Friday, April 15, 2011

Silk, Skull printed leather, and bowl cut swinging fashionistas

I had the fortune and slightly dubious distinction of having visited the fabric stock market not once, but five times in the last week. By the fifth visit I was dangerously close to feeling lachrymose about ever looking at cotton fabric again. I was at the fabric market to source various fabrics and accessories for various projects, including fleece, polyester, cotton and faux leather. I came across some bizarre fabrics and prints, like skull printed leather [which I imagine would only come in handy if one were a Gothic cowboy? I would love to present a vegan friend with a bag made from this print. Chortle. Jokes! Please don’t facebook unfriend me]. This area in Hong Kong is called Sham Shui Po, and the stores heaving with fabric/ beads/ lace/ ribbon are punctuated with wonderfully typical dirty dai pai dongs [cheap open air restaurants], almost ironically there to offset the potential glamorous fashion vibe. I say potential as it really isn't that glamorous. Most of the hidden part of the fashion industry rarely is. Butchers and other shop keepers sell all sorts of wares as well, adding a very raw feel to the place. I like the analogy of someone selling meat alongside fabric, both items waiting to be glamorized and moulded by their respective experts into something more delectable in a restaurant/ branded shop somewhere.

I did take the time to snap some photos from the area during the twilight hours of the second visit as the sunset gleamed off the bowl cuts of the harem pant wearing fashionistas who were skulking around. Alas, their bitchy glares and “I will cut you” demeanour made me hesitate to take more street style shots of them. Needless to say, my blatant enthusiasm at being there was highly unfashionable amongst their glamorous scowls and stony faces. I swear one almost hissed at me as I walked past.

There truly is something almost mathematical in how the fashion set dress, a sort of unspoken uniform illustrated by below equation:

Black (harem pants + brogues + pointy shoulder slouchy tux jacket + bowl cut) - smile = Fashionista

Black is almost mandatory in fashion as apparently it allows one to disguise the labels one is wearing quite well so as not to upset any designer/ colleague/ boss who works above you lest you are one of those interns/ lower level employees who can for some reason afford expensive designer wear. I had a friend who used to work at Chanel that would describe the bitchy passive-aggressive side comments cast her way if she, god forbid, wore a bit of color to the office. “You’re looking very…..summery, today” they would sneer slowly with the icy veneer of any girl who works in fashion, their eyes slowly making their way up and down the offensively happy color. Why is joy so often un[high]fashionable? Can one only be respected in any creative profession if one is mired in misery? Anna Wintour, please explain. [Stylistas aren’t always that bitchy and morose, and how I aspire to be one of them. Not sure if my curly 'fro would be good as a bowl cut though].

Note the lady butcher above WEARING PVC LEGGINGS AND HEELS. I saw her cutting and preparing meat for a customer. What a fashion-forward butcher[ess?]