January 22, 2010

fashion, basically. also, TEAM CONAN

This morning Tanya Gold published an article in The Guardian entitled "Why I Hate Fashion." SPOILER ALERT: it's about why she hates fashion. I suggest reading it before continuing reading this post, because then you get more of an idea of what this whole discussion is about. Also, I hope you're sitting down. Get cozy. Use the toilet real quick, so you don't have to get up and go in the middle.

I can't say I fully disagree with everything she said. I hate the size issue, I hate the commercialism, I hate 14-year-old models being told to lose weight so they can look sexy in a dress made for women twice their age. The problem, though, is how she is so general-ALL of it is uncreative and evil, apparently. But it's a broad subject. Criticizing parts of it (poorly, might I add) is understandable, but putting Yohji Yamamoto in the same category as a magazine about cellulite, dating tips, and makeup is not. Oh, and speaking of Yohji Yamamoto? He hates fashion, too. Oh, and speaking of makeup? Neither editors Katie Grand, editor of Love, or Anna Dello Russo, editor of Vogue Nippon, (you know, Vogue, the magazine Ms. Gold said she spits at and sometimes rips up) wear any.

I am sort of used to the occasional "Why would you waste your prodigal, wiz kid, Jay-Leno-would-probably-sit-you-on-his-lap-and-exclaim-'kids these days! They can use commas!'-type GENIUS (that's me, the genius!) on something as frivolous as fashion?" email. I am also, luckily and gratefully, used to the occasional "I don't like fashion at all and I have never taken an interest in it but I still love your blog and like what you're doing" email, as well. And while we are on the topic of Leno, COCO ALL THE WAY. Tonight was a sad night.

It's refreshing to me that those who can see that all the supposedly "fashion"-oriented magazines and reality TV shows are BS can still appreciate a fashion blog, and for that I'm very thankful. It's not, I don't think, a very difficult thing to do. But then there's the "fashion is stupid!" mindset. The people I know in real life that share this view hate it when clothes are just about being attractive -- then they scoff when I show them the work of any designer whose work is out of the ordinary or not focused on making its wearer look sexy. Tanya Gold, too, says that she "can look at the clothes on the catwalk now and laugh at their imbecility." So, you hate fashion that is soulless and you hate fashion that required of the designer thought and emotion. That's pretty cynical. Conan says don't be cynical. AND CONAN IS RIGHT.

You know, in the beginning of The September Issue, Anna Wintour says she thinks some people mock fashion because they are intimidated by it. And she's right. Yeah, it's snobby, but you know what? So is turning up your nose at a runway collection because you thinks it's weird and you just don't get it. This, in fact, makes the nose-turner-upper not too different from those horrible "fashion" magazines - dismissing something because it's strange. How very narrow-minded.

Ms. Gold speaks about how she discovered fashion at 13 and then dressed in a way she knew she was supposed to dress. "How I enchanted. How I belonged. I thought I looked just like the effortlessly beautiful girls at school. Except I didn't. And, very soon, I realised that I didn't. All that weekend job money and childish angst and still I looked like me. That was the first seduction – and the first betrayal." I don't believe Ms. Gold "discovered" fashion; she discovered middle school and teenagerdom. She said that before that, she dressed as Andy Pandy and was happier.

I find the idea of dressing as Andy Pandy pretty awesome. It's creative and it's fun, and that sounds fashionable to me. What Tanya Gold and many others, including myself, hate is the everyone-has-to-look-the-same-and-also-sexy philosophy, which is NOT fashion.

This is by no means written with the intentions of a personal attack on Ms. Gold, but rather, a kind of response to this idea that I see coming up often. I think that the problem with fashion isn't fashion, but how others decide to see it. The same "fashion" magazines that offer advice about pleasing men might decide that fashion isn't for overweight people, but it's Tanya Gold's fault for believing it, and if she really wanted to have fun with clothes she could. Same goes for the idea that clothes HAVE to make you look sexy. Not if you don't want to! Isn't that amazing!

I invite these folks to read a constructive runway review by Cathy Horyn, Robin Givhan, Suzy Menkes, Hilary Alexander, or Lynn Yaeger. Look at the works of Comme des Garcons, Rodarte, Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, or Vivienne Westwood, at the very least. Read a magazine that has not one word about plastic surgery or dieting, or at least, ignore those parts and appreciate the art (Lula, i-D, Russh, Dazed and Confused, Pop, Love, Vogue, Bazaar, W, to name a few). Be open-minded.

Her article was essentially pointless, and I guess my post is, as well. Tanya Gold will still hate fashion, my friends will still question the loyalty I have for it, and I'm pretty sure that most of the people that come to this blog and will see it come because they already know everything I just spent too much time saying, anyway. Still, I felt compelled to write it, for whatever reason, and will go to bed, my brain swirling with thoughts. I love discussing and thinking about fashion philosophy, and I wish the "it's supposed to make you look attractive" one would vanish.

Read: Personal attacks on Tanya Gold, be it about her writing abilities or physical appearance or age, are irrelevant, unnecessary, and will be deleted.

412 comments:

1 – 200 of 412   Newer›   Newest»
Soren Lorensen said...

great discussion

hip hip hooray!

Floz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blukats said...

Unless she's planning on going nude 24/7, she's wearing clothing. And that my friends, is fashion.

Gonna go look at the latest Vivienne Westwood Menswear show again, because according to that write, it must not be fashion.

silverrangel said...

I agree that her article is pretty pointless. It's basically saying that the way she saw and was interested in fashion made her unhappy, so it MUST be evil! FASHION RUINS LIVES BECAUSE TANYA GOLD SAID SO.

There are so many other things in the world that contribute to unhappiness and fashion is pretty low on that list. In fact I think it makes lots of people happy because they can express themselves and gain confidence through wearing clothes or making them.

confessions of a marc addict. said...

you are brilliant, and this post shows it! tanya gold is missing the ENTIRE point of the art of clothing. you, i and others choose the clothes we do because they make OURSELVES feel great. i put clothes on KNOWING that my boyfriend, and other male species dislike them. but i don't care, i am not out to please them. i have this mindset, and i can also say that i love the fashion industry. i wish tanya gold could understand that. she wears clothing, i hope. that includes her in the fashion industry, whether she wears head to toe comme, or lane bryant.

Matilda said...

People don't understand. If you lived where I live, in Somerset, in the U.K, you'd realise how dire it can be. It's like the backlog effect; and style is unknown. I'm going to try realllllly hard to promote fashion and its frivilities to eliminate Jack Wills and A&F!

Love Matty xxxxx

P.S I need back up followers please, please, please- as in Somerset popularity seems to be the only way to get some credit and attention!

http://ohsokitsch.blogspot.com

roarah said...

Well composed response! Wonderful to hear.

Delightfully Tacky said...

I agree with you 100%. People make the same argument about pretty much all art forms, though fashion is particularly vulnerable because it has the frivolity of dieting/figure/sexiness involved (for some). I suspect Tanya Gold doesn't understand most art which is difficult to understand. Rothko probably annoys her and she'd hate Radiohead or Animal Collective.

Helmi said...

Thank you for writing this post. I found it very interesting and not pointless at all. Not to confuse fashion as an art to the general competing and comparing yourself to others. It opened my mind a little more.

Emma said...

I love fashion, I find it hard to understand some one who hates it :S

Claps for you though :)

Emma said...

I love fashion, I find it hard to understand some one who hates it :S

Claps for you though :)

Kalo said...

Great post!

Anyway, I think what makes fashion so polarizing is that different types of fashion falls into different categories- to me at least. I think about this all the time. You have art-fashion- That is, high fashion and couture that's on the runways and are so great to look at, with names like the ones you mentioned in your second last paragraph involved.

And you have... Everyday clothes! The kind of clothes that a lot of people wear because they're affordable and cute and you can wear them to work and they make you look good.

Tanya Gold is talking about the second type of clothing, and you're talking about the first. And you're both right, respectively. Because so much of fashion is about art and pushing boundaries and all that awesome stuff, but it's also about what she's talking about too. And I don't know to talk it out here or resolve it, so I'm not going to try because I know very little about it.

BUT! I will say this: I think there should be a models union. Like a workers union... But for models! I know that sounds crazy, but models seriously need to have their rights protected. If there are laws stopping peeps in the fashion industry telling them to lose more weight always and not caring about their comfort... It shows. And it reflects badly on the rest of it. I know that people think models have GOT IT MADE because they're tall and skinny and gorgeous and make money because they are tall and skinny and gorgeous, but I really think that they should have some sort of protection. It takes the 'victim' out of 'fashion victim', right?!

Kate said...

Brilliant post - have you read the book 'The Thoughtful Dresser' by Linda Grant? It covers this whole discussion about people dismissing fashion as it is 'shallow and vain' etc. Yet everyday, EVERYONE has to wear clothes... xx

Diane said...

Tavi, I admire you so much for having such a strong (an fair, in my opinion) view at your age. I finished sociology and I can tell you that people still talk about a subject and point fingers even if they don't know anything about it. But no one can change the world...so...let them be what they want to be...I actually had a similar post a few weeks ago, you can read it here :
http://dianefreedom.blogspot.com/2009/12/about-fashion-and-clothing_09.html

kiss

Jewellery Maven said...

One big HUZAH! @ your post.

Leah said...

Wonderful debating skills!

Little J said...

