Is Persistence the Key to Progress?

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Staples Chinook

My mind has been all over the place recently. Things just seem to keep escalating, building a shit storm atop the shit storm. Dwelling in the chaos and cruelty is not a friend of mine. Rather, I’m more of the move-forward-and-eventually-you’ll-feel-more-positive kind.

As the world slowly – or swiftly, depending where your vantage point is – implodes, I marvel at those who simple move forward. They just get up, dust themselves off – figuratively or literally – and move, forward; forward always. Right, Luke Cage? People continue to travel, have children, celebrate birthdays, and start new projects. This makes sense to me. Until now I never viewed so clearly as an act of defiance. Persisting, or getting on, is a remarkable statement.

To the small minded bigots – and a reminder they are a small, yet dangerous minority of people - who want things to go back to this perceived utopian time (ps. When the heck was that? I don’t remember history depicting it that picturesque) simply moving forward and living your life is a huge slap in their face. As in, “No thanks, I’m not afraid of you. I’ll keep doing my own thing far, far away from you.” It's living out loud proudly, refusing to hide.

September is a big doing-all-the-things month. This year is no different. In spite of what is going on, September moves forward. Film red carpets at Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF), Spring Summer 2018 (SS/18) Ready–to-Wear presentations at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), and fall campaign launches from brands. Yeah yeah.

TIFF is the time for starts to come to the Great White North and represent for their latest projects. Some of these films are in the midst of campaigning for awards season. With awards season hustling, comes va-va-voom red carpets appearances. The red carpet style eco system works as bit like this: show up looking spectacular, media gets interview with said spectacular star, media publishes look in a gallery like this, and the star gets a pat on the back from the film’s producers for getting their film in the news cycle. Let’s count all the wins: the film gets promoted in a Canadian city, star gets to keep making movies, media gets great content, and the fashion community gets to dress the rich and famous. Some may call it silly, but they persist.

Shifting to NYFW, it’s all about the next season. AKA: The future. In the past few years as the fashion community has been shifting focus and questioning the relevance of the traditional show now, buy 6 months later model – hello, see now, buy now – whilst still sending models and their latest looks down that runway regardless of what season they are choosing to show. NYFW, too, persists regardless of what is changing. They keep creating regardless of what may come. We are at the mid way mark so there’s lots more to see and digest both on the runway and on the streets of New York.

The September issues of magazines are already out and they are sharing what brand's pieces we’re drooling over come fall. The one that caught my attention was Ivy Park. Not just because of Queen Bey – who is always exciting – but for whom she’s cast in her advertising campaign: jumpy claps for Laverne Cox. I love that Ivy Park is a brand that expanding our idea of what’s beautiful. It is not a singular – dare I say, thin, white young women – it’s inclusive of more. After much persistence, this brand is helping more and more people include themselves as part of the body-love and body-proud conversation. Through persistence of simply being proud of who they are and not hiding, we get to see more types of beauty celebrated.

One thing I love about fashion is that when it looks back it’s for inspiration on how to do things differently moving forward. It’s not about blind nostalgia. The industry is not restrained to its past. It’s actively trying to move forward. Not just with trends of the garments, but also with business models, fashion week systems, and progress on what we consider beautiful. They persist. I hope we can, too.