Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tales of a Sunday Morning

I’m glad to be a part of the relatively new discourse of women who write, express and constantly strive to change the way we look and are being looked at. I consider myself extremely lucky, to be able to talk about and address such thoughts on the internet, and reach so many people. The last two posts on this blog have been quite different from the usual story based posts or updates about life. While studying material for college, I tend to usually form my examples in fashion for easier understanding. So I thought it would make sense to actually share some of these thoughts on the blog and seriously address them, since they seem to be neglected. I’m glad you’ll are enjoying it. 

The other day, I overheard someone say, “Fashion is expensive, it’s just a tool for our capitalist society.” Of course I instantly made a note of this, not only because of the values it held, but also because it’s not everyday you overhear people talking about ‘capitalism’. Fashion is a commodity and women are being told to dress in a way which seems to belong to a greater scheme of the capitalist society. In the end, all these images that are created are money making techniques. Even if I agreed with that, why are we leaving art out of the picture? This particular person who was speaking is a connoisseur of art, so what bothered me was that if you consider fashion a commodification, then why not art? Isn’t art expensive too? Of course I wouldn’t completely blame everyone who reduces fashion to plain consumerism or commodification. After all, the myriad of stereotypes that have been attached to models, fashion shows, designers and fashion bloggers is explanatory for their thoughts. 

As someone who cares about the connotations of the signs thrown at us everyday, I think it would be a shame if I didn’t exert my power over fashion and influencing ideas that are used in the field. What we choose to wear is not only about capitalism or commodification, but also about what we are trying to say. Whoever said fashion and politics have nothing in common was so wrong. If fashion isn’t politics, then I don’t know what is. Yes, millions of dollars are spent telling women to attain the perfect look or body, but that is never going to change if we push it aside saying it’s a money making scam. I’m not giving up on fashion, I’m not giving up on what I stand for. Today people in fashion probably just say they accept fat people or dark skin because they are forced into saying so, and might not actually believe it. Maybe it’s all just an act. But I know that if not today, someday we can make that change. We can be smart and fashionable. We can be fat and pretty. We can be dark and lovely.

In the 80s women used to wear tailored skirt suits, shoulder pads and basically dress up like men so that they could access economic and social aspects of the society that they had previously been denied. Today, so many decades later, pant suits and skirt suits are back on the runways and everyone seems to be sporting them. Are you telling me that’s not a statement? Haven’t you seen how women always make it a point to add a bit of ‘them’ to those outfits? In the 80s they wore pears and jewels to make that statement, and now they wear statement necklaces and high heels. As Jan Felshin said, “It serves to say that I am powerful, but I’m not masculine.” If fashion bloggers aren’t example enough of the challenge being posed to gendered, sexist, sized and raced messages, then I don’t know what is. 

And talking about masculinity, I’m sure many people are going to find this outfit repelling because “I’m not dressing for my body type” or “I’m wearing clothes from the men’s section” or “Because you can only see my flab”. So go ahead and find me repelling or stupid or whatever you want to. But I’m not going to stop pairing my crop tops with sweatpants and running shoes even if it’s not Anna Wintour approved. Oh, and if you thought feminists were frumpy, unattractive women who couldn’t give two hoots about fashion, you should think again. Have you met Beyonce, Chimamanda Adichie, Tavi Gevinson, Karen Elson and Simon de Beauvoir? 






















Love,
Sonshu

P.S: Still not over crop tops. Let’s just accept it?

P.P.S: Shot these at sunrise

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I love fashion and I’m not dumb.

“A woman using her own face and body has a right to do what she will with them, but it is a subtle abyss that separates men’s use of women for sexual titillation from women’s use of women to expose that insult.”
-Lucy. R. Lippard

I feel like we worry too much. About what people think, about what people say, about what people do, about how they will look at us, about what they’ll tell their friends. It’s a constant cycle, and honestly even I get stuck in it sometimes. But then I have to shake myself out of it because it’s not worth it. 

Over the past few days, you’ll have been extremely supportive of my blog and the post about being fat and I’m so overwhelmed that there are people out there, more than I expected, and they look at fatness the way I do. Honestly, it was like a restoration of faith in humanity in some sense. 

There are people who will say ‘fashion is for the dumb’, ‘dude, seriously go write something serious’, ‘you post pictures of yourself in clothes on your blog?’, ‘what’s the point of fashion?’ and so much more that I can’t imagine spewing. Fashion is not dumb. Nor is it a joke. Fashion is a form of expression, just as any other medium is - be it sport or politics. We constantly seek a medium to express ourselves, and if fashion is mine, and politics is yours, what’s the big deal? I don’t care about the gaze, I’m not dressing up for you. You can’t tell me I’m wearing too little or too much, hell, you can’t even tell Lena Dunham that her nudity is purposeless when you are clearly turned on by all the nudity on Game of Thrones.

Dressing up makes me happy, what’s the problem with it? When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about feeling comfortable and like herself in a short-sleeve top, cotton trousers and high wedge sandals, even to class, she means exactly that. In her interview with