“And I think there’s a difference between being childish and keeping a quality that’s childlike. I’m very grown up in a lot of ways, but I think that’s so sad – it’s good to maintain a sense of wonder.” (Iris Apfel, qtd. in The Guardian).
Watching the documentary Iris I got inspired by the youthful and passionate mind of the American fashion icon. With her 94-years of age she is still mind blown by her profession, which keeps her busy most of the time. Her spirit is what makes her young and her extravagant outfits show the uniqueness of her style.
“It is better to be happy than well-dressed” she states, giving fashion a broader and more encompassing meaning than what ordinary trends say about what can be denominated “stylish” and what is seen as “passé”. Shop where everyone shops and you’ll be one more individual in the crowd, but follow Iris’ advice and you’ll find the best way to stand out feeling comfortable with yourself. Coming back to the opening quote, I wanted to add that fashion is an art, one of many, but nevertheless it takes creativity and insight. Wonder will always lead you to try out new challenges, maybe changing your view on the attributed meaning given to the outside world. This gives you the opportunity to create something genius no one else has thought of because others simply follow the crowd.
After watching her documentary and finding out her strategy of shopping and creating outfits, I started experimenting with that. She goes to random markets, and second-hand shops where she finds peculiar artifacts that give the unique touch to her outfits. So I started doing the same and I found myself loving the process. Creating the perfect outfit had now become an adventure, never knowing what exactly I was looking for but always bumping into items that end up being the ‘cherry-on-top” of my fashion creations. The work pays off when you finally get to wear your creation; that is the most exciting part for me.
I encourage people to get out there experimenting! You can do it simply for fun, if you are bored, or maybe if you have an identity crisis, this would be the perfect way to try and find yourself. And then for all the fashion addicts out there like me, fashion is a way of life, when are we not shopping?