Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Most likely to set the world's next fashion trend

You know that thing in high school where everyone is voted Most Likely to Fill-in the Blank? I was voted Most Likely to Set the World's Next Fashion Trend.

Haven't heard of me? That's because I have yet to accomplish this feat, however, I'm still working on it - I'm not dead yet!!

I can't tell you how honoured and awesome I felt when this happened to me. To be the most fashionable person in my high school. My high school with a graduating class of 160. My high school in a town called Cloverdale. Yep, was hard work competing with all those turkey farmers for "most fashionable".

Sarcasm aside, I was still really pleased with the results of how others perceived me.

I gotta tell you the story behind the reason that I was voted to set the World's next fashion trend.

Some background:

  • I learned how to sew when I was six and my mum taught me some basic pattern skills so that I could make clothes for my Barbies, but she refused to teach me how to use a sewing machine because she wanted me to wait until I got to high school so I could be taught "the right way". 
  • Things changed somewhat between the sixties and the eighties (imagine that?). By the time I got to Home-Ec, things had changed so much so that my teacher was one of the English teachers who just happened to know how to sew. There was no 'real' sewing teacher. She basically had us go buy basic patterns and follow the instructions in the pattern and she was there to answer questions. When my mother heard that, she said, "Well, I could have taught you that!"
  • When I took sewing in grade nine, we had to make a shirt because we had to learn how to do button-holes, and we had to make a skirt or pants because we had to learn how to sew in a zipper. This was 1986 and big, oversized, floral shirts were in style. I really wanted to make a big shirt, but didn't have a lot of money for fabric. My mum helped me by searching through her "stash". (Every woman who sews knows what I'm talking about - it's like the fabric multiplies on its own!) I found this fabric with big yellow, pink and turquoise roses on it that I thought was perfect. When I pulled it out, my mum informed me that was not fabric, but a sheet set. I didn't care, I loved the fabric. When my teacher found out that I was using vintage sheets for my fabric, she flipped out that I was so creative and inventive to use sheets. I made a shirt, skirt, and shorts out of the sheets. They were so fabulous I wore them all the time. I would wear the skirt and shirt together with either a pink or turquoise tank top underneath with the shirt belted at the waist, but I never wore the shirt and the shorts together, that would clash. I wish I had a photo to share with you...
  • I also had taken a basic shirt pattern that my mum had from the seventies and manipulated it so that it would be oversized. I figured all of this out on my own. If I didn't like the style of the pattern, I would change it to fit my needs.
  • Anyway, from that moment on my teacher thought I was a genius, and would come to me for suggestions and tips instead of the other way around. She would not shut up about how amazed she was that I thought to use a sheet for fabric. (a vintage sheet - but the term vintage had not been coined yet)
  • Did I mention that my sewing teacher wore fabulous clothes and I was totally intimidated by her at first because her style was so impeccable? I was so honoured to be her pet student.
So cut to grade Eleven. I had seen my friend Kate's older and very stylish sister wearing these East Indian inspired pants with a high waistband, many pleats, and a drop crotch. I thought the were so cool. I waited awhile to try to copy them because they were not something that I thought I was confident enough to wear. I figured out a pattern, and made a pair of navy blue ones, and a pair of bright green ones. The navy ones had a wide navy and white striped waistband. I sucked up my courage and wore them to school on the first day of grade Eleven. O. My. Gosh! The mocking. The stares. The jokes about how I pooped my pants. It went on and on, but by then I had the confidence to know that those stupid kids had no clue about fashion, they were from Cloverdale for crying out loud, so I ignored them. (again, I wish I had pictures...) 

It was really hard to walk up steep steps with my crotch at my knees, but, you know, no pain is too great for the sake of fashion...

A year later, a rapper called MC Hammer wore the EXACT same pants, but in gold. People would come up to me and tell me about that and about how I wore it first. "Remember last year how we used to make fun of you for those poopy pants? Well now that rapper MC Hammer is wearing them! You're so cool to be ahead of the style!"

THAT, my friends, is validation.

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