Hey Tavi, Great post. I totally agree with your point that fashion is not only looking sexy and pretty. In fact, that's not even a fashion, that's just 'I look better than you because I'm wearing a sexy dress". Fashion is about who you are, and one doesn't need to care about what others think, just be happy in your own skin (from your post, Rambling, oops. Love that post). Once again, you've produced an excellent thought-provoking post. You're my inspiration forever. HEARTS.
-TheClackers

50two said...

i found her article overwhelmingly uninformed and somewhat bitter. really? using the example of a girl in heels dying at a train station? what about the 200 other examples of people getting hit by trains because of alcohol and general stupidity? does she hate stupidity as much as fashion?

claps to you for hating the size issue. it was shallow.

brooke said...

agree, agree, agree. very well written tavi! and congrats for not going skitz. I can't even approach "I hate fashion" people or "I hate skinny people" people on my blog, I go too insane. well done =] xx

Jeanette said...

you are amazing. the article was witty, but you're even wittier. i agree with you 100 per cent!

Babaluma said...

agreed tavi! that's an excellent and well thought out response, and far more interesting than the original article.

AliceGoesOutOnHerOwn said...

"The same "fashion" magazines that offer advice about pleasing men might decide that fashion isn't for overweight people, but it's Tanya Gold's fault for believing it, and if she really wanted to have fun with clothes she could. Same goes for the idea that clothes HAVE to make you look sexy. Not if you don't want to! Isn't that amazing!"

-Thanks for making me realize how true this is, when all along I wished to be skinny. Not because I wanted to attract people but because I was made to think that fashion looks good only on skinny people. It does not after all, big surprise.

Kamilla said...

great post, tavi. I agree with you, and i love this sentence: "i think that the problem with fashion isn't fashion, but how others decide to see it."

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Hi Tavi,

In today's newspaper, back here in the Netherlands, I read about your blog and all the things you are up to. Great blog, great pics, great posts! You rock girl !!!

Have a happy weekend!

Saskia

Sofie Marie said...

Her article is so over dramitised,and though it does it include some good points,it is all far too general.I totally agree Tavi,you've hit the head on the nail with this response.Hear hear!Time to admire Tavi,me thinks...instead of Tanya Gold.

The fact that she blames fashion for her own insecurity is ridiculous.Yes,magazines and adverts can be intimidating; They can be very fake,and make a person feel as if they have to aspire to some unreal reality.However,its truly down to a persons judgement,if they are strong enough(might I add clever enough) to realise that they can express themselves however they want.They don't need to wear heels(not that I dislike heels,but it seems that Tanya's focus point throughout the article)-they can wear whatever they feel comfortable and expresses there personality.Nobody is pressurising anyone,as long as a person understands and is able to overcome this-as long as they are not pushed to wear something they dislike,just for "fashions sake".

And that point about blaming fashion for the girls death was complete rubbish!Argggh,sorry for the rant!

Sofie ^^
onetoomanywishes.blogspot.com

Laura Audrey Brown said...

Thank you for your fantastic post!
I just wanted to quickly point out, though, that Russh does indeed have a section on dieting ('Simon Says'), so I just thought it would be wise to remove that off the list.
Not because I'm being petty (I genuinely think your post was terrific!!), its just that I'm aware that this might come up as a petty rebuttle argument against what you have said.

Once again, a fantastic post! Well done Tavi :)

said...

I actually love you for posting this! I read the article and it really left me feeling so (for want of a more sophisticated phrase) pissed off. She only hates fashion because she chooses to see it in a negative light. She has clearly CHOSEN to look past all the positives - the creativity, inspiration, fun and, of course, beautiful clothes!
For most people, fashion can make them feel great. She may feel great about herself in nasty old trainers and ill fitting "smocks" which she said she now chooses to wear, but I'm sure that if she fully immersed herself in the beauty of clothes she could feel a thousand times better about herself. I also found it a little sad that she had chosen to give up.
Again, thank you so much for posting this!


AND as always, your blog is amazing.

greenvarnish said...

the last two really bad falls i had, i was wearing flat shoes "designed for movement," and i wear my fair share of heels.

i love you and i love your blog. it's the complete antithesis of her article. i wanna say something like, "if she saw your blog she'd eat her words" but i feel like she's just a sad, bitter person who will never embrace the joy of feeling liberated, creative and expression via clothing.

Coco L. said...

Oh Tavi

Thanks for this eloquent opening of discussion.

People often consider human resources of one person to be so limited that taking interest, say in philosophy and ethics, excludes any possibility to have time or brain capacity, let alone budget or talent to see the world from an aesthetic point of view. But I say aesthetics are not vain in their essence, quite the contrary. They're like rehearsals in seeing magic. I think it's everybody's responsibility to constantly practice seeing beauty and be awake, because ultimately you need to be ready to see beauty in and be awake for life and other people. It's about humanity. Never mind how you practice these skills, you can do other thing, depending on your orientation. Culture offers many options.

It's about balance. I think Tanya Gold's problem was essentially the greedy, insecure aspect of fashion where it's used to fill a void in a persons identity. And that tends to happen, a lot. Maybe what Tanya Gold needs right now is something other than fashion ...poetry and films?

We need to try and maintain the right reasons and self respect in order not to turn into judgmental and narrow minded on either side of the subject. It seems to me your attitude is an example of what I might mean. Have a nice weekend!

CORA said...

This is so true, amazing discussion by the way. For me fashion is about being inspired and creative, and making yourself happy. The whole teenagerdom bit, when she says "i wore what i was supposed to wear" really irritates me. People often ask me why would you wear that? if i'm wearing something different or alternative, i guess its the same for a lot of people, and it's like : i wear it because i love it. Sure it may not be their taste, but i personally think fashion is your own opinion, your creativity, and what you like. So we shouldn't just follow the crowd and wear what we are 'supposed' to wear. I totally agree with what your saying, great post

Much love xx

Madeleine said...

Well, as others commented: She wears clothes = fashion

Dodo said...

I read it all and just wondered, why do people still give her a job/a place to write this crap. In all her years on earth she hasn't leaned anything about fashion but still claims she knows how it really is.

redheadfashionista said...

My only response to that is the speech Miranda Priestly gives about Andy's blue sweater, and Stanley Tucci's 'greater than art' speech in the same film. We live our life in fashion, being it 'fashionable' or not, and going against the norm of fashion magazines and all that is so fashionable right now.

Catherine said...

I see TG's point, and I certainly think there are many negative aspects to fashion. Like Karl Lagerfield saying that the only people who object to anorexic models are "fat mummies".... like... ooohh that made me cross. Anyway I have two points to make:

1) I love your blog, I'm not very "fashion" orientated usually but I do love aesthetics and great writing and it has both. And your blog, along with the Sartorialist and Garance Dore, have made me realise that there's more to fashion/style than meets the eye... it's been an education (and I still know naff all)

2) It's weird that TG equates fashion with a sort of following-the-herd type uniform she wore when she was 13, but now feels "liberated" because she is still following the herd aged 30whatever (and where does she think the smock trend came from, anyway? Outer space?)

That is all.

Aurea said...

Fashion ain't about looking sexy all the time, of course at the appropiate age, time and place clothes come in handy to sexiness. I express myself with fashion and it makes me feels good, it's a form of art and expression.

You little one are awesome. You express yourself beautifully in two ways: fashion and writting.

Use your potentiall in what you want as long as you are not hurting someone else you are going to be great and genius. Shine, little one, shine.

Devery said...

This is an excellent post! I love it. And I love your blog for helping me choose "interesting" over "pretty/sexy" or at least "interestingprettysexyinawaythatisme!" over "MEH". You're the greatest.

Laura said...

Oh, great post! Somehow, you've found a way to put in words and clear up all the confusion in my head about all this.
There are some points in fashion that really bother me (mainly the size issue), but, on the other side, there's a whole amazing world besides all this, that doesn't really have to be connected with the super skinny girls on runways or some awful magazines. I know all this have an huge influence in what we're going to see in stores and how some people are going to think, but, in my point of view, fashion's biggest point is not to have something and just wear it according to what people tell you, but put your personal touch, show part of yourself in your outfit. It involves so much creativity that I can almost say it's a way of making art. It's just fascinating to observe the development process of a collection, seen how someone can take such a fashion-free inspiration and turn this into a piece of clothing (i've watched a documentary about Marc Jacobs few months ago, that's why I'm so amazed about it LOL).
Love your blog and the way how you composed this text with real arguments, not 'she's fat, she's ugly, that's why she hates it' :D
(sorry about the bad english, i'm Brazillian)

Casey Bernice said...

i think the articled severely lacks depth, i understand that it is a biased approach to the industry but she doesn't even mildly touch on the side that promotes expression and individuality.

your point that suggests that her discovery of fashion was just that off adolecence was genious and true statement to make.

most of all i despise the story of the girl who fell between the train tracks and the way in which she uses such tragedy as an accesory to support her argument.

i definitely see her article as a naive and narrow minded approach to fashion. xo

Casey Bernice said...

i think the articled severely lacks depth, i understand that it is a biased approach to the industry but she doesn't even mildly touch on the side that promotes expression and individuality.

your point that suggests that her discovery of fashion was just that off adolecence was genious and true statement to make.

most of all i despise the story of the girl who fell between the train tracks and the way in which she uses such tragedy as an accesory to support her argument.

i definitely see her article as a naive and narrow minded approach to fashion. xo

Mellow said...

