When I was seventeen I showed up to school wearing a white t-shirt that let my entire high school know that they could go fuck themselves. I waited until second period ended to unzip my hoodie and march through the sacred popular kid corridor. With my markered up t-shirt staring everyone in the face it did what I could not–it shouted ‘Go fuck yourself’. Within twenty minutes the jig was up and the hall supervisor was fast on my heels. I ditched my version of anarchy into the trash and retreated to my hideaway-the library. It was a venial act to protect my insecurities but mostly, it was a way to burn bridges from those I thought were my friends.
I no longer follow the fashion tributaries, but instead poke my head in every once and a while to see which boundaries are depositional and which are eroding. It excites me to see global hypocrisies revealed in such creative ways. Take the complexity of religion; it creates wars, destroys lives, dictates norms and demonizes those who do not fit into the current prescriptions. It was no mistake when the Copenhagen fashion brand, Vetements chose a gothic American Cathedral to showcase their own version of anarchy. Driven by the Heartbreak of so many terrorist attacks, is it any coincidence that Vetements sounds just like vehemence? If only I could tell my seventeen-year-old self that it’s okay to rebel against the norms, question everything, and to not be happy all the time. It would have been exalting if someone saw in me a fighting spirit and shown me a better outlet than the one I ending up finding–a tatted up bad boy with a penchant for drugs and subverting innocence.
Today you can get away with wearing what ever the fuck you please. You gotta lot of money but you wanna look like a vagrant? Gather those ho, boy plaids lousy with grease. You got no money but you wanna look like you get paid to post on Instagram? Tie a ribbon around your throat and put tongue-in-cheek slogans on your chest. What I love about fashion isn’t about the brands or the exclusivity, it’s about its ability to make a statement or its ability to make a statement about not making a statement. Have you worn the t-shirt of your favourite band or artist? That’s making a statement. Do you refuse to buy clothing from retailers notorious for their use of sweated child labour? That is making a statement, albeit a quiet and powerful one. This is of course, what inspires so many fashion designers.
So the symbolism of the venue felt at least double-edged—charged with a contradictorily joyful kind of nihilism, a sense of a youthful life force on the move, which, for all its obscene T-shirt slogans, didn’t feel entirely sacrilegious. There but for the grace of God?
Some days, I feel this youthful life force in me and it’s the vigour behind getting out of bed. Other days I feel decrepit, confined and wish to hit an eternal snooze. There is no in-between.
Check out Vetements entire collection here.