Minnesota Fashion Week; a Pointy Chin Review
This lovely state of mine just celebrated Minnesota Fashion Week (yes that's a thing, stop rolling your eyes). The seven day celebration was packed with runway shows, pop-up shops, fashionistas, bold street looks, high fashion black-tie affairs, and everything in between. It cast no judgement on anyone or anything, and proudly celebrated our local artists and designers. If someone asked you "Who are you wearing?" they weren't asking about the brand, they actually wanted to know who made your clothes. What is their name? Are they at this event? Where is their studio? Do they do custom work? What is their Instagram handle? You know, the important things. Ethical and sustainable fashion was the theme of the week. Diversity throughout the week, whether it be the designers, models, or attendees, was vast. Fat people, thin people, brown people, black people, white people, men, women, cis, binary, non-binary, gender-fluid, they were actually represented. Cake Plus-Size Resale's Fat Festival Fashion event showed off some beautiful clothing on some even more beautiful women. Culture Piece magazine presented New Aged Noir, a fashion show where everyone involved, and I do mean everyone (designers, models, hair and makeup artists, and VIP entertainment) was a person of color. It was stunning, it was moving, and I am very lucky to have witnessed it.
Enough about everyone else, let's talk about me thank you very much. I am not a designer, I am not a model, I had nothing to do with Minnesota Fashion week whatsoever. I'm just a girl who owns far too many clothes and who is always looking for an excuse to wear them. I came, I saw, and I wore those freaking shoes. Yes, those shoes in the photo above. StreetstyleMN spotted me at Cliche's Crosswalk fashion show, Pep Rally, and I couldn't help but strut. I don't usually walk around with a pom,-pom, but who knows, I may start.
I met so many incredible people. I can't quite express what makes this community so special, and I don't think I'll figure it out by the end of this post so you'll just have to trust me on this, these people are the bees knees. I met legitimate friends. Seriously. People who I plan on getting drinks with later not out of obligation but because I really would love to spend more time with them. As an adult, I made new friends. That's a borderline miracle.
So, amid that positive and inclusive atmosphere, why in the world was I so triggered? I walked into an event wearing a silky plum jumpsuit that was, I'll say it, absolute perfection. I was feeling good, I was looking good, I had received compliment after compliment and I was ready for this thing. I walked in, and BAM, I found myself being nervous around food again. Hor dourves were served and they looked great and were included in my freaking ticket price, but I dared not eat them. There were a lot of women in that room who were thinner than I was, much thinner and I didn't want them to see me eat. As I talked about in my last post, for some idiotic reason weighed myself in the middle of the week. I was heavier than I wanted to be (what else is new) and sincerely considered canceling my plans that night because of it. Did those plans have a weight requisite? No they did not. Did I not have anyting to wear? No. I had a billion things to wear, some options were even too big for me because I have lost weight since acquiring them so I can't blame the clothes. I just didn't want people to see me like that. Like what, you ask? I'm not sure. It's hard to explain, but I did feel in that moment as though my new friends would see deep inside my soul and know that I had gained over one pound since last month, and that they would realize that I had nothing of value. I'm not a designer, I'm not a model, I'm just a girl with weird clothes. Who cares? And why do I still care about any of this? Will I be perpetually trapped in middle school? I found myself wishing that the models had all been rain thin, that the event hadn't been so diverse. That way, I'd be able to blame the fashion industry. But no, there was representation and I still hated my body.
This was two weeks ago, and I will say that my self-esteem has bounced back up a bit. Of course fashion shows were triggering. There were a lot of rail-thin people there. Not all thin people mind you, but many, and even one body that I value higher than my own is enough to send me down a dark and dangerous path. Those were the bodies that I used to stare at in my mom's old fashion magazines, the images I would obsess over until I didn't feel hungry anymore. It makes sense that those shapes would bring back some of those dangerous thoughts.
I am grateful for the experience of Minnesota Fashion Week. I felt welcomed and celebrated and encouraged and happy. I also felt fat and ashamed and anxious. And that's okay. People are complicated, life is complicated, not everything is clear. I'll keep writing about it though, we'll just have to see where that goes.