Thursday, October 20, 2011

Living on the Edge

'Edgy' has been thrown around carelessly and used so often to describe any look that is unsafe that no one really knows what edgy really means. It got me thinking and I decided to find out. According to the free online dictionaries (all hail and long live Google), 'edgy' at its root means anxious or irritable. In terms of Art or Fine Art, 'edgy' means excessively defined. The essence of 'edgy' however, lies in the way it excites because it is innovative and to a certain extent, intense. Hence, edgy is neither an unconventional look that is way out there, nor an (ironically) safe combination of tons of black eyeliner, leather, boots and distressed denim. The latter is the Harley/biker-chic that Singaporean girls have been so eager to adopt. Being edgy just means being innovative and showing some creativity in putting outfits together so you don't wind up like all the other cookie-cutter girls out there. You've not only portrayed a bit of yourself in those clothes on your back, you've also captured an essence of that edge.
Fashion, style and such advice are all highly subjective and in a sense, absolutely cruel to those who don't subscribe to conventional notions of the so-called fashion manifested in seasonal or annual trends that people are so keen to follow. Somehow this system works and has worked since time immemorial probably because as social beings, humans need to attain that innate sense of belonging to a community of some sort and if it requires that we follow those set customs and norms to be part of the same 'pack' so to speak, then so be it.

As is the case with all subjective and undefined subject matters on this planet, there is an escape clause or loophole. The escape clause that always works: this is what I consider edgy which may not be what you define as edgy. Sure there are some benchmarks that position 'edgy' somewhere around 'eclectic' but this definition is far from set in stone. Personally, as long as there is some element of creativity in an outfit that makes me go "hey omg, I didn't know you could wear it like that", then that's edgy.

We can't talk edgy without mentioning Alexa Chung. She has definitely nailed that Brit-eclectic-chic.


Then there are models Frida Gustavsson and Abbey Lee. I love their personal styles.

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With celebrities like Lady Gaga, no doubt poised on the edge of glory and the brink of madness in her odd-as-hell outfit (or lack thereof) choices, pushing boundaries with way-out concepts of fashion (the meat dress was one disgusting piece of work), one could say that the playground has definitely opened up a lot more today. There is so much more space for creative genius as well as mistakes.



Moreover, with so many high street brands replicating runway looks and creating new trends on their own (Zara, H&M and so on), fast fashion is indeed a fantastic way for anyone to push their personal fashion boundaries. Affordable clothes definitely make experimenting a lot less taxing on our branded wallets, imagine spending more than $100 on one item every time we go shopping. There is no way that will help the fashion industry which is, today, just thriving on the whims and fancies of more and more women who are acheiving a level of disposable income that makes it alright for them to shop till they drop, embedded and embroiled as we are in a consumerist and materialistic culture that encourages capitalism and senseless expenditure with every swipe of a credit card.

Whoever coined shopping as 'retail therapy' certainly was brilliant. I am personally a sucker for retail therapy, as is almost every other person out there. In cities like Singapore, I think it's fair to say that most pastimes require spending some money one way or another, especially if you choose to head out. Spending your heard earned money on yourself becomes therapeutic because you can say "hey, I worked for this and I deserve to treat myself", which in turn fuels that capitalist cycle of making more and more money so you can spend more on yourself every single time. Overspend and you live on the edge of debt; keep saving and you'll live comfortably in retirement.

In any case, that's the way the world works. So? Deal with it (haha). I'm happy spending on myself when I can afford to and there's nothing better than fueling some of that creative energy into buying some edgy gems stocked among the shelves in the shops in town to play around with at home.


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