing. I’d rather make a statement by wearing something beautifully crafted, over being envied for owning things most people can’t afford (again, not saying I am a part of this “club” either, but you see where I’m going here).
Similar to the way my blog and business have transformed, my view on the industry has also taken a turn. If you have been following for a little while, first of all, thank you! Also, you’ve probably noticed I talk less about what or “who” I am wearing and a more about how my feelings, surroundings, experiences, and life in general, inspired my vibe. I have always dressed for my mood, but lately I do feel a stronger connection with certain brands…and often times that means keeping it simple in a pair of made-to-order Talley jeans or a playfully proportioned Wilt tee. I admire when brands really infuse a lifestyle and focus on this rather than just pushing the message of “SELL SELL SELL”. You can see and feel the difference.
I couldn’t give less of a fuck about having the latest “it bag”. OK, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do succumb to what is trending, or whatever, but only if its really, really amazing (especially when it comes to jumpsuits — I am a sucker for jumpsuits). For the most part, however, I’d rather cover my body in pieces that were created with love and speak to something real – be it a unique thought that sparked a design, the expression of a story which makes a brand identifiable, or the special process it takes to transform an idea into something tangible.
This bag by Officina del Poggio, a rad accessories line I was recently was introduced to, is made in Italy (oh, the leather) and founded by the coolest, free-spirited American woman who has built an amazing life in Milan. She has a truly unique collection of motorcycle duffles, saddle bags and more – all inspired by the thrill of adventure! A sentiment I completely identify with, of course. Made for the girl (or guy) who is ready to hop on a bike and ride off into the sunset, even if they don’t know where they’re going to wind up. For the fashion lover who appreciates the perfectly imperfect hardware, and somewhat “rough around the edges” appeal that adds such character to each creation…and the person whose genuine energy and outlook can be described using these same words. It is a brand built upon a lifestyle that I admire and understand…one that I believe in and am empowered by!
And this coat…where to even begin with the coat. Rahul Mishra is far from a newbie…he’s made his mark in the fashion world, in winning the Woolmark Prize and achieving plentiful, international recognition over the past several years. Yet, somehow, I only learned about this highly skilled, philanthropic designer after going to Paris in April. The driving factor that led him to develop his brand is actually one that shook me.
Following his motto to “let craft lead the way”, Mishra has designed a handful of breathtaking collections, all the while remaining true to his vision that refuses conforming to the modern standard of mass production (disregarding that same “SELL SELL SELL” mentality I’ve become quite burnt out on). He is a strong, self-proclaimed advocate of “slow fashion” who maintains respectable, high-standards when it comes to his artwork. The framework his company is built upon involves hiring craftsmen and women from the slums of India, employing them to exercise their talents through executing intricate embroidery on the purest of fabrics. He provides an ethical and encouraging environment for people in the community from which he originated, doing his part to help advance and build more sustainable lives for struggling Indian artisans and their families.
The fashion industry is notorious for being shallow, cutthroat and insincere — on many fronts I do agree with the stereotype. It wasn’t until recently (perhaps leaving New York is what flipped the switch), that I saw this whole other side. But putting on the outfit you see here without thinking twice, feeling good in what I was wearing that day, and reflecting on the power of these pieces when I started to write, I felt like I was like taking a breath of fresh air.