Intimate tale behind Alt. Fashion

Alt. Fashion is an idea aimed at initiating some foundational shifts around fashion ...
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While growing up and being receptive for aesthetic, I learned early on that my sense of aesthetic is not appreciated ... The politest reaction to me was that people would like to be appreciated and if judge something related to them as aesthetically not beautiful, you will end up being lonely ...

It was not only my sense of aesthetic that was not appreciated, I found myself for nearly my entire life, nothing from my inside being appreciated … Perhaps, as a child, it was an automatic response to develop this fake identity and cover who I really I am, and it helped me to get along in life for a good while, following others' expectations from me, till I reached the point where I had to make decisions about matters of my life, and I can't, because the life, the person I was living, and even a portion of beliefs and understandings of the world that I have, were of no value to me, were not the thing that I would do, unless I was forced to.

Like many other ideas that I work on, the story behind Alt. Fashion's existence is also influenced by the experience of getting to know Jennette McCurdy ... and having lived a life where all years long I had no value for myself, knowing Jennette McCurdy was the first moment in my life I could relate to myself.

And of course living eighteen, nineteen years under such circumstances, and a moment of getting to know a stranger because of her work, while never having any contact with each other, is not an overnight cure for the destroyed sense of existence and identity ...

There are a lot of decisions in my life that I never engaged in, last but not least like the decision about what to wear. Whereas when aesthetic is important for you, perhaps you would naturally care about your appearance. I'm not talking about our inborn physical qualities that are not easy to change, if ever, but what you wear is actually what you have a good degree of control over, of course, it won't be easy to wear something you can't afford, or is not offered on the market, but you have some degree of influence over what you wear.

Beside twice when wearing something made me be subjected to negative remarks by others, and I decided to have the criteria to never wear such stuff, the rest of times, I wore what my parents bought.

By the time I was older than 15 and my parents really expected me to be "grown-up", which meant I should choose myself about what I wear, and which didn't mean I can voice my opinion or they would want to know how I feel about their decisions their impact on my life either ... Anyway, it was a hard time, perhaps more for them than it was for me, because I was the child who learned my existence and identity have no value and to me being presented with the demand to purchase what I want to wear, was not possible. How could a person with a destroyed sense of existence and identity really fulfill the expectations about "what I want". Back then I couldn't communicate all these, because the idea of having a sense of identity and existence was so foreign to me that it took about a decade and lots of destroyed friendships and possible loves and lots of destroyed career opportunities, till I am first aware of what caused all these problems, or better said what caused all these inabilities to navigate my life ...

PoshMob, A Jennette McCurdy idea

My name is Jennette, and I wanted to start this website because I have a newfound love of fashion. I have always respected and loved great pieces of well-made clothes, but I grew up in a household of busy parents and brothers who were more into video games than clothing, so fashion was not necessarily a priority.

Jennette McCurdy; her introductory post on her Tumbler, "Posh Mob"

To me, for whom Jennette McCurdy was that brilliant individual who wasn't so far away to be impossible to resonate with myself, these words served a great deal of easing my internal conflict about my internal inclination to aesthetic while my families disregarding what is valuable to me.

To me, this was a single instance, and about seven or six years ago, when I first read these words, it really didn't cross my mind that almost all the things that are of value to me, are of no value in the kind of life I was living, that fashion is not a singular undiscovered interest of mine in childhood.

Me & Fashion while growing up

Now, if I were to retell that past, it is sounds impossible that fashion could have remained an undiscovered interest of mine, while my mother was the person who would mostly spend time with me between the two of my parents and my two years younger sister, while not being a fashion-addict, was, as an average woman would, interested in fashion.

But none of the instances where my mother or sister would express their interest in fashion in one form or the other, ever evoked my interest in the aesthetics of what one wears, and the reasoning is fairly simple, when you know it:

I was internally deprived of a sense of existence and identity, and in this condition, you can never make a meaningful connection between the outside world and your inside world, you can't follow things that interest you, you can't love the person you love, you can't make connection to strangers, you can't express your feelings about outside events, you can't live a life, or better said, you will be living a life without soul ...

And of course, I was too smart to be fooled by mistaking aesthetic with freshness, because that's how the fashion industry1, would generate enough profit.

So my mother's fashion magazines or the ever stranger looking fashion shows on TV were more recipients of my internal rational critic than being a source of fulfillment for my "need of aesthetic", as some today's psychologists would like to call it2.

One of the criteria of aesthetic is a sense of continuity, while another one being freshness. So, while being novel, fresh, and new in order to gain better evaluation in regard of aesthetical, makes sense, one will lose the points by forgetting the continuity and timelessness. So, just like many other things in life, aesthetic appears to be full of contradictory criteria, while in fact, it is the balance that is worth pursuing ...

