Re-Start

It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog. One of the lessons I learned during the last two years is that writing about fashion requires a certain joie de vivre, a sense of appreciation for beauty and creativity. Sadly, most of that went missing for me in a Covid-19-related ‘brain fog’ that turned the world into a grey-on-grey canvass. It wasn’t Long Covid, fortunately. But as a fascinating article in the Guardian explained, the isolation, stasis, and ‘sameyness’ of day-to-day life under Covid and the limits it imposed on social interactions is enough to noticeably dull the mind. At the same time, the uncertainty and stress of life under Covid releases the hormone cortisol, which in turn lowers ‘a person’s attention, concentration and memory for their immediate environment’. 

What this means not least is that I missed some chanced to blog about the effect of the pandemic on fashion. There were some interesting contributions, such as Robin Givhan’s idea that ‘Masks are here to stay’ as a fashion accessory (fortunately, that did not happen) and Vanessa Friedman’s suggestion that fashion would come back with a vengeance after years of sartorial slack (this remains yet to be seen). And then there was the whole thing about ‘Covid fashion’, the ways in which we adapted sartorially to the regime of working from home and generally limiting our social interactions. Alas…

But the fog seems to be slowly lifting, and there have been invitations to peer review academic essays that touch on the politics of fashion, and the chance to contribute a chapter on Fashion for the next volume of Mark Salter’s Making Things International book series, and even the opportunity to give a keynote speech on Diplomacy and Fashion to a very competent and enthusiastic (and virtual) groups of scholars. And somewhere in the back of my mind is still the idea for a project on Political Acclamation and Fashion. 

And there is of course still a lot to blog about, from the annual fashion exhibition at the Met (two exhibitions this year, in fact), to innovative political dress code such as Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Fetterman’s hoodie and sweatpants and cargo shorts, to the fashioning of a war hero (Volodymyr Zelenskyy) to Vanessa Friedman’s influential NYT article on Linda Evangelista’s September British Vogue cover, and the role of fashion at the interstices between social norms and personal expression. 

I think I’ll (re-)start with a review of the Met’s two exhibitions on American Fashion. 

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