A lot of people always think I’m a fashion girl— abreast of all the latest trends, nodding in agreement when a “new” look is declared to have “returned,” constantly side-eyeing those who have the audacity and ignorance to wear Cèline when clearly we are over Cèline and it is now all about independent London-based designers and their instinctively frayed denim. Plus, I work for an international fashion title. That fact can’t hurt.
But I’m not a fashion girl. My knowledge on trends has always edged very close to zero, even when I first began working for L’Officiel Manila. I could write more for our lifestyle section than our fashion pages—and it’s pretty evident on LOfficielManila.com, which I’m Online Editor of, that I have a stronger hold on the former. Because the very real truth is, I don’t care. I don’t care if something is “next season,” or “of the moment,” or “straight off the runway.” There are people who I do; I’m just not one of them. I mean, they’re clothes.
Which brings me to another very real truth: I’m a shopping girl. I learned about Vetements because pieces slowly started making their way onto SSENSE, and I loved their much-too-long sleeves with cuffs past the fingertips because that’s exactly how I liked wearing my shirts. I know what designers’ signature elements are because they’re the ones that are figured most strongly on a product page. I can spot a Rachel Comey Legion pant versus her Brunswick one in real life because I’ve read the product descriptions again and again trying to figure out which one would suit me best. Whatever knowledge I have gained and accumulated of fashion is, really, from a consumerist approach. Which I suppose is why I still get as much pleasure from a silk Marni coat dress I got at 70% off on Totokaelo as the panda socks I picked up from a bazaar three years ago. (In fact, I’m wearing them both right now, as I write this.)
And why not? Fashion is not art, no matter how many collaborations are forged in the visceral depths of Fondazione Prada. From where I stand, fashion is a business. A multimillion dollar one, as is oft repeated, that everyone on some level participates in. If we’re speaking on terms of supply and demand, the economies of fashion are explosive.
That includes, of course, fashion magazines. No matter how beautiful it is, a magazine is generated by both creative desire and ad revenue. I see retail websites as an extremist form of a fashion magazine—a higher level of curation without the subtlety. Magazines will always have the advantage of narration and the power of inspiration, but they will also always tell you something is luxurious and beautiful and in season. With retail websites, it will already be luxurious and beautiful and in season, so you’ll have to do the thinking for yourself.
I feel that people always forget that despite what the editors and elite say, fashion is a democracy—there are just people who are more well-informed. Whenever people tell me they can’t write fashion or they don’t know anything about it, I always wonder how, then, did they get dressed this morning?
And: how the hell did I land this job?