Ok, I agree with Kalo, totally. I think if you're not really into fashion, like knee-deep, and only read magazines with features on hollywood stars' diets you must absolutely end up hating it. So for the average person, the picture they get from fashion (from those magazines and billboards) is lame and dumb, but still intimidating. I don't think Tanya Gold is bitter or does not know what she is talking about; their are lots of people that do not know that fashion should be considered as an art, even some models ignore that which might lead to frustration.

Tanya Gold just has a different aspect of fashion in mind and I think calling her bitter or implying that she doesn't like Rothko is a bit shortminded. Moreover I am positive, that she would also like Tavi's blog very much despite the focus on fashion since it is very wittily written which makes it attractive also to people not in love with this art.

And I disagree that simply wearing clothes is fashion.

Mary Dawn said...

are you sure you're not 33?

superbly written

isshelost said...

i completely agree and think this a great post. fashion is an art form, whereas everyday trends are just apparel. Your blog constantly fills me with new ideas and new perspectives so thankyou.

I also suggest you read "FASHION a philosophy" by Lars Svensden if you havent already, it really is an amazing insight with a fresh angle on all the things you know yet enjoy reiterated.xo

FND said...

Great note Tavs! However, I dont like Cathy Horyn tho. She's just plain bitter sometimes. For no reason. Suzy Menkes I love.

Sarah-Julia said...

This post is brilliant!
I totally agree with you. What else can I say ?

*

Baro Lucas said...

Great discussion!
A big kiss Tavi!

mila said...

I completely and totally agree with you on the model/fashion issue. And, GO CONAN!!!!!! I do NOT particularly like Jay Leno, no sireee, ugh.

MEME-STYLENEWBIE.BLOGSPOT.COM

Emily said...

Her article is so vexatious -- it's way too general. Sure, most models are superskinny, most editorials are photoshopped, and most editors wear crazy high heels on a daily basis (I remember the one time the Paris Vogue team wore flats -- Chanel, of course -- and people on TFS went nuts). The thing is, Tavi, you can change this. Your blog's influence extends far beyond its size. You can rally up your readers and do something about it. It'll take a lot of work, (fashion is a stubborn thing) but it will undoubtedly be worth it.

xx

Arushi Khosla (FabBlab) said...

Amen, sister.
I posted about it myself day before yesterday:
http://fabblab.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-i-hate-people-who-ostracize-fashion.html

I completely agree with you.

Arushi Khosla (FabBlab) said...

Another thing I noticed in her archives is that she's declared a war of sorts on beautiful people. Bitter, can we say?

Alissia said...

Have u really blue hair ?

xoxo

The Mussy Head Guild said...

I try to convince my parents so often that fashion and my obsession with fashion isn't something so shallow quite often. They think that fashion designers don't do anything important for the world, but some are artists. It's a shame that people don't realize the creativity fashion designers have and use in their designs.

KD said...

"What Tanya Gold and many others, including myself, hate is the everyone-has-to-look-the-same-and-also-sexy philosophy, which is NOT fashion" YES YES AND YES.

Kim said...

You and I think alike on fashion. The definition of fashion is not "wear clothes that everyone else is wearing." It (should) be more about just wearing what you like, instead of what people are constantly telling you to wear. And if she (Tanya Gold) hates the clothes from stores SO MUCH she can sew her own damn clothes however she likes. I tend to wear things I like (or even sew things I like), but sometimes those things are not super flattering or even something anyone else would think to wear. Some days, I wear clothes I know look horrible on me. But that is the point of my outfit that day, and some people just don't get it because they think that EVERYONE should want to wear the same clothes, and I hate that. Nobody can think for themselves anymore.

Isabel said...

For me, the worst part of the article was when she likened it to a "Jewish mother on crack". WOW, OFFENSIVE! Fashion doesn't tell you what to do, you have personal autonomy! And Tanya Gold chose to listen to whatever she assumed fashion was whispering in her ear. That is not "fashion's" problem, its hers.

thefashioninformer said...

I just read the article that's got you so incensed and I have to agree, Gold's argument is totally nonsensical (and more than a tad overly dramatic). Blaming fashion for her self-loathing and inability to not be swayed by a trend-driven marketing message is like an anorexic or bulimic blaming their eating disorder on food. The real villain, of course, lies within.

Tavi said...

Laura Audrey Brown-Ah you're right! Thanks! I just forgot because I always skip over that section haha.

FND-Sometimes she's bitter, but she's critical too, and usually offers insight that other writers don't.

Cora-The teenagerdom bit is so true. All the teenagers I know that are interested in fashion DON'T fit in at school, and if you read interviews with some designers and editors, they didn't, either.

Catherine-LOL when you were saying TG I thought you meant me as those are my initials..I was so confused haha. But yeah, she's still conforming to a group of people that all look alike, they just look alike in a way that's different from how Topshop mannequins look alike.

Mellow-Truthfully I do think her article was rather bitter. It was like, some people had bad experiences with fashion so she hates it. You can do that with anything. I don't think it's fair to say she probably can't appreciate art, like you said. Oh, and what you said about how people that only read magazines about celebs being bound to hate fashion is SO TRUE. I mean, you can't look at a magazine that claims to be about fashion but really just talks about orgasms. And you can't watch a TV show like Ugly Betty and decide that all the women in fashion are bitchy and all the men are skeezy (unless they're gay, in which case, THEY ALWAYS WEAR PINK BUTTON DOWNS AND WANT TO BE YOUR BFF AND GO SHOE SHOPPING. AND THAT GOES FOR ALL GAY MEN. ugh.)

Thanks for all the book recommendations!

Autumn said...

Even being nude is a form of fashion Fashion is everywhere, you can't escape it.

There is a quote from the Queen of England (I think it was Elizabeth II, though not sure) about how one dresses is a direct insight into one's mind. I wish I had the exact saying but I can't seem to find it.

Fashion is not limited to the billion dollar industry, but to an individuals mind. This Tanya Gold should be more specific with her opinions.

Kathy Gillespie said...

What a wonderful response...you exemplify what we should all aspire to be... 100% original..what is more fashionable than that? Your insight always amazes me...and I am old enough to be your Grandmother!

Crystal said...

I'm reminded of this great quote from Lyle Lodwick (It's more about style than fashion, but still...):

"Covering your naked body is a social standard that happens to exist. One of the ways people cope with adhering to this standard is by making it fun or colorful or soft or sexy and sleek. Altering your attire can take something that is the norm and make it a form of personal expression."

It seems to me that Ms. Gold chooses to make something more sinister and evil out of it. It's a shame and a terrible loss for her.

Lucinda Veen said...

For the most part, I agree with your criticism of Gold's article. Few people seem aware that fashion can be an effective medium of self-expression. (By the way, did you see the Rodarte article in last week's New Yorker?)

However, a glance through any history of costume will reveal that women's fashion has always been about looking beautiful, if not sexy--beautiful by the standards of the day. Bustles, hoopskirts, stays, two-foot-high hair--these allowed women to conform to some very odd aesthetic demands. And while an issue of i-D may not be crammed with diet tips, it DOES use models whose skinny figures are every bit as unsettling as the "lose 10 pounds in 10 days!" bullshit of Glamour or Cosmo.

Personal/street fashion (as in the Sartorialist) may not be about beauty. Comme des Garcons, Rodarte, and Tavi may not be about beauty. But fashion itself will always partake of its era's ideals of beauty. Which isn't, in itself, a bad thing--we all like to look nice when we leave the house. But we can't deny that fashion and beauty are the best of frenemies, for better or worse.

Lovely blue hair, by the way!

danniekate said...

it's like meryl streep's rant in the devil wears prada about how even people who claim they don't care about fashion, and make choices to avoid it, are still being impacted by it. i think it's true of anything that there will always be people or sections of society who do suffer from it, or who make other people feel bad because of it. but ultimately i doubt any designer sets out to make their clients simply look thin. you'd never accuse an artist of that, would you?

www.coutureandcrumpets.blogspot.com

Caleb Poling said...

Incredible insight and great points.

Tara Diane said...

Great post, loved reading it :). I definitely agree about anti-fashion people being more close-minded and silly than fashion people. When I see someone wearing something "crazy" on the street or on the runway, I am intrigued. Even if it isn't necessarily my style, at least it is a breath of fresh air compared to every girl at my school that wears uggs with leggings, nike shorts, a northface jacket, and a coach pouch (see: http://hphotos-snc1.fbcdn.net/hs240.snc1/8724_163358084369_500319369_2900722_7158263_n.jpg ). So... yeah.

Catherine said...

Oops! Sorry Tavi, of course I meant TG as Tanya Gold. Didn't think that one through...

Horse729/Wren said...

I thoroughly agree, Tavi. I read "The Washington Post" and it's runway reviews because it puts revelance into a world of irrevelance. I'm also Catholic, and we are supposed to believe in the good of all people and not judge people. At all. But most Americans do. And I doubt people such as Tanya Gold look at someone like them and say, "She seems nice." They don't. They say, "Fat ass" or "Get some decent clothes" or some variation of that. And those Tanya Golds of the world who say fat is okay--well, it isn't. It is unhealthy as is anorexia, bulimia, or orthorexia. But that has nothing to do with fashion whatsoever.

Segui la moda said...

Thank you for sharing this article. I've been reading you in silence, never commenting. But this time I have to.

