One Year of One Who Dresses
One year ago, after many years of unhurried marination, and at least a year of hurried hesitation, I started One Who Dresses with a post on whether we dress to stand out or to fit in. Since then, I have worked to slowly unfurl my relationship with fashion in the pages of this digital book. As I envisioned it, the basic premise of what I wanted to create was a place to explore why we dress. I was, and remain, wholly unsatisfied with the conception of fashion as a purely commercial construct. I knew the reasons that I cared so much about getting dressed were complex and important, and I desired to better understand them. I wanted to get beyond an interpretation of sustainable fashion that had only to do with fibers and factories. I wanted to connect sustainability to style, to isolate the pathways through which the allure of consumption operates, to expose true style as the only answer to all of the struggles I've had with fashion.
As I reflect on the body of work that's emerged over the course of this year, it feels, to me, like a leisurely, sun-drenched drive through the fashion equivalent of the South of France. There are moments of connection and inspiration, moments of appreciating beauty, understanding history, considering the future, of thinking deeply, of taking in the sun, of being in fashion's South of France. Of being. Some of my favorite stops along the way have been: Is getting dressed an art form? What can we learn about style from jazz? Did appearance matter in the life of Maria Callas? Can intelligent women care about fashion? I've loved considering our speed and the psychology of our desire and our judgement of other women and the utility of beauty from an evolutionary perspective and the value of wholeheartedly embracing our contradictions. I've cherished the personalities I've met on the road, from an Italian grandmother's views on style and life, to a Senegalese artist's careful thoughts on the meaning of our objects, to Picasso's love of stripes. These may seem like meanderings but where they connect is in us—they are points on the same journey.
It occurs to me frequently that who I am in relation to this website is somewhat elusive. I bear to you, essentially, pieces of my soul, and I reveal to you some of my deepest struggles. Still, I share perhaps less about myself than is customary in this era of mass transparency in which we live. I'm constantly navigating that, but you should know this. First, I love you. Not just for coming here and reading my words and spending your time and sharing your thoughts, but because if anything motivates me, it's the idea of building a tool for spreading love: self-love, love for others, love for art, love for our world, and love for our things. Second, starting this endeavor hasn't been easy for me, to say the least. I have really, deeply, struggled to believe in the validity of my voice. If you've perceived that I'm holding back, it's because I am still flexing that muscle and ever so slowly coming into my own. Third, part (but not all) of my elusiveness stems from my desire for this journey to be not about me, but about you. To be not I, but us. Sometimes I post passages or images without my commentary and that's a part of giving you the space you might need to connect to what exists here on your own terms. I am One Who Dresses, and so are you.
When I started One Who Dresses, I didn't know what it might become. I created this space because I needed this space: one to allow for an abundance of thoughtfulness, compassion, and creativity in the relationship we have with our clothes, and in the relationship we have with ourselves. I'm clearer now than I was a year ago, and I have a vision for what the next chapter holds, but looking ahead, I still don't know in many ways what this space can become, and I'm not in any particular rush to find an answer. For now, I'm grateful for this journey, and for your company on it.