Examples of psychological impacts of one's appearance

There is a lot that can be said, and this matter can be discussed from lots of different aspects, but I will only point to two aspects, or maybe better said, to two examples of it that are all too typical

One's appearance in the eyes of others

When I was a child, the times I looked at my face in the mirror, my reaction was: "one ugly face less to tolerate in life", by that I meant, it is great that I nobody else have this ugly face, so I don't need to tolerate having them around me and looking at this ugly face. So, you can imagine how harsh I could have been if I were to tell my real aesthetical evaluation of people and things around me, and to be honest, I always assumed you have to be the harshest on yourself and merciful on others, so probably I would not have been as harsh, because I believed people's face to be respected, but I didn't need to do that about my own self2.

Don't pity yourself for the child-me for being tortured by me, there were a lot of reasons why I always avoided mirrors and avoided being photographed, none of which had to do because I thought I'm ugly, so there weren't so many moments that I would look in the mirror, and when I would and received that comment, to me that was a comment telling I am happy about this fact.

However, later on in life, few events actually made me stop making that comment about myself:

First one comes from the firsts sessions I visited a psychotherapist with my own will, cause I wanted to know what was wrong with me and one of her questions, I guess probably from some sort of psychological evaluation examination procedures, was to asking me how I think about my appearance, or more precisely what I like in my body or something like this, and when I tried to skip the question, cause I didn't want to say "none" and give the impression as if I'm obsessed with my body image and fake criteria of our societies about it, she insisted on hearing an answer and if I don't remember wrong, I tried to learn what she expects from me by asking "okay, what would you answer to this question" and she said in some manner that my eyes3 are beautiful and your fingers are like that of pianists.

At the same time period, I met A. S. there and after we grow too close, too fast, at least to my inexperienced mind who had never let anyone so close to his inside life and her feelings was that I never let her know how I feel, or think, which back then to me was a surprise, now I know I understand how it comes:

I was internally deprived of a sense of existence and identity, and in this condition, you can never make a meaningful connection between the outside world and your inside world, you can't follow things that interest you, you can't love the person you love, you can't make connection to strangers, you can't express your feelings about outside events, you can't live a life, or better said, you will be living a life without soul ...

After I was clear about my decision with myself that it is better for her to be with her boyfriend, which was a mistake, now looking back, as I should not have made decisions for her life on my own and depriving myself of showing any affection to her, I would consciously avoid to look at her face, because I wanted her to be with her boyfriend, and she would follow my gaze to see which woman is out there that is stealing my attention from her and just couldn't speak out that "please, don't make it worse than it already is, you are the woman that I want to stare at but I can't allow myself …", till it ends up in a situation like this:

vielleicht gäbe es ein Versprechen, das du halten willst

vielleicht gäbe es ein Verbot, das ich nicht brechen will

denn sonst,

würden diene Augen nicht nach meinen Abbild auf Fenster suchen

würden meine Hände nicht auf deine Umarmung für Abschied warten

Even if I had a heart of stone, her staring at the reflection of my face after she knew I didn't want us to look at each other, cause of her relationship and as she also was about to leave for that relationship, made me stop considering the face an ugly thing that is hard to tolerate. A. S. was so valuable to me that I didn't want to have such diversion of opinion about something she likes.

Similar to Hugo's character in the short novel, The Days of Being a Man, getting to know A. S. and that extremely close friendship between us, was the first time I had the question in myself whether my appearance pleases her and not only because of pure aesthetics but among lots of other reasons and asks because I also dreamed that she be attracted to me ... yet not long afterward, I end up intentionally doing all my best to kill any attraction between us ...

Impact of one's appearance on oneself

Jennette McCurdy's introduction contained a brilliant reason that why caring about what you wear could matter and as her website is down, I'll put it here:

... and it comes to my attention time and time again what a difference fashion can make to your image, attitude, and outlook. I have attended events where I wore outfits that were not planned, slapped together last minute, not cohesive, and even sloppy looking. I felt the same. On the other hand, I have attended events wearing a beautifully made dress in a great color, with my hair and makeup done just right, and felt like I could fly.

Jennette McCurdy; her introductory post on her Tumbler, "Posh Mob"

How we behave towards human beings also reflects how we value them, and that's also part of the reason why I am convinced that an idea like Take My Hand, to embrace homeless individuals3 with ordinary opportunities to create their own career is not necessarily an example of excessive caring, rather it's a mean to reinitiate the damaged or maybe even destroyed feeling of dignity and self-worth as a side-effect of being homeless, and being seen and treated as sub-citizen or even sub-humans by the society. Unless that mental image is solved one won't act upon his or her potential, regardless of how much potential they have, and the lack of sense of existence and identity that I referred to previously, which perhaps is better to be called "trauma" in professional language, is a similar condition but an extreme one. Of course evoking the sense of worth in homeless is way much easier than evoking the sense of existence and identity in a human being that on the surface functions properly and displays no signs of any problem, or serious psychological difficulties in navigating his or her life but here we are not to talk about trauma. So, back to the main point, one of those human beings is, of course, our own selves, and so it makes sense that by wearing something "not planned, slapped together last minute, not cohesive, and even sloppy looking" or "a beautifully made dress in a great color, with my hair and makeup done just right", we are displaying how much we value ourselves to our own selves.

