So...The Column is here, but what is it?

Fashion writing is a great gig, I’ll be honest. It’s a ubiquitous experience - 99% of us, everyday, have to interact with clothes. The shape, cut, colour, and material of the clothes that you have hanging up in your room, or bundled up on your floor (whatever! Let’s not start this by pretending that we don’t all have “the chair”!) all came from somewhere, and are ripe for stories. That’s why when I got the chance to start The Column, with Maison de Choup, I was beyond stoked. 


Have you ever been sitting on public transport, and seen someone wearing just the most beautiful shirt? You sit there, across from them, stealing glances - taking in the colour, the shape, and wondering if it would be weird to tell them. You could do what my super-sleuth friend did, and just search “blush cotton shirt” online, until you land on the perfect one. Or perhaps you’ve been on the other side: wearing your incredible purple patterned pants (these ones spring to mind, personally), and watching someone eye them appreciatively. It’s nice to be on either camp, the wearer or the watcher, as you form an invisible conversation. Without words, you both understand. 

Maison de Choup, Simone Williams, fashion, mental health
I deliberated over this crewneck for ages, but it was just too much fun to pass up tbh. It's from Glimmed, and really teams with the whole millennial pink thing that I seem to have going on, on this page especially.

Fashion has been a means of communication for centuries: using colour to signify royalty, cut to show taste, and specific garments to demonstrate national pride. The Scottish kilt, the bell bottoms of the 60s, traditional grass skirts - they all instantly connote a time, a place, a people, a memory. Sure, they’re pieces of fabric that cover our bodies, but they are also glimpses into who we are. 

Fashion transports us, but it also grounds us in where we come from. 

So it’s not hard to see the intersection between what we wear, and what we feel. They are so often linked, as our emotions flicker at the sight of our closet. The holey, comfy joggers folded neatly (I’ve been wearing the same Primark ones since 2016 - no further questions, thanks), elicit a warm spread of comfort throughout my chest, while the Kitri velour pink jumpsuit - it’s on sale! No joke! - hanging limply but luminously on the rack lights up my eyes. 

There is a reason that the saying is ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve,’ rather than just your wrist. 

Your clothes broadcast your feelings, your thoughts, your desires. They aren’t just for expressing who you are - they also serve to demonstrate who you want to become. We wear specific items because we want to be seen - fashion begs us to connect, to chat, to consume messages and pictures and words, together. 

 

But what about the harder thoughts and emotions? What about the vulnerabilities, the secret spaces in our mind that we find it hard to talk about? Everyday anxieties, clouds in your skies...and deeper, darker turmoil that can make us feel alone, misunderstood, or left in the dark. Or, all of the above. Or less! We all experience pain, grief, and trauma differently - and it can affect how we see ourselves in the mirror everyday. 


Clothes can help you speak to that pain, and show support for others experiencing it. Here at Maison de Choup, we understand the conversation that fashion sparks between people. And we also understand that interactions that we should be having more of - those around mental health, and those who suffer it - can start from just a simple glance on the train. When George and I first chatted about why he chose to mesh fashion with mental health, he explained that he wants people to wear these clothes and use them as conversation starters. 

One conversation can lead to a connection, which can then lead to clarity - about ourselves and the world around us. 

The Column is here to have that conversation. It’s not a place that is going to push pricey items that no one can realistically afford - instead, it’s a real person (myself, obviously) who will chat to you about style, history, movements, culture, designers and the art form of fashion itself. It’s a community that gets to read and bond over why we wear what we wear, and to share tough, funny, challenging and rewarding moments. Because, most likely (or not! It’s cool!), you were wearing clothes in those moments. And it’s the stories of those moments, and those clothes, that we want to tell.


Every Wednesday morning, there will be a Column here for you. You can count us to be the stylish accompaniment to your latte.

THIS WEEK:

WEARING: Linens from Assembly Label. Try and tear me away from Australia! Try. They are just so durable, lightweight and have the best palette around (my personal fave is their mineral green). 

LISTENING TO: Women In Music Pt. III. Haim just...really nail that angsty summer vibe. 

EATING: Pick ‘n’ mix. This answer will be the same every week. 

READING: Becoming by Michelle Obama. How have I been so late to this?! 

BUYING: Anya Hindmarch candles - courtesy of Showcase Co., who facilitate online versions of my favourite Olympic sport: sample sales. Don’t tell, but I got this one for less than half price. 

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