pants +bra top: Free Label, bag: thrifted, shoes: 6+ years old, Tencel top: Fox + Wit (4ish years ago), earrings: Etsy
Over the past couple of years, my style has shifted and morphed again. Three years ago my SAHM uniform was strong, but I still had media events, meetings, coffee meet ups, photoshoots, and life that I showed up for in my “going out clothes”. Now, everything has changed. I’m home a good chunk of the time. I’ve adapted my wardrobe to be even more comfortable and flexible for an at home outfit, but still cute when out in the world. I’ve been hyper focused on slow fashion, thrifting, and sourcing clothing secondhand, that I’ve fallen off the fashion trend wagon. I no longer know who is currently designing for what fashion house. I don’t know what collection brought what trends to the upcoming season. And, if I’m being honest, I kinda don’t care. You see, I’ve devoted a big portion of my life to an industry, that hasn’t always wanted me in it. For some context, let’s deep dive into the Coles notes of my personal history and experience in the fashion industry. (Now would be a good time to grab a coffee or tea.)
- 1990: I get my start modelling at the age of 10. I began modelling for a local agency in Regina, SK. I did newspaper fashion features and mall fashion shows mainly.
- 1996: I go to New York for a big, international modelling convention and competition. I do ok, have some agency interest, but still have my grade 12 year of high school to complete.
- 1997: I go back to New York for the same convention/competition and do very well and win many awards. I have interest from several agencies, but they all want me to loose weight and inches (I’m 17 years old and about a size 6).
- 1997-1998: I exercise about 2 hours a day, I’m eating less than 1000 calories a day, I’m loosing weight and inches. Parents take me to see a nutritional specialist and talks some sense into me an helps me find more balance with my strict routine. I get down to 110 lbs, but my hips are 36″ and the agency wanting to sign me overseas, asks me to loose 1 more inch. I politely decline and say fu** this to the whole thing.
- 1998-1999: I take a break from modelling completely. (A whole bunch of self discovery goes on during this time, including moving away from home for 6 months to try something new.)
- 1999: I get back into modelling. While doing a local show, a hairstylist in the crowd sees me, comes backstage after the show and asks me if I’d be interested in getting into hair modelling. I say yes! (She also signed me with no expectation of loosing weight. She liked me as is! Win!)
- 1999-2001: I model and travel while going to school and working part time jobs. I travel with my modelling to Toronto, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, France, and Germany. I’m traveling at least once per month at this time.
- 2001: I move to Vancouver to go to fashion school. I get a diploma in Fashion Merchandising/Marketing.
- 2002: I get a job, managing a local boutique in Vancouver. I work with this shop for 9 years and move my way to General Manager and Assistant Buyer. During this time I do a bit of local modelling on and off.
- 2010: I start my blog, then called Prairie Girl in the City. I write about fashion and style.
- 2019-2013: I work as a fashion stylist and style writer for local magazines. I am in a couple of businesses with partners in the same space. I continue with my blogging.
- 2013: Have my first baby and after taking time off to be a Mom, I jump back into my work (from home) and blogging while full time momming.
- 2013-2016: I continue with the same freelance work + my social media work and t-shirt shop.
- 2016: I have my Twins! All bets are off. Haha! I’m fully momming now.
- 2018: Local brand Free Label reaches out to me and asks me to model for them. I jump at the chance, as I have slowly been moving into sustainable and ethical fashion.
- 2018-2020: I model for many local brands and am getting quite busy modelling, I continue with my blog and social media channels.
- 2020: The world comes to a stop and so does my modelling.
- 2020-2022: I continue to work online as a blogger + social media influencer in the slow fashion space.
photo credit: Londre Bodywear
Good grief! If you’re still with me, thank you. I have a point to make, I promise. It felt necessary to showcase the extent of which I have been involved in the fashion industry. 30+ years of fashion shows, photoshoots, travel, styling, writing, and working in an industry, that honestly, really hasn’t always wanted me in it. When I was in my 20’s I was in the know about all the designers and fashion houses. I knew who was designing for who, I followed each collection drop, I watched fashion shows, and I picked up on influences in mainstream fashion that had trickled down from the luxury brands. This is what it meant to be as fashion person. You knew your stuff. I had a job interview at a shop on Robson St. (Vancouver) for a clothing shop, where I was put through my paces with fashion questions. He wanted to make sure I actually “knew fashion” and grilled me. I had the answers, but ultimately I turned down the job as his intensity to discredit me was too much and a big red flag. Unfortunately, this was a real vibe for people working in fashion. You either know it all and worship the institution that is fashion, or you don’t belong. (Think The Devil Wears Prada)
I was fortunate to find a place to work that didn’t have this kind of pretentious vibe. I found a place that helped me learn and grow in the industry. I am so grateful for that. Today, I don’t keep up with the luxury brands. I don’t follow the fashion shows or designers. I have respect for the artistry that comes from fashion, for the history of fashion and how it shapes culture, and for those who create the art, however, I don’t covet it like I used to . I used to crave luxury. I couldn’t afford it, but I wanted it. I wanted someone to gush over a designer bag I was carrying or lust after an impossibly beautiful frock that fit me perfectly. Clearly the marketing worked. I wanted in! I wanted to belong with the fashion elite!
So, let’s fast forward to where I am at today. If you’re here, you probably know that my current passion is moving away from fast fashion (and that luxury fashion desire) and into slow fashion. Fashion that has been created ethically and is sustainable. Fashion that has taken the planet into consideration and paid and treated the people who made it, well.
Every once and a while I find myself allowing those old, familiar thoughts trickle in. I had convinced myself at the beginning of the year, that perhaps saving up for a secondhand luxury, designer bag, would be worth my time and investment. I’ve been sitting with the question, “Why?”. Why do I want one? I don’t have any particular bag in mind. I mean, I feel like I have always wanted a classic Chanel crossbody bag, but the secondhand ones are still well over $1000. And then what? I have the bag. Does it fulfill a desire? Does it leave me in a place where I simply move on desiring something else? There’s nothing wrong with owning or purchasing a designer bag, but I do think we need to ask ourselves why we want things. Do we want it because we like it? Or is it because it’s popular and highly coveted? Or maybe even for status?
So, back to that original question…Am I still a fashion lover? The answer is, yes. And, no. I am not a fan of the institution that is fashion. The industry that markets to the masses by making you desire things in order to fit in. The industry that is harmful to people and the planet and creates billionaires. The industry that overproduces, burns and discards unsold merchandise, and underpays their garment workers. An industry that had me dieting from the young age of 16 and told me at 18 years old and being under 120 lbs, that I still wasn’t thin enough. I AM a lover of style, and of individual expression of oneself through the clothes they wear. I’m a lover of natural textiles, of vintage gems, and creating a unique style all your own. I’m a fan of those who go against the grain and show up in their version of fashion.
Fashion doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a beautiful thing. It can give us glimpse into the past, in can have ceremonial and cultural significance, and it can be art. There is so much that needs to be done to make the fashion industry sustainable and ethical. One small thing we can do as individuals, is to simply slow down. Shop less. Access your wardrobe. Style the things you already own in new ways. Repair items. Launder items. Tailor items. Find new homes for pieces that no longer fit you or serve you and your lifestyle. Keep all the pieces that fit you well and make you happy when you put them on (even if you haven’t worn them for a little while). The most sustainable wardrobe is the one you already own. Make the most of it. Honor the fashion items you have hanging in your closet. Care for them and wear them over and over again. Let’s make this the new definition of fashion lover.