A social medium

Perhaps the best way to describe this aspect of fashion, is if you think of as a language. Language is something that is both individual and often a by-product or a highly-influenced product of living in a collection of human beings as a society, and so there are lots of similar phenomena in the world of fashion and that of language. and as The Lost Ideas Lab Journal is very sensitive to human and society, Alt. Fashion is not purely about aesthetics of what one wears, and forgetting that it means different things in different societies, that the meaning and the aesthetical aspects of our appearance won't be fully understood, if we ignore the society, if we ignore cultural and political movements, and of course there is a strong tendency to do so in the professional fashion industry business, because there the goal is bottom-line profit of the company, and you don't need to care about culture or politics.

The Alt. Fashion idea

The Alt. Fashion, partly come from the importance of aesthetic to me, but it would have not been there, if I weren't extremely dissatisfied by the current state of fashion industry. I believe the current state of fashion and beauty industry is built on top of false foundations and is full of wrong behaviors, for example:

  • the pressure on women to appear attractive in everyone's eyes, which specially makes less sense as you are in a relationship, however even our relationships are built on such weak foundations that it makes sense to worry whether you are the most attractive woman in the room when you are outside of your home, only to be sure that you can keep the attention of your spouse to yourself … whereas attraction was actually supposed to be a tool in the hands of love, and of course such tool would have been best used intimately.

  • the idea that one is ought to be proud of wearing this brand or that brand, while in reality, it is a designer that should feel honored for his or her work being understood and appreciated by an audience ...

  • the practice that some fashion and beauty trend-setters or influences, whose living are often financed by the fashion and beauty industry and not by the people, are responsible to dictate to us what is beauty and what is not beauty, what is proper and what is improper, and what we have to do, is often to pay the stuff produced in low-cost locations often in miserable circumstance, and this practice has grown to such extreme, that not only girls believe anorexia means beauty, but even boy and men subscribe to this view in their private conversations, while works in evolutionary psychology often suggests, male criteria on female's beauty is behind the scene an evaluation of reproduction capabilities, and individuals with anorexia are not usually the most reproductively active female.

I hope Alt. Fashion become the movement that brings back the foundations of aesthetic and our appearance back to their place. It is stupid to work in a job you don't like or work on a job against your values, only in order to be able to pay the fees of what you wish to wear, to be an expression of who you are, while what you wear itself is the result of bunch of people working on a supply chain that from its top to the bottom is full of moral loopholes.

Explaining how this idea in details would look like, I will leave to the public introduction and invitation to Alt. Fashion, but basically the idea is to ask ordinary couples for three photographs regarding what they wear in different situations accompanied by few questions ...

  1. which in most cases if one would take into account how their products are produced, should rather be labeled as "labor abuse industry" ↩︎

  2. As discussed else place this can become a very misleading concept if used without understanding what it means and what are its limitations and what is its purpose … so, my use here is more to make a point filled with sarcasm ... ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Perhaps not every single homeless person deserves such opportunity but usually individuals who do not deserve an opportunity would not put in the effort of taking that opportunity and following it until it comes to fruits. ↩︎ ↩︎

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Regardless of claims made by loud voices in the West or the Middle East, the terrorist attacks by standalone actors are results of economical, political and social structures and functions in our societies. As a society can't exist without each of its individual members, and as these symptoms as grown so far that they appear as a problem, it is upon each of us, at least each free-spirited human beings in these societies, to take action on changing these economical, political and social structures and functions in our societies.
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I would fall short and feel disappointed in myself
I hope reading this article will provide you with a rich thought environment, to be able to see what following your passion, or the modern day equivalent, your childhood dreams, means and why it is important ... and specially in case you are one of the individuals who silently suffer from the belief that what you want is wrong or impossible, or perhaps more often than not both of them, why you should attempt to liberate yourself from it, why it is not only important for your mental and emotional and spiritual health but that any other way of life than this would ultimately be an unsuccessful one ...
Notes around how others imagine me
In recent months indirect expressing of opinions of others about how I would behave in a hypothetical future situation or how they believed I was spending my time, for the period we haven't heard of each other, sort of shock and frustrates me ... The fact that people can imagine such cruel and dark behaviors from me, is so shocking because I expected them to know a bit of who I am, after all the exchanges we had and the fact that who I am in their eyes and who I am in reality would be two fundamentally different individuals, leaves me with the feeling that these people, whom I thought to be enough to rely upon for emotional attachment, maybe never are going to have a somewhat more true image of me in their brain or hearts ...
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  • Published:
  • Published: Monday, October 30, 2017


  • Author: Scrappy Nobody

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