I recently came across an article in the Globe and Mail (Canadian Newspaper) about fashion and disordered eating. This piece is only one out of thousands written before, but I thought it might be interesting to discuss, in addition to many other things that have been on my mind. Sorry, I won't be ranting about anorexia in models, nor the "bad" messages magazines send to young girls. I think that these subjects have already been exhausted. This article merely sparked my interest to talk about things that are somewhat related, and about ad idem, almost one year later...
The fashion industry is enamored with certain ideals. No, I am not just talking about being 'thin'. Fashion is not just about skinnyness, and anyone who assumes this is painfully ignorant. This multi-faceted business is about more: it's about originality; beauty; and about being somewhat alien. Karl Lagerfeld doesn't care about reaching out to the average woman and Christian Lacroix certainly doesn't want his craft to be easily accessible - that's Walmart. Fashion, instead, is luxury, elitism, and an illusion.
Everyone has to wear clothes. Fact. Everyone can look nice when doing so. Fact.
Everyone can fully understand the subtle intricacies of dressing in a manner that incorporates both innate originality, as well as the ever changing tides of a multi-billion dollar industry.
People get offended when you say you're into fashion. I haven't quite figured out why this is yet. Do we think we're ultimately better than you? No. If you tell me that you're into playing tennis, and you've spent the past year practicing and learning about tennis - and I play against you, and lose..does this mean I should get mad at you? No.
To say that one is a "fashionista", if you will, it just expresses an interest and devotion that is comparable to anything else. It shouldn't be threatening. Girls from my town, or better, our town seem to take such offense to the idea of fashion. Many of them have come around in recent months, but in such a small town, a blog such as ad idem is...yes, I would say threatening. We come in and spout off all these things about fashion and dressing with style and trends, yada yada. Many still see us as the girls from the little high school down the road. In fact, to blog about fashion is not an assertion of style, so much as an effort to increase our own knowledge. We learn new things about this industry every day, and write about them when we do. Natalie and I would, honestly, be the last ones to claim that we are masters of this art-form.
When we say our town doesn't have style. We aren't lying, nor are we trying to be mean. There are many girls who dress nicely, many girls who dress well. This, however, does not equate with the ability to dress fashionably. We aren't saying you look terrible! Far from it. But, judging from the first reactions we received when ad idem began, it is fair to say that fashion is something really new to many here. As this changed, and we watched a few develop a taste for it, we didn't mock them, but admired them. When we say our town isn't fashionable, we are simply saying that on the list of things people care about here, fashion is not high up.
This blog has evolved. When it started out, a lot of it was concentrated on Natalie's and my personal life. Now it is utterly devoted to fashion (save this little blurb I suppose). We never hid our intentions. Natalie and I had one year (or better, four months) to live together before I head 4,000kms back east - ad idem was to document that year. Now that those months are over, ad idem is a vessel to channel our shared love and passion for fashion.
We expected some negativity. Like I said, our town is not used to statements such as ours. In the summer, with our ripped jeans, back-combed hair, fringe purses, big shoes, fingerless leather gloves, over accessorizing, and attention-grabbing lookbook shoots in the middle of a sleepy town - it's not surprising that we had such a reaction. Natalie and I still laugh about that little note on my moped.. but the idea that this would discourage us...
What we didn't expect.. the amazing reaction from others. Our beloved followers, and those that check in every day - Eighty countries all across the world (some we haven't ever heard of in our lives), over 20,000 hits, nearly 4,000 unique visitors from Canada alone, a plethora of positive comments, and most importantly - recognition for being good at what we love.
In June of this year, ad idem will be one year old.
And in August, I fly back to Montreal. I'm hoping next year to really develop the blog. This effort will include a MONTREAL STREET STYLE section, association with other local fashion blogs (local is relative considering it's Montreal), and maybe even tickets to a few fashion shows. We'll see!
Until then, we're going to continue to do what we do. Try not to be offended, and please remember that we've just fallen in love with something that is truly beyond us, and it happens to show.