Because I could be quite a dingbat, when I think of the word Fashion-Forward, I think of people like Karl Leuterio and Jujin Samonte, Jane Aldridge, the Chang siblings, the Uy siblings, so on and so forth, while I literally translate "forward" to "being ahead of everyone else". Its about having that sense of individuality. Yes, you can see other people who probably dress the same way in other parts of the world, but its very rare to find people like them in the Philippines.
I mean, you just know that its in their blood. They just end up effortlessly putting things together, they make it work and make it theirs.
As talented as we are and as much as we want to dress up the way we want to without a care in the world what people think, let's face it : there is probably not a day in a Fashionphile's life where they don't get attention (say, the bad kind) from people who don't understand just how and why one would come up with such an attire.
Not to say that I'm an authority in Fashion, but in terms of expressing myself freely with clothes is something I could say I know a lot about because I have been bullied for it for years. One of the most unforgettable ones was when I walked in to a 7-11 store one day in September of 2008 and ended up being poked at by girls saying I was wearing "Elephant Pants" (I was crazy about them in 2002 though) when in fact they were "Wide Leg Pants" and have been appearing on glossy magazine pages for months at the time. Like some Filipinos, it wasn't new to me - I have been laughed at for my outfit decisions countless of times.
I have a fetish for hats. I'm just not very rich to afford everything I want for people to see it, but I do. I would LOVE to wear my faux fur hat in the Philippines when I go out. TELL ME HONESTLY, will I not be laughed at? I could go to Makati and I bet you that even the conyo people would end up laughing at me. "Its a tropical country! Its summer, what is she thinking? This is not Europe".
SO WHAT? I want to wear it, its my freakin' head. I definitely look up to my friends who can manage to express themselves freely with Fashion. I haven't asked them yet if they've gotten their share of uncomfortable stares from people who think that they have the right to judge who's doing it right and who's not. What's sad is, the world thinks that only people who are directly associated to Fashion are the only ones who have the right to wear what they want (and can't lay a finger on it).
Sure, I get that there are rules, and that there are certain things that go together but with Avant-Garde slowly becoming a part of our daily lives, its not impossible for people to embrace their inner artist.
I won't deny that there are times when I look at people and think "It would've been better if this was paired with that, the necklace doesn't go with the outfit, yada-yada-yada", but do I make it obvious? Do I make them uncomfortable? Do I say it out loud? No. I keep it to myself. Its a part of who I am, and I'm surely not the only one. We're all entitled to our own opinion. And I'm not here to judge, I'm not writing this to make anyone feel bad, but its just something I feel like I need to say.
You know what I think is a Fashion-Forward country? JAPAN. Heck, you can wear whatever you freakin' want and people just won't give a rat's ass. Designer or not, new or not, whatever. You see people walking down the street and you can just see how creative they are. I mean, I would surf Tokyo Fashion and I'm like "Waitwhat? That's amazing!" And don't get me wrong, I'd still drool over the glitzy, classy photos of Kate Moss or Abbey Lee Kershaw in Runway photos and Fashion Spreads, but what I most admire is how they dress up when they're not "working" (and by the way, I think there's a difference between being "Fashion Forward" and being "Fashionable". Both worthy of inspiration, but very different from each other).
Then again, I'm no guru. I'm just someone who loves Fashion, someone who firmly believes in the awesome power of this artform being a part of who you are. An extension of your character. A limb.
I know so many Filipinos are doing their best to make a difference in the Fashion Industry (and not just locally). We may be a third world country but we are definitely of things beyond our imagination, as cheesy as that sounds. We have so much potential, srsly, I mean we have people like Vito Selma, Rafe Totengco, and Michael Cinco to look up to, to name a few. And goodness, how awesome are these Pinoys?
So, this I will say : The Philippines IS NOT a Fashion -Forward country. But Filipinos, if not most of them - ARE.
Maybe it'll come for us, maybe it won't. Maybe no matter where we go, there will always be people who just gets us, and people who don't. But why should that matter? Fashion is our passion, and it makes us happy. So what if "they" think its not fasyon? So what if you don't look like you're from the pages of Nylon or Vogue or that *insert awesome Fashion Magazine Editor here* "does not agree". None of that counts (don't get me wrong though, I could probably wear a garbage bag for the rest of my life after Anna Wintour or Grace Coddington applauds my fashion sense), but srsly, none of that should really matter.
One day, people will see your character, not your clothes. They'll see WHO you are THROUGH your clothes. The clothes will just be an accessory, with you being the focal point. And I think that's the secret to every Fashionista known to Fashionphiles or merely people who just love Fashion (not dressing up). And yes, that may seem shallow but if you're an artist who uses clothes as your paint then you'd get me.
God Bless you guys. I'm just so thankful that He's blessing me with enough to still be able to splurge on my only vice apart from blogging : Fashion.