I read Tanya's article and after a few lines I was petrified, angry and also a little sad. Most peolpe don't really see the point in fashion, and I do agree with Anna Wintour when she says it's "because they are intimidated by it". It's really because they don't understand it.
However, I totally agree with you when you say fashion is not all about being sexy. I believe being fashionable is also having a good sense of style, reflecting your own personality with the clothes you are wearing.
Tanya says "All that weekend job money and childish angst and still I looked like me." Well done, that's what good shopping is all about, still looking like you. Wearing what you like, and still being you.

Again, thank you for sharing the article, and also, for your input about it.

My best!!!

Have a nice weekend,

Betsy.-

Sonia said...

I'm posting a proper comment now cos my other one was posted after drinking something I reeeealy shouldn't have :)

I don't think people have to seperate "everyday" and "high fashion"
you can choose to combine them, or you can choose to wear what everyone else does, or you can do some other things, or you can go nude. Which is not the best option, but if u hated fashion then that's what you should do. Not complain, or hate, or destroy or whatever. But fashion isn't a big fluffy, frivolous Marchesa frock, it's a super wealthy business, an art, and a way of life too


Btw. how's the hair??
Cos someone told me that dying your hair a bright colour is really high-maintenance and stuff. Pfft I'm tired

Ralu said...

I've recently dicovered your blog and it's kinda sorta addicting to me.

I think it's sad when people view fashion the way Tanya Gold does. If you're increddibly naive, narrowminded and shallow, then yes, I suppose you're gonna think that fashion is some form of tyrrany imposed upon you by a bunch of evil plastic surgeons and photo retouchers. I could just go on about this for the next five hours but I'm going to stop here :)

P.S. Your new hair color rocks!

Ralu

fashionforwriters said...

You are so so smart and perceptive! I agree wholeheartedly with your critique of people who dislike fashion because they find it 'weird' or 'strange,' this type of mystifying, this sort of purposeful distance because something is unfamiliar to you is purely reactive and conservative--as reactionary as disliking a work of art, or experimental fiction because you find it strange and weird.

I appreciated reading your post so much and your wonderfully articulate response!

More long posts!
love, Jenny

Claire said...

I agree with you completely. I sometimes can see Gold's side of it all, but you mentioned that too. There is a lot of frivolity and excess in the industry, sometimes to the point that I question why I love it so much. But then I sit down and go through an old collection by pretty much any of the designers you mentioned below and remember why. Intelligence manifests itself in so many different ways in the industry, and I think critics just choose to ignore that. Anyway, long rambling comment just to say I agree. One word on your runway critcs--I agree with all the names you mentioned except Robin Givhan. Her runway critique itself is ok, but her week-to-week commentary strikes me as downright petty. Perhaps that's just since she's stuck covering fashion here in DC though. Sorry if that last bit was unnecessary but that's just my two cents.

chloe said...

That was a very interesting article, thanks for posting it & your response was enjoyable. p.s. I miss Conannnn!!!! :(

In other news, I read your blog right before going to bed last night and doing so resulted in a dream that you & I were shopping at the Mall of America. You had blue hair, it was pretty awesome.

Emily said...

Thanks for posting this Tavi. I was much like you at your age - really into fashion and just soaking it all up and then I felt like it wasn't "serious" enough and focused all my energies on more "intellectual" studies. It's taken me years to finally realize that not all fashion is frivolous marketeering and loud, obnoxious megalomaniacs and that there might be a place for me! Anyway, needless to say, I agree with you.

Kim said...

Even if you are preaching to the choir, I still think it's an important issue to write about.

In my own personal life I have witnessed many beatings against the world of fashion from friends and peers who think it to be vapid and destructive (folks who would otherwise consider themselves to be mature, open-minded intellectuals. Um, right). Sometimes, even if we're all already on the same page, it's nice to just be reminded that it's okay to read fashion blogs, and love fashion.

In a world that has supposedly come such a long way in giving a women CHOICE in what they do with their lives and how they look, it's amazing that we still have to have these kinds of conversations, isn't it?

Faith said...

Great post. I love fashion, but find it really hard when so many designers seem to have the attitude that fat people don't exist, or that we're lazy and sloppy because we're fat, and therefore do not deserve to wear the great clothes they design for slender people, or that since we are at we obviously have no taste, and they create absolutely ghastly clothes for us. I was so excited to read about your collaboration with Rodarte and Target, and so frustrated to see that there was nothing for people larger than a "XL Junior."

I do manage to have fun nonetheless with fashion, thanks to an occasional thrift store find, thanks to Ross and occasionally TJMaxx. Reading your blog has helped me rediscover how much fun it is to plan outfits and put things together in ways that a lot of people wouldn't, and wear it with a sense of fun and joie de vivre. Thank you from a fat woman who actually does have a sense of style, who does enjoy fashion, and who would love to see more clothes available in a variety of sizes worn by real people.

Sam Whoever said...

Great post:) I think the main problem with Gold's article is that she means something different under the word "fashion", then you or even I do. For her it's the synonym of comformity, for us it's sometimes the antonym..."And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself."/Pirandello/ - or something like that anyways.

Jacqueline said...

Great discussion!

kristyfruition said...

This is why I think nyc is one of the most fashionable cities in the world, but also not.

kristyfruition said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire said...

I agree with you somewhat.. fashion is about perception and the ways we view it. But I don't agree with you on the idea that we can change our perception. The view of people in a lot of areas of fashion IS distorted. And that can affect a lot of people. It's hard to block something out once you see it. Fashion is an art form though, and that is definite, but I don't completely disagree with Tanya Gold. I think she was talking about mainstream fashion in her article. I also don't believe that her article was "pointless" because everybody has a right to express their opinion. But you have an opinion too, and I enjoyed reading this blog. Thanks Tavi!

Claire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T. said...

Tanya Gold's article depressed me, yours kinda fixed that, so thank you!
I agree that fashion doesn't mean you have to look like the beautiful girls at school or some supposed ideal (and if you don't you fail and fashion is not for you). I have always rather seen it as a possibility to make up for the physical faults nature gave you by a good sense of style. And as a way of self-expression (whatever that exactly means). I might want to quote you with "the everyone-has-to-look-the-same-and-also-sexy philosophy is NOT fashion" on my blog. If that's okay?

the Citizen Rosebud said...

Well put and well written. I agree with you that personal attacks on the author are meaningless and not-acceptable. I question the WHY of the Guardian's choice to publish the essay about hating fashion, why bother? We can agree it is a hot-button issue. Personally, I love style and fashion's part of that. I love the act of costume. And apparently, whiz kid, I LOVE your blog.

Anke said...

Tavi, this was so well-written. It should be published in the newspaper, too!

Tanya Gold did seem quite bitter (about fashion... and yogurt). It's easy to blame something else for your own misery, in her case - fashion.
But ultimately, it was her decision to spend her time in shops, spend her money on clothes she didn't really want or need, instead of something worthwhile. Why was she 'at a loss for anything to do'? That seems to be or have been her real problem. It seems that she expected for too long that fashion would fix her life, and surprise, surprise - it didn't. I wish she would take some responsibility for her own mistakes. It's easy to blame "fashion".

Kat said...

no! this post is not pointless in my opinion :) You express a very good point, and I'm sure it is what alot of other people were thinking whilst readings Gold's article, people should be writing posts like this more often rather than the repetitive ones like Gold's I am so sicking of hearing about.
Although alot of people share your thoughts, very few have the ability to express them as well as you do (eg, me :L)

If you had time to read this comment, thankyou XD haha visit my blog if you like :) http://fashionpeach17.blogspot.com

firefly said...

Sometimes, it's okay to like frivolous things. Not everyone can save the world, and most people who say "fashion is a waste of time" can't either. In the end, it is a matter of what you like. If you think fashion is here for a reason, you can argue like Aristotle for it(hopefully not the world is flat thing). But if you don't like fashion, I'm sure you can still think of a million arguments. It's something each person thinks is different.

Thanks for the discussion Tavi-This was a really great post.

sabandija voladora said...

fuck being sexy or trying to look like everyone else... fuck plastic surgery and photochopin', and fuck feeling bad either ur fat or a mini model
fuck being ashamed of liking fashion and fuck the idea that it is shallow

ur great, and smart

friedenmann said...

Way to go, couldn't agree more:)

There are two things defined as fashion - one is general dressing trend in some time and place, other is conscious dressing choice of a person - extending who you are to what you wear.

It's not true that we are all slaves to what majority wears, on the contrary - we should pick what we want to wear to set and expand the trends.

Having said that I'm really disappointed with the industry that mostly manufactures clothing for models (and by that I don't mean human models, but plastic ones). Clothes are for humans, not otherwise, bastards! I can't really help how tall I grow and some stupid dress is not a reason to cut up my butt and boobs to fit the standard, right?

As for hardly wearable designer art fashion - it's like any other art. Not everyone will like everything;)

Leah Susanna said...

I will preface this comment by saying that I do truly love your blog. I also truly love fashion, and I have since I was about your age and I discovered Bjork and Nirvana and dying my hair with koolaid. Clearly I am more aligned with the creative and adventuresome and do not love fashion in the "OMG VERA WANG WEDDING DRESS MANALO BLAHNIK BOTOX" way.

