This is not a rant. Rather an expectant call to arms of all fashion industry aficionados, laypersons and the ambiguous ones in between. Please join me in the official butchery, and jubilant slaying to rest of the word ‘fashionista’, and all of it’s unimaginative offsprings; those including: urbanista, frugalista, recessionista… You understand.
Every time I hear the word ‘fashionsita’ or any of its wretched siblings, the cells in my body become inflamed to the strongest broil. So much that I feel like they’re going to seep out of my coco skin, and fly out of my brownstone off, over yonder somewhere–maybe Lesotho? I just can’t.
The strangest paradox here is that fashion folks are supposed to be the inventive ones. The Elsa Schiaparellis, Charles James, Patrick Kellys and Laquan Smiths. Oh but the hilarious thing is, real fashion heads can’t stand the ‘-ista’ suffixes either.
Kathryn Finney’s The Budget Fashionista is one of my earliest memories of the term. Her 2006 brilliant and resourceful guide to low-cost high fashion schooled us on everything from taking care of our clothes like stylists, and how to purchase luxury goods on Ebay without chronic paranoia. Ever since, we’ve experienced a straight onslaught of ‘fashionista’ labeling. Any metropolitan girl in a strong shoulder bodycon, and red bottoms receives the thirsty title.
‘-ista’ phraseology is like the New York bed bug infestation–they’re everywhere. And if we’re got by the little sh*ts, we have to clean out our entire wardrobe to make sure they’re all out.
The worse thing has to be when a man labels you with the term. You walk into a mid-town bar to meet him, and after he scans your Alice + Olivia tunic and Sigerson Morrison sandals, he opens his mouth and slings vile.
“I see you’re a little fashionista huh?” I was nearly moved to throw my Riesling in his face. I thought about ignoring the unintentional insult on my entire life. After all, he couldn’t possibly fathom how much he just offended me. In his mind–saturated with pop cultural references and New York social chatter–he was giving me a compliment. But before I could form the charlatan smile the right side of my brain was advising me to do (he was sexy and a possible keeper), the left side of my brain launched: “I am not a fashionsita.”
“But you’re really stylish and you work in fashion, right?”
“This is all true, and thank you. But I’m actually informed by other things. I like Basquiat and Kara Walker, the color of arugula salads, and Detroit hair art.” I responded. “I’m not some fashion-crazed zombie that would fight over a pair of Guccis at a sample sale.”
He did that “I see” look. He didn’t know if he should be impressed or confused. This man had no idea about the ‘Anti-Fashionista’ protest I was staging in my head for years, the inner-riot that was brewing and about to march out of my cerebellum.
So to all of my fellow stylish girls, rocking your Nicholas Kirkwoods and your belted vintage secretary dresses; who just so happens to be influenced by all four corners of visual culture and aesthetic, join in with us, and stomp these tired labels with your six inch stilettos–six feet under.
–Geneva S. Thomas