I used to speak fluent fashion. I could whip up 500 words on the Oscar red carpet, the latest designer choice by Michelle Obama, or Alexander McQueen’s death. Fashion by observation was my thing – a contribution to the conversation on a much-derided topic: why we wear what we do, why we care, why it affects us. The main criticism levied at my choice of word-fodder was that it was shallow, unintellectual, unchallenging. I vehemently disagreed and still do – the world of fashion is ever-changing, ever-challenging, and part of a wider social dynamic that plays it part in our evolution. Writing about fashion could encourage people to wonder, to dream, and to fall in love.
But aside from that, it was fun. I could tell you the red carpet dress heroes of the last five years, joyfully dissected in the early hours of the morning after an awards ceremony – a side effect of the LA time difference. I could give you the colour palette for AW13 and advise which designers do it best. I could advise on a street style blogger to follow, a new Scandinavian high street store, an up-and-coming eco-friendly leather brand.
Except that I couldn’t. Not anymore. For the last three years I have been working on the Other Side for a single brand. I have therefore become single-minded. Challenging and fantastic in its own ways, I realised that no longer do I ponder the Paris shows, hitting refresh on style.com until new looks are added. Nor do I ever offer a professional opinion on Michelle Obama’s evolving style, or which shoe designer is the next Big Thing.
Every brand is an island. And as a protector of that island and it’s communications, I speak and breathe a language particular to its parameters. I navigate the unchartered waters of social media conversations, but from a propaganda and police role, instead of a challenging or commenting voice. I am good at it, and I cherish the experiences I have. But the realisation I had lost my ‘fashion’ voice has been sneaking up in the back of my mind – and I want it back. My brand voice and my own voice are not mutually incompatible.
Writing under the alias of Wardrobe Wisdom I had a place. I no longer have the alias, but I have me – my own opinions and my own interests. And you’ll be seeing more of those as I coax my inner fashion girl out of her hiding place. And let’s face it, I have until next awards season to brush off the cobwebs and get stuck in.