Fashion Section Introduction

Blog by Lindsay West | 26 Apr 2008

Bienvenue, wilkommen, and welcome, one and all, to The Skinny's brand new fashion section - four pages of meaty sartorial goodness for your delectation. Skinny Jeans has packed its matching luggage and defected from Heads Up, taking up permanent residence here in the heart of fashion country. So whilst we get settled in, perhaps we should take pause and synchronise our watches; to pin down our style coordinates, so that we're all moving in the same direction.

It's a funny old game, this. At its very best, fashion is fun, artistic, creative, ridiculous, inspiring, frivolous, and fabulous; but at its worst, and often most visibly, it can be cruel, unforgiving, flighty, impatient, and elitist. Think of the generic conventions adhered to by the casting departments responsible for the extras on Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada, and you'll have your approximation of the worst of the fashion industry. Rows and rows of the perfectly coiffured and the nauseatingly vanilla, who accessorize their too-chic ensembles with tuts, eye-rolls, and a manifest lack of vision. In an industry such as this, with its high propensity to hire mean girls and publicly ring unfortunate outfits in bright red circles, to linger on fashion don'ts would be way too easy. As a result, The Skinny Fashion section won't be telling you what not to wear, and the main reason for this is a philosophical one.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to band around a theory or two; and the theory underpinning this refusal to dwell on the don't comes by way of the high sultan of trash cinema: the great John Waters. Perusing the frankly blah fashion landscape of this year's Oscars red carpet, Waters (with an eye-roll of his own, you can be sure) told industry magazine WWD, "Stylists have ruined everything... Nobody wants to be Bjork. I love Bjork. We need Bjork." Welcome, my friends, to the realm of The Bjork Imperative.

We do indeed need Bjork to walk the red carpet engulfed in a fabric swan. We need Tilda Swinton to accept her Best Supporting Actress BAFTA in acres of restrictive chartreuse John Galliano duchess satin. We need them, because without them it's just layers and layers of nondescript Jessicas and Jennifers. Biel/Alba/Simpson and Aniston/Garner/Love-Hewitt, and their overpaid, overworked stylists, work the assembly line, looking gorgeous but grey, and being lauded for it in the popular press. The Bjork Imperative is so-called, because without the existence of the new, the experimental, and the extreme, the world is just one long colourless catwalk.

It's not about advocating crazy fashion choices 24/7, nor is it about denying the existence of a bad outfit. It's more about delaying that critical red pen, and acknowledging those who fight for our style freedom. Chloe Sevigny wears ankle socks with heels so you don't have to - but if you so choose, it'll be AOK to do so out there on the streets, thanks to her selfless tour of duty.

For all these reasons, in our monthly segment We Like Your Style, we will be devoting a little slice of our time to saluting those whose wardrobes make us think, smile, or doff our hats to their sartorial choices. It's not necessarily about the fabric they're draped in, nor the accessories they choose to sport. Rather, We Like Your Style will focus on the air, the vibe, and the cut of each fashion maverick's unconventional jib. If you were a band, you'd want to immerse yourself in as many different genres before finding your own way, so think of this simply as a resource for expanding your style influences. Nothing was ever accomplished in this world without someone taking a chance, so feel free to be brave, have fun, and thank Bjork a little every day for choosing that swan.