That said, you should know that it is probably a lot easier for a young, thin, white, pretty-faced, privileged girl to unabashedly love fashion than it is for someone who maybe doesn't have those things stacked in their favour. You love fashion, but it also loves you back. It isn't always so kind to the rest of us. You can open up any magazine you want (from Vogue to I-D) and see someone who looks vaguely like you staring back from the pages. The same is not true for the people of colour, the fat, the gender variant, the disabled etc. etc. etc. EXCEPT in the cases where that magazine uses you as a token of inclusion or exotic/weirdness. I have seen indication that these things are starting to change, but I can't see myself being totally sold that these changes are permanent for some time. Hopefully you can understand that these things wear on you after awhile and can effect how you feel about fashion as an industry.

Anyway, you are awesome, your blog is great and never give up. But at the same time consider your privilege when you post things like this.

sweetmilkky said...

each outfit should be with artistic expression. they're not just clothes, they should be performance art... and that should be a good-enough less-vapid counter argument for anybody.

rose said...

You are like a rainbow colored popsicle of awesome. I really appreciate your insights on this issue, and, after reading Ms. Gold's article, I appreciate hers, too. My ardently feminist and overwhelmingly insecure best friend used to criticize me for following fashion...after trying countless times to explain that what I was following was art, creativity, and intellectualism, not what Cosmo told me I should wear to get a man, I finally just said "Look, do you hate how I dress? Do you think its demeaning to my personhood?" Her reply? "Um, no..." I think I rolled my eyes at that point. The moral? People need to stop putting everything in little boxes and labeling them with the sharpie of their own bias.

Hanna said...

dear tavi,
i haven't read your blog for a long time and this is my first comment
i read many "fashion" blogs but i don't usually write comments
i don't know why though
but i think your response to the article of tanya gold is very impressive and when i had finished i
couldn't get it of my mind
i agree with you that she didn't really discoverd fashion,
the fashion world is shallow (i don't know if that is the right word, i had to look it up)
i won't deny it
but for me it's more than clothes,
it's art, and i think that is it what tanya gold doesn't see
btw your blog is really unique to me
hanna
(sorry for the bad english, i hope you can understand it anyway, but i am from germany)

Gabby said...

Hear hear!
I am constantly having the argument with my friends who think it's silly that I like fashion that there is a distinct difference between liking fashion and appreciating personal style and liking shopping and buying into an identity. You made so many smart points that will come in hnady next time this discussion comes up. Thank you!

SLeming said...

Tavi...you are an intense human being.


You really have a grip on what fashion is/should be about.


I can certainly understand why people who are on the outside looking in could see only the bad things about the industry, but it's really not like that. they just don't understand. Fashion can be whatever you want it to be. That's kind of the point.

searchingforcouture said...

Reading your blog makes me feel as though there is hope for the future. I hope as you grow older you remain within the fashion industry.

Ollie Crafoord said...

I feel a lot of bitterness coming from her article. I don't really know her story but yes, becoming obsessed with fashion can be a bad thing.

But I mean, really obsessed - reading a fashion magazine and then deciding not to eat for days, seeing beautiful runway girls and wondering why you can't look like that and generally buying and buying but not paying attention to what suits >you<. But that's more about self image and personal issues than it is to do with fashion. I think she's had these issues; I have had them, too. But I sense she has lost a battle like loads of people do and has simply become bitter.

I see fashion as an art, a creative flow that you can wear and express your moods with. I used to see it differently but I've mostly gotten over that. I think a lot of people haven't found their way around the pretty girls and the perfect airbrushing yet. I hope they do.




Ollie
www.olliecrafoord.se

rose said...

That said, I do understand Ms. Gold's frustration with the mainstream fashion industry and its virulent tendency toward exploitive objectification. I think this is most apparent in its marketing to the younger demographic; most girls your age don't have the self knowlege and integrity to develop a sense of personal style, or a resistence to all the commercial crap that gets thrown in their faces every time they crack open a Vogue.

And I agree with Kalo; The modeling industry is hideously out of control manipulative and exploitive. If women in any other industry were being handled so callously, there would be a riot. Because its in the name of fashion, its ok? Blech.

Anyway, this is a book. I'm done now.

Ashley said...

You're right. I did come to your blog an already knew your key point - fashion can be anything you want it to be.

But I DIDN'T know anything about these runway reviewers! score! I'm going to go read them right now. =)
thanks!

J'aime said...

I think her article is very very biased! She hasn't even bothered to use a counter argument. I feel that this is just opinionated, and probably just something that she believes in, when there are people that go out to town, and shop and actually have a fun time buying clothes, trying them on, and analysing them on their 'ordinary bed'! I am just really quite angry at this article, but what she is saying doesn't concern everyone. Most people that I'm following on this darn thing 'LOVE FASHION', and that is fact, she is, as she said an 'outcast'. Now thats what I truly believe.

J'aime
www.tinominosquared.blogspot.com

tfgiok said...

go conan. my best friend's dad is the head writer.

MaxB said...

Love your writing style!

Fannah said...

Some things she says, indeed, are true. But the shallowness is becoming less and less (because of blogs, too, and 'everyday people' influencing designers to go cheaper and all) and not all supermodels are that skinny anymore.

Also, I couldn't quite help thinking of Miranda Priestly (hehe) and her lecture about that what Andy wears, is still fashion. Because all clothes started with a design once, a design that might have cost thousands of dollars to make the first time. And I, for one, am interested in fashion but not really in 6in heels either (partly because I'm already tall, but let's not mention that). I don't buy stuff because everybody buys them and I think neither do a lot of people who still look good and are 'into fashion'.

So I think she's right that fashion is everywhere, and it might be 'all up in your face' and stuff, but if you would one hundred percent ignore it you would be naked.

Stefz said...

Tavi, you are so amazing. I can really relate to you on this one. I'm also 14, and my friends tell me that they 'hate the fashion industry' and seem to think that I will become some sort of anorexic girl who is shallow and only cares about herself *eyeroll*
Anyways, back on subject, this is going to sound a little weird, but I was so personally ofended by that article. To put something as vast as fashion into a little box that is labelled 'be sexy!' is so narrow minded.
Fashion can be seen on so many levels, I would love to list them but I know for a fact I couldn't if I tried. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, there's no way around it. Okay, maybe, say, Herve Leger is obviously a brand revolving around looking sexy, but so many fashion designers and fashion followers are completely their own person, and just because someone follows fashion doesn't mean they should be steroetyped as as shallow.
I don't think this made any sense whatsoever, but in sumary, that article was basically just stereotyping anyone with an interest in fashion.

ashford said...

i had a very similar discussion with a guy at a bar (!) once. at the root of his disgust with fashion wasn't fashion at all, but the way PEOPLE, THE MASSES, all try to wear labels and don't realize the "marketing machines" behind their favorite BRANDS (not fashion).

You do a very good job at presenting VALID arguments and weeding out irrelevant (and illogical) attacks of character/arguments etc. I was a philosophy major (and TA for undergrads). Seems like something you would be good at and enjoy.

love love love

Siobhan said...

It felt less like an attack on fashion and more like an attack on the British Hight Street.

Topshop has got some good designer collaborations in at the moment, but most girls will but from Primark as it is cheaper and channels the trends set by Cheryl Cole and other people who are considered role models.

So at the moment the shops are stuffed with long cardigans and jeggings.

That , to me, bears little relation to fashion.

I have a really bad back at the grand old age of 26 so can no longer wear high heels. I love fashion though. I veer towards seventies style clothes or comfortable clothes (cashmere hoodies rock my world)but still love the design and art of it all, even if I don't often wear it, or experiment like I used to.

So I think she had some good points but the wrong target. Not fashion, the high street, OK magazine. Those are the things that give rise to the things she hates.

Or at least that is what I felt.

Kate said...

After reading Tanya Gold's article earlier today and your post now, I just HAD to write a comment.
Basically, I agree with your analysis.
However, I don't see Ms. Gold's ...hmm.. let's say ignorance about certain aspects of fashion (=the aspects celebrated in various independend fashion blogs)as her personal fault and therefore I wont blame her. The problem lies within society. The fashion world Ms. Gold hate is the fashion world as shown in mainstream media. Most people only know this fashion world.

I've been five years to fashion school and even there all they teached us was just the look-sexy-and-not-different-stuff. At that time, I started to hate fashion too.
Now, I'm slowly rediscovering the joys of fashion: dressing in an unique and fun way.

A thing we all should remember especially in this discussion: No one is free of prejudice. Keep that in mind before you laugh at Ms. Gold.

The Vouge... certain issues may be good, but definately not the ones I've picked up yet.

Yeah .. that was probably a bit confusing

by the way: your hair is awsome!

Logan said...

Well said Tavi. What bothered me about her article is she was basically contributing to the idea of fashion being only for skinny people. And that she, and other "fat" people, should just give up. A person's weight is irrelevant to their ability to express themselves. Right on to you for speaking out against it and reminding people, even if they already know deep down, that fashion is not about being sexy and pleasing boys (who cares what they think!) it's about having fun representing who you are as an individual and finding new and creative ways of looking how you feel...like dyeing your hair blue. Mine's silvery lavender right now!

Kathryn said...

How would Tanya define "fashion"? What exactly is she referring to? That isn't clear from the beginning of the article to the end.

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Tavi, great post.

You say "...it's Tanya Gold's fault for believing [fashion isn't for overweight people,]...". I don't know. I will stop believing that there is more than a grain of truth to that on the day that ANY DESIGNER THAT YOU HAVE EVER EXPRESSED ADMIRATION FOR puts AN AWESOMELY DRESSED OVERWEIGHT 40-YEAR-OLD on the runway or in a major print ad. That would be radical.

xoxo

ChubbyCheeks said...

"the problem with fashion isn't fashion, but how others decide to see it"

Genius.

iam.mai said...

tavi, you are such an amazing writer! awesome discussion.

please check out my jewelry line when you get a chance. i'm originally from honolulu, hawaii and currently living in NYC as a jewelry designer:

http://iammaiblog.blogspot.com/

Meg said...

Tavi,

Thank you for a thoughtful, and more importantly, respectful, response to Tanya Gold's article.

-Meg

Lilly said...

Tavi,
Snaps to you for your thoughts on this issue.
the thing that needs to be expressed is that fashion is not a problem when it is stylish, and for the sake of art. But when it is taken to the level of telling young women who are 5f6in and a size 0 that they are too fat, then there is a problem. But the problem is still not fashion. The problem is the idiots behind the fad-ish fashion who don't design for the sake of art, but for selling the myth that shop, be skinny, be sexy, and you are halfway to being perfect.
~Lillie

Faith Anne Cummings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Izzen said...

Great argument!

http://izzenxoxo.blogspot.com

Joshua said...

Excellent piece. In particular, I can't believe that people would say you're "wasting" your talents. What arrogance. I for one love this blog and your take on fashion is very entertaining and informative. :D

P.S. GO COCO, GO!

Unknown Girl.♥ said...

I read something about you in annabelle (it´s a swiss magazine).
i like your style it isn´t like others. i´m sorry for my bad english.

Secretista said...

Very nice post. Her article was interesting but I don't agree with her views, obviously. I don't think fashion can be blamed for whatever she's angry about.

On another note, I for one do not think I am a close-minded person. But am I close-minded because I am one of those people that just don't get certain fashions? Or do I just have a different taste?

Winnie said...

Fantastically written and totally agree with your points! Tanya Gold has caused quite a stir with her anti-fashion article!

Julie said...

You can be totally fat and totally fashionable. She doesn't get it. She also doesn't understand that Fashion and Sexiness are mutually exclusive of one another.

Lavender_Blush said...

I totally agree with you. Fashion, to me, is being yourself and being confident in it (thus, the sexiness...Confidence is sexiness, why do so many people not understand that?) and it can also be an art form. (thus, crazy, fun, runway outfits, etc.)

Doreen said...

Tanya's article is definitely completely pointless--she has written such a vague portrayal of fashion that it's disturbing. If she were to actually scrutinize the fashion industry for what it is, she would have taken into account all the brilliant designers who have poured their emotions into their creations, as you've said. The people who are passionate about developing their own style through clothes. Some may argue that fashion is an art form, and that is certainly true--fashion depends less about individual handbags and more on how you wear it.

Tanya is right about fashion being shallow and a little inconsiderate, but for me, I think there's a difference between personal style and topical clothes. She seems to have developed some kind of style/identity for herself by shunning the "Be sexy!" outfits, and for that, I am happy for her.

But, really, the whole "fashionable high heels killed that 16-year old girl" angle is utterly ridiculous. Of course, if she wore more sensible shoes, she might've been saved, but shouldn't Tanya take into account the snow and the dark night?

peppermint746 said...

Tanya's article is definitely completely pointless--she has written such a vague portrayal of fashion that it's disturbing. If she were to actually scrutinize the fashion industry for what it is, she would have taken into account all the brilliant designers who have poured their emotions into their creations, as you've said. The people who are passionate about developing their own style through clothes. Some may argue that fashion is an art form, and that is certainly true--fashion depends less about individual handbags and more on how you wear it.

Tanya is right about fashion being shallow and a little inconsiderate, but for me, I think there's a difference between personal style and topical clothes. She seems to have developed some kind of style/identity for herself by shunning the "Be sexy!" outfits, and for that, I am happy for her.

But, really, the whole "fashionable high heels killed that 16-year old girl" angle is utterly ridiculous. Of course, if she wore more sensible shoes, she might've been saved, but shouldn't Tanya take into account the snow and the dark night?

kathrynnova said...

when fashion is viewed as art, it doesn't hurt. when one views it in a playful and creative nature, it doesn't cause insecurity. when it is used externally, with internal enjoyment - and not as a void-filler - it's all positive.

What makes me sad is that with all of the pleasures that can be derived from fashion, so many people get it all mixed up. So, I'm not saying Tanya is wrong... just that i don't totally understand her point of view....

Yeah, I'm just saying what your article just said. Well, anyway, uh, I agree!!

Faith Anne Cummings said...

Tanya Gold's real issue is with the rampant notions of consumerism in our society. She mentions shopping around Harvey Nichols looking for a dress just because she felt like she should. Huh? Why are you shopping if you don't need anything? I've always loved fashion. It is my first choice for self expression. In one fellow swoop I can communicate my mood, ideas relevant to the times, and what concepts I'm interested in lately. And that's just by getting ready each morning. I don't wear heels, don't wear make-up, don't look want to look sexy or younger than I am, and I still like the way I look. In all her anti-fashion hullabaloo, Tanya Gold has missed the point.

Valentina said...

She's using fashion as a scapegoat. I think what she actually hates is patriarchy, rigid gender roles and systemic sexism. I think she's confused.

nathaniel said...

Rock on, Tavi. Rock on.

unisaur said...

Gold seems to hate a capitalistic society that externalizes happiness (i.e. you will be happy if you buy this object) rather than fashion.
Does the fashion industry profit off our insecurity? To some extent, yes. But the fact that some individuals in an industry make an immoral profit is not a sufficient reason to hate the objects of that industry. She likes food, doesn't she?

Caroline Amelia said...

Good points and creatve dressing is definately the way forward x

Caroline Amelia said...

Good points and creative dressing is definately the way forward x

Faith Anne Cummings said...

Lavender Blush summarized the issues with Tanya's article really well. Fashion is how you should be expressing your personal point of view, not a mold where you express someone else's point of view on sexiness or whatever. In fact, many of the most noted designers in the industry work to break these stereotypes all the time, such as when Commes De Garcon did her "Lumps" collection. She is one of the most respected designers in the industry. But I don't think it's fair to brush the article off as irrelevant. It's almost as bad as saying fashion is irrelevant. Anything that causes this much discussion is not irrelevant. It is food for thought, even if you disagree. This is an important discussion to be had, and we would not be having it if not for the article.

tess_atkinson said...

this article was such a let down for The Guardian. bad sentence structure and bad subject research. i agree with you on your points

Becky said...

Conan's speech and this post really cheered me up today; go team tavi and team coco!

Annabelle said...

I doubt anybody will even bother taking a glance at this comment, but whatever:

Fashion has absorbed everyone. Whether you're you, Tavi, who I guess finds it fascinating. Or if you criticize fashion and do the opposite. Or if you're like me, who sometimes struggles with image. Or if you're like Lillian, who doesn't care about fashion and wears comfy clothes.

Either way, you love fashion, you hate fashion, you obsess about fashion. It's a product of consumerism. It's a product of capitalism. It's ingrained in the American way of life.

And the whole "sexy clothes" thing- okay, it's okay to buy something flattering. That's how it is, because being chill, looking cute, putting yourself out there is what makes you "cool" today. Because that's how women are- it's a product of patriarchy, and who knows when we can smooth those flaws out. Even that analogy- what's wrong with flaws? Again, brainwashed.

Anyway, influenced by capitalism, patriarchy, the theme of the "outsider," and consumerism. Oy ve.

Xenia said...

i already knew most of what i read in this post (as you suspected); but you said what i was thinking with the ease and innocence that only a hopeful person who wants the best for everyone could.

i love your writing because its honest, eloquent, simple, and conveys opinions with love. i love it because you so clearly understand why the outward mode of expression that is clothing can be liberating if you lose the fear.

you are such a bright girl and i'm happy to read your words, tavi.

zoomslow said...

Ms. Gold's negative response to fashion basically involves her confirmation of one fashion stereotype after another.

Unfortunately, with the confirmation of each stereotype, Ms. Gold effectively closes another door on the possibility of her own fun, unique, and creative interaction with fashion.

With 7 words, Tavi, you hit the nail right on the head:

"...it's Tanya Gold's fault for believing it..."

Lucia said...

Fashion is art. You don't have to like it, but respect it. And the word "fashion" is so general, it is completely unfair to lump it into one category.

xeroxahippo said...

Great blog entry! I completely agree. Fashion doesn't have to be about vanity, it should be about creativity and artistic vision. My friends and I often discuss the difference between "dressing for guys" and "dressing for girls" and clearly the notion of "fashion is sexy" falls under the category of dressing for guys (and sometimes girls). I hope that made sense. Maybe I'll re-phrase. people don't like the idea of dressing sexy because they might be using their idea of "fashion" to snag a mate. in that case. what they are referring to is not fashion at all! Please excuse my excessive use of quotations.

Christina said...

RIGHT ON, TAVIIIII!!!! Man, I totally feel you! I love fashion--well, I like to call it (personal or experimental) style, but try to avoid getting trapped by the fashion industry!
You know, it's all about maintaining a careful and delicate balance. Not just with fashion industry vs. the true essence of fashion. With life. We need to be strong, yet tender; smart yet humble; open-minded yet focused on what's important/ our values.

Jemesii said...

I've been a quite lurker on your blog for about a year now but this post made me want to speak up. I have utter and complete admiration for you as you can discuss fashion in a way that is far more articulate and well reasoned than most people my age... and I'm 25.

So ya, big ups on being so young yet so awesome and amazing.. and the hair? insanely gorgeous.

also.. your love of Edward Gorey? fantabulous. I know a woman who had tea at his house.. and he made her a fabric bat (the cool squeaky animal bat)

Hannah said...

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

Hannah said...

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

http://ticklesmepurple.blogspot.com/

Rachel&Dakota said...

Fashion is what you make of it. People just wear what they think looks good, and I really don't see anything wrong with that. What is wrong is when people just dress to fit in. That's not fashionable, because fashion is also about standing out. It's about showing people what you're like before they even meet you. Fashion is about impressions, and should be about being yourself. But really, it's not like designers think, 'I'm gonna make this collection really unnatractive' because people like to look good, and even though what 'looks good' is different from person to person, what the designer thinks looks good will probably please more people than what he thinks is unnatractive. The fashion industry is an industry, after all. There is a part of it that's about making money, besides making art, etc. There's also that range in practicallity. Seriously, I would love to buy all this thought provoking artsy fartsy runway stuff, and I do look at that type of thing and go, "Wow, that's awesome!", but sometimes it's just not practical. What I personally use as the ultimate look-in-closet-and-pull-out-an-outfit goal would be- something creative, practical, attractive (I mean, come on. Putting it bluntly, no-one in their right mind wants to look ugly), and shows off personality. Fashion should make you happy. Ok. I think I'm done ranting. Did that make sense?

Rachel&Dakota said...

Ps- I hope you don't mind me mentioning your blog or reffering to it on my (actually our, but this is Rachel of Rachel and Dakota)blog.

It's http://cupkakesmakeyouphat.blogspot.com/

Rozie said...

Thank you for the mindblowingly intelligent, fantasticly mature post. Keep your voice out there!

{Anna} said...

I loved the rant and I'm not sure what magazines she's reading. Whenever I get my teen vogue subscription there are always stories on people who are starting charities, speaking up about important topics, and doing other things to make the world suck less. I don't believe she was fully informed before she attacked "fashion".

THH said...

Tavi you are wonderful!

rileeeeey said...

i think tanya gold's article didnt really show the positives of fashion - the fact one designer can bring so much meaning into a skirt, or a dress, and everyone is able to view it, wear it, admire, whatever.

i dont think i have ever seen a magazine that says 'wear really really high heels on icy nights and run really close to the train line - LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS!' so using the example of that poor girl to write an entire article on is quite pointless, really.

i get that there are negatives in the fashion world. the whole weight drama has been going on for ever. yes, its serious, and yes, people are getting emotionally hurt by it, but its just an image. people need to get that they can have their own interpretations of what a picture is trying to tell them. some see ridiculously skinny women as beauty, and others see it as a crime to the world they live in. i think it just makes it so much more fascinating.

fantastic discussion!

x

riley-fashionchild.blogspot.com

Kristen said...

I like art. I don't understand people who don't. And like is different than appreciate.

Home of Pie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Home of Pie said...

Your insight is a breath of fresh air, my dear. I don't like wearing what is "in," but I am quickly finding that I do indeed have my own fashion. Fashion is supposed to be an art, not a mindless following. So kudos to you for this rant, it needed to be said. Moral of the story is, when art is concerned it is always an expression of the individual and when we lose that idea (such as wearing 6 inch heels just to look "hot") then we lose art, and we become fools. Nobody likes a fool.

Abbie Rose said...

I hate to be just another member in the redundant parade of those who agree with you (no offense to those who do, but I'm sure you're getting a lot of comments saying you're right)...but you're right.
And I wholly respect your loyalty to fashion because, I suspect it's for it's rich diversity and for it being a means of creativity. So, more power to you. And more power to Tanya Gold for having an opinion on the subject. There are naysayers for everything. We all have passions, but as you pointed out, some folks are passionate about cynicism. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful response to her article.

ali rae ford said...

Hi. I think Ms. Gold didn't see the Cult of Fashion Experts the way we see it. But in anyways, fashion will always be there forever, to separate the fashion vanguards from the fashion innocents.

I love your blog. Please visit mine too: hausofali.blogspot.com

Thanks. <3

WendyB said...

Your post is great. The worst thing about Gold's piece is that it isn't even mildly amusing. If I were Gold, I guess would now extrapolate and say "All writing is bad because I personally had a lousy experience with one writer."

Allie From Tomorrow said...

I mean... if she's a communist that's cool. Aren't they issued some kind of Peasant Wear a la Marc Jacobs? Or am I just thinking of The Sound of Music?

Also, I read the details of that girl's death. She was chasing a moving train, tapping on the windows in an icy area. Girlfriend could have been wearing CROCS (Satan's Slippers) and fallen.

Hadelicious said...

Her article was extremely general and out of focus. She confused style with fashion and made it seem like us fashion-lovers were mindless. anorexic bimbos who seeked fashion as a form of escapage from our miserable lives. I'm not skinny, nor am I tall and to me fashion is a form of art not a cult. Honestly, if you "don't get it" or find it utterly "useless" then make sure you have a point behind your discussion. I think I might just blog about this now!

Tayler said...

Hey Tavi! Loved your take on the article. If you want, come check out my take on it at my blog (www.tayler-rememberthisname.blogspot.com).

lucy in the sky said...

what annoys me about fashion is the designer element - charging through the roof for something that isn't even fairtrade. It might be beautiful, it might be ugly, but i don't think that people should pay $300 for a scarf without a fair amount of it going to people who make it for next to nothing!

Kionon said...

My issue with Ms. Gold's piece is that she fails to appreciate fashion outside of the mainstream. She doesn't even take into account Men's fashion.

Her ire should be directed at the advertising and marketing industries.Fashion did exist, does exist, and will exist, without the ad agencies, the 50 pound models, or the eccentric make up.

Fashion is how one chooses to take a necessity, like clothing, and use it as a means for self-expression. If the catwalks, the models, the cameras, and the industry disappeared tomorrow, fashion would remain.

Daniel Reeves said...

"the problem with fashion isn't fashion, but how others decide to see it."

fabulous sentence.

Ягода Карина said...

Heeeeeeyyyyy!!!! Im from RUSSIA!
I like u!!!

Sleekit said...

Who cares what another chick, dick says, if it's your thing, then it's your thing and no body else should matter

Your blog is inspired, but I don't need to tell you that

Sleekit x

theclosetmonster said...

i think that people are getting confused with the real meaning of fashion. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, like art or music. Hey, look at Picasso! His works are genius but no one lifts a finger on it becuase after some explaination, they get it. So its quite the same for fashion, you just need a little time to understand it.

Yours Truly, x said...

I think you analysed that article so articulately. My own opinions would ramble on for ages, but I think you summed it up as well as anyone could. At the end of the day it's a very personal choice, and I don't think anyone should regard anyones else's personal choices as 'imbecile'.

Oh - and loving the blue..that was the one colour I never went (orange, red, candyfloss, yellow....) ....but damn it Tavi you're tempting me back to the bottle! x

Lucia said...

I love your blog, you always give me good ideas !!! so.... thank you, thank you and thank you!!!!!!!
I invite you to visit this website www.mintmelon.com It´s a special spanish fashion brand, I think you'll like it, they send all around the world. It´ll be a great experience for you.

ben said...

tavi, you are a real tonic, i think you hit the nail on the head here. much appreciation more generally for your fabulous blog.

Julia said...

I hate it when people write off fashion as something frivolous. Sure, it is that sometimes, but it can be so different! I had to give a presentation at school, and yes, it was about fashion. But it was also about history and how the time and ideas of that time reflected into the clothes. I don't think that's frivolous at all, but my teachers immediately wrote it off as superficial. I think it's narrow-minded to think of fashion that way, just because some aspects of fashion are frivolous. Sometimes, you have to look a little further.

Kirses said...

Well said. I do think Tanya Gold is often just trying to provoke debate, she can't really be that narrow minded surely...

Gladys said...

Tavi, this was so well-written. Thank you for posting this.
I wonder why do people still give her a job to write all of this. She hasn't learned a thing about fashion but she still can claim that she does. Those anti-fashion people are just being more silly than fashion people. When she said "I wore what i was supposed to wear" That irritated me cause when people ask me why i wear what i wear, that definitely won't be my answer. I wear what i wear cause i love it, it's my style, it makes me comfortable and shows who i really am, it makes me, me.
Is your hair really blue? :P

FASHIONCANCER

esté said...

You have an interesting mind. I'm a wannabe artist and for me, fashion has always been about looking "universally" good. I now understand that it's an art too, and can be expressed as any other art. Keep up the great posts!

Raquel said...

I got nausea when reading gold's article. loved your answer to it.
x

KDK said...

Tavi,

I fully agree with your points. I probably would have considered myself anti-fashion just a few years ago, but I just didn't realize the absolute depth of the industry. Fashion blogging, in particular, is really amazingly cool to me .. especially when it ends up influencing the larger "machine" that Tanya Gold seems to be railing against.

I do agree with her that some fashion houses and some magazines and a lot of bad attitudes do reinforce the cultural understanding of sexy-and-same, which is hardly possible for all of us .. nor should it be.

I could ramble on and on, but bottom line: thanks for a thoughtful post.

Oblivious Fashion //CONTACT ME// obliviousfashion@hotmail.com said...

i strongly disagree with tayna gold. but hey. everyone is titled to their opinion. 8]

Mallory said...

Very nice :)

mário araujo said...

love thw 2 point of views, tanya calls fashion what she get in top shop, that is sexy clothes for girls get guys, you calls fashion something more complete... tanya might think that wasn't chanel probably still using hard clothes, without moviment or trousers...

models are now a big issue, just finished the fashion week in brazil and the only thnik that everubody is talkin is on the size of the models... they are too thin, more than they need to be...

anna wintour is going to hold a discution on it just before nyc fashion week... they need to be health, nobody can buy, see or picture just bones - girls see lara, abbey, raquel, anna, isabeli, anja etc... they are pretty, are the best and are health...

the russian from prada are not a model to be follow!!!

fashion is a big game and all games need to be fall - look to sonia rykiel and follow the idea - this lady knows what is fashion about.

xoxo - www.spotmag.blogspot.com

No Fashion Lover said...

You really do express your points very well yet it's still amusing to read.
Like I said on the Susie post: people gotta control fashion and not the other way round. Once people let fashion control them, don't blame fashion for the stupidity that probably landed them in a hurtful situation.

No Fashion Lover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria and Sarah said...

Ok I totally disagree with her I <3 fashion !!!!!!

ushi said...

In some point, Ms. Gold maybe referring to those women who forgo to take care of themeselves. Particularly those women who made themeselves a basket of abundance, those who are lost in their styles and figures ( which is totally rampant nowadays).

Mimi said...

tavi--
i have a pair of blue suade boots that dont fit me anymore!
they need a home! ill post a pic once i get my new camera! ill post it on my blog: www.racecarspeltbackwards.blogspot.com
it is undergoing some renovations but will b ready soon.

--mimi (real name sophie)
PS: i love your blog! dont worry, im not a stalker :)

Lenine said...

Makes you think- in a good way :)

Lenine said...

Makes you think- in a good way :)

Jennifer said...

Fun. It's fun to read your viewpoints.

Good piece.

JD said...

Hey Tavi-

Don't want to mimic the comments here too much and discuss all the many levels with which I agree with you, but yes, totally hear you.

I think an interesting follow up discussion would be one about how to engage people like Tanya Gold in fashion, and how the fashion community could do a better job of reaching out. I don't mean making things in bigger sizes or not using skinny models, I mean something bigger, like how the fashion community can convey the idea that fashion is fun, and a means of self expression, and personal choice about aesthetics, and not just a herd-mentality mindset about being sexy to boys. I think there's lots of women like Tanya who feel really disenfranchised and left out of the fashion discussion because they think its all about consumerism, and it would be nice to change that. You could argue that this is their (women like Tanya's) fault because they're not open minded and designers can't choose how people think and interpret their work, but I find that answer unsatisfying.

Alisa said...

"Go Girl!" This post was really well put. People with Tanya Gold's point of view frustrate me, but hopefully some of those people will find this post and open their minds.

Nora Southall said...

Its so sad that Gold detests something beautiful so much. High school is rough on everybody, I think she should give fashion a second chance!!

Bella Wilkes said...

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
Mark Twain

Ayn Holden Rockwell said...

I agree. This woman sadly is too closed minded to see that she is apart of fashion and that fashion is'nt all about comericaliam.
I have a friend that would agree to everything about what ms.gold wrote. But what they dont see when they say that something on the runway is unrealistic or "who would wear that" is that thats the point sometimes. Fashion is art, its a fantasy. Those avante-guarde looks are supposed to be unattainable thats what makes them so fun. Everyone went through that awkward " i must look like everyone phase." and let me tell you thank god i am out of it. Wear whatever you want!!!!! No matter your budget. If you have that real Rodarte Frock rock it, if all you can afford is the Target version go for it. Fashion is extreemly sunjective to each individual that is apart of it's movement, and if you wear clothes you have to appreciate the differences we all have in eachother and learn from them.

P.S: Rodarte for target is heaven.
And sorry for the spelling mistakes. :)

Erina said...

What a smart post, Tavi! Tanya Gold's narrow view on fashion is often the type of response I get when I tell people I went to school for Linguistics and I'm pursuing a career in the fashion industry. I hope your post and others' responses to her article help to enlighten people a little bit. It's frustrating that so many people think fashion is so cut-and-dry.

xx - Erina

Guro said...

You are very clever, Tavi.
xoxoxoxo

Style Virgin said...

I absolutely loved this post, we need more people like you tavi!

I understand what tanya was saying, but just because her opinion
Of fashion is this world of fake beauty and commercialism
Doesn't mean she can judge this ever changing world of fashion, it may
Not be some peoples thing but I'm sure if tanya tried she could find something
She loved, and I was dissapointed by this article, fashion isn't just clothing and
Keeping in with trends, for me (and I'm sure others) its a way to express the way you feel, your
Individuality, passion for being you.

And I think that people shouldnt think to much into what she's saying, she should let people experience
Fashion themselfs, then people have the right to judge the world of fashion.


www.style-virgin.blogspot.com

Esther Beadle said...

Fabulous post. Intelligent, balanced and just plain correct!

OliviaJoy said...

I hate these people that think fashion is just about "anorexic children" and designer clothes that don't make you beautiful. It is a medium of art just like drawing or painting. I am in love with fashion, not just because of all the shoes and the designers and what-not, but because, as an art minded individual, I would like to express my talents of manipulating fabric or photography. It is a way to express myself just as anything else and you do not have to look attractive. Not all paintings and drawings or even sculptures are appealing or "pretty" to look at, so is a lot of fashion that you seem to not know about. So do your research before criticizing.

Buffy Leigh said...

Well said. And Conan is right.

Dani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chan said...

I agree with your views and I really loved your argument. You should be on a debate team if your not already. Anyway I have always believed that fashion is a form of self expression, not conformity. In no way does one have to look "sexy" to be "fashionable" (although now thinking about it what makes something fashionable?) Anyway, thanks for standing up and giving a really intelligent and breathtaking speech.

boldstar said...

Tavi:

Fashion is like a bridge, ie London bridge, golden gate, Tsing ma, Brooklyn or harbour bridge (in my australia). Diferrent BUT they are bridges nonetheless. Some are Carinne fabulosity, Anna's sharp Bob and some are camp as a bird of paradise on a mating ritual.

We use a pushbike, a car a bus or a train to cross it. If you do not want to cross it you can swim or catcha ferry to the other side but you donot have to use the bridge.

You can take photos and or in fact people have dined on bridges and so there are many uses. Its not always for getting across to the other side.

The problem with bridges is that people sometimes use it when they are mentally and emotionally unstable teetering on the POGO sticks of life.

If they fell off it ie by jumping or falling caused by the wind of ones determination people think its the bridge's fault. They never for one's thought that the person never learned to swim or forgot to take their Chanel Cocoon for buoyancy.

They really never thought that it's JUST a BRIDGE for heavens sake. And that's just fashion. Its just there, it is sometimes Queer, it is often not straight and it is everywhere. some peeps should and MUST Get over it and get on with it.

Next time Tanya will blame MONEY for being a poor.

nasrina neepa said...

I agree with everything you've just said there!
Great post!
Of course fashion isn't about looking sexy all the time. I don't think everyone let loose on the catwalk is made to look sexy either and i think fashion is just someones expression of style and each individual creates their own fashion and style.
Anyone can be fashionable...even if it is an overweight person. The mags may not support this but i think real women have much more sense than some of the things published and i think Tanya Gold should know that if anyone.
This is a well written argument! Keep up the good work. (:

The Fabulous Gloria Blackwell said...

Ms. Gold seems to be taking out her insecurities about her own appearance out on fashion and all who love it. I used to be that way...I was so uncomfortable in my own skin and the way I looked, I barked at all those who seemed to have it together in the wardrobe department. "Shallow!" "Self absorbed!" Hardly. What Ms. Gold does not seem to understand is that fashion and intellectualism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it seems like very intelligent, well-read people are masters at fashion (you being one of them, Miss Tavi!). Because someone likes fashion and gets excited by seeing pretty things in a store is not a brain-dead moron as she suggests. Perhaps we are more in touch with how we want to express ourselves to the world. Maybe we want to be art personified. Maybe going into our closets and finding new combinations of clothing gets us HOT! Sounds like creative fire to me.

Ms. Gold needs a psychologist and maybe a personal style consultant to come in and help her work through her obvious issues with her appearance.

I'm a bit insulted by her article. I am not model skinny and I am intelligent enough to know that I don't need to be. I don't spend all my money on clothes to the detriment of everything else in my life. I am an independent professional woman and if she wants to throw down with me (someone who loves fashion), I say BRING IT!

Finolala said...

The issue with these kind of critics is that they don't understand. Fashion isn't telling everyone to dress the same, it's telling everyone to dress well, in an innovative manner that flatters and makes them feel good about themselves. If you look at the shows no 2 look the same, yet they are all covered in the press and often the 2 biggest and most successful shows of the season can look entirely different in every way. How can they then argue it's a sheep mentality?
P.S I just returned from a trip to Italy with the new Italian Vogue, I hope you've seen it, it is BEAUTIFUL.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 412   Newer› Newest»