For years, fashion was my life. I spent hours looking at clothes, talking about clothes, writing about clothes. Fashion Week was always exciting, no matter where it was. I had a pile of fashion magazines as tall as myself, and I took so much pride in what I wore. When it came to applying for university, picking a course seemed straightforward for me. It was obvious.
After spending three months studying Fashion Journalism, I decided that enough was enough. I did not have the passion for fashion. I became bored looking at pictures of models in ridiculously expensive clothes, and even more bored of the monotonous writing I seemed to be churning out, if any at all. What difference could I possibly make to the world whilst writing about silk shirts and leather loafers? I had pigeonholed myself, and I wanted out.
Now, I am about to go into my second year as an English Literature and Creative Writing student. My course has opened my mind to so much more than the often shallow world of fashion ever could. It’s not just about books – it’s about life. I’ve learned so much about so many unexpected and important things, like the expression of gender, feminism, and Marxism, and I’ve learned how to use my voice powerfully in the right places. This is where I’m supposed to be.
So what does fashion mean to me now? Pretty much nothing. It’s funny how something that once consumed my life is now something I take very little interest in. I wear the same three pairs of shoes all the time, I live in my pyjamas unless I have to leave the house, and when I do leave the house, it’s in the comfiest clothes possible. Once upon a time I would have put so much time and effort into my outfit, choosing carefully from my overflowing wardrobe. Now, around two thirds of items from that wardrobe have found new homes in charity shops.
As fun as fashion was for me, my life is different now. I would much rather spend my time reading about an important historical event and using my voice to talk about real issues. That doesn’t mean dedicating your life to fashion is a bad thing, but it’s just not what I want for myself. Of course, I still love to dress up every now and then, but only if it’s comfortable – and you can forget the heels.
I feel as though in the year since I released myself from the icy grip of the fashion world, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve actually become more confident in myself, despite the often repeated casual outfits rather than the one-off flashy dresses and sparkling skirts. I’ve found a new love for a much broader spectrum of things, diving into every opportunity and embracing everything that I can. I feel like I closed myself off from life for so long, because I was so wrapped up in nothing else but the fashion industry.
Putting yourself into a box is one of the worst things you can do, and that’s exactly what I did. Broaden your horizons, and you’ll see that there’s more to life than just what’s under your nose.