Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Hello. It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. The last time I published anything on my old blog was in February 2019. I stopped blogging and took that site offline for several reasons. I had started that blog in 2011 when I was 13. As you can imagine, the earlier posts were more than a little embarrassing and it wasn’t how I wanted to represent myself to the world as I started writing more professionally.
Then the coronavirus pandemic happened and the publications I had been writing for froze or cut their commissioning budgets. Like many other freelancers, much of the work I had lined up was put on hold indefinitely. I felt stuck.
The space I used to keep in my life for blogging – a space which initially filled the void left by minimal social life, no one irl to talk to in-depth about fashion, and few other opportunities to write – has opened up again in lockdown. I feel like a teenager again.
I plan to write about art, culture, and the realities of freelancing. This includes fashion, books, films, mental health, blogging, journalism, and creativity. And, when we can travel again, I will write about moving to Paris on my own. This might turn into an email newsletter instead of or as well as a blog. I might edit and reshare some posts from my old blog. I might share some of the posts from this blog on Medium too. I haven't got it all figured out yet but every post I have planned so far has started either in the notes app on my phone or from a weird Wikipedia dive.
On my old blog, I mostly wrote about fashion. Like so many industries renegotiating their existence in these strange times, the fashion industry is in flux. The pandemic has created questions about digital fashion shows, reframed our understanding of sustainability, and spelled uncertainty for young designers. These are all big questions that I don’t feel qualified to answer right now. This Dazed article is a useful resource for anyone who wants an overview of everything that has happened in fashion since the coronavirus outbreak.
This is also a truly revolutionary and exciting time for fashion, and culture at large because the industry's gatekeepers are finally being called out for perpetuating discrimination and white supremacy both inside their offices and in the work they put out into to the world. White creatives at every level of the industry are waking up to the realities of racism and about time. I want to believe this moment will create lasting and meaningful change but brands going a few days without posting white models but not sharing swipe-up links or donating large amounts to funds and petitions feels eye-rollingly tokenistic. I might write about some of this here but basically...
This will not be a fashion blog.
Firstly, most contemporary fashion media that started in the form of the humble personal fashion blog has turned into other forms of content creation just as plagued by autocracy and discrimination as bigger publishing companies, if not worse – personally, I'm so glad the era of the 'girl boss' is ending. I will probably write about fashion elsewhere, so you can see my portfolio here for fashion-related stuff. I recently took the word ‘fashion’ out of all my social media bios, not because it no longer interests me, but because it’s not really the main topic I write about anymore. When you work as a freelance writer, your ideas are your income, so you use any idea with a good angle that you know enough to write about. Whether it fits neatly into what you thought you'd be writing about hardly comes into consideration. If there are weeks where I’m not thinking or talking about fashion, then I’m going to write about what I am thinking and talking about instead.
I was speaking to a fashion student recently who said they felt unmotivated because fashion is necessary only when our primary needs are satisfied. When people around the world are losing their lives to a deadly virus and putting themselves on the frontline in the fight against racism, fashion, which can be frivolous at best and hyper-exclusive and prejudiced at worst, does not feel like a top priority, save for the designers who have pivoted to making masks and scrubs.
When everyone started working from home it was easy to have an existential crisis along the lines of ‘If I’m not a ‘key worker’ then what is my purpose? Does what I do even matter?’ I definitely felt this, especially when I started losing more and more work and everything kept on going without me. The whole idea that our worth is our work is gross because ew, capitalism but for creatives, our identity is deeply tied into what we do. It goes without saying though that consuming creative work – music, series, films, novels, articles – has kept us all sane(ish) in lockdown, and is a vital part of anti-racism education.
Another reason why I decided to start blogging again was that I was losing the ability to write anything that didn’t follow a strict format. I studied fashion journalism, and that helped me reach the point where I could make money from my writing, but there were also moments when I felt restricted. I was always thinking in terms of angles and sources and house styles. I stopped writing personal essays, on anything, because it felt too self-absorbed. I worried that no one would read them. That they wouldn't be 'good.' That what I had to say wasn’t important. I was forgetting the joy I found simply in the act of writing. Writing without worrying about bylines and invoices. Writing to feel like flying.
I have missed blogging a lot and I’m so glad I’m finally writing like this again. I hope to start posting regularly and if you’ve read this far, I hope you stick around to see where this goes!
Here are two pieces I have written recently:
I spoke to staff and students from fashion schools in Italy about how they dealt with the pandemic: https://1granary.com/designers-3/schools/fashion-schools-in-lockdown-italy/
In response to JK Rowling's transphobia, I wrote about why it's more important than ever to include trans men and non-binary people when we talk about periods: https://www.vogue.co.uk/news/article/trans-non-binary-periods
And here are two pieces I have read recently that I would recommend:
This Teen Vogue must-read looks at the role white women play in upholding white supremacy: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/women-white-supremacy-history-america
I loved this wonderfully tender piece in praise of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing and 'Fight the Power': https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/why-do-the-right-thing-and-fight-the-power-are-eternal/
That’s all for now. Have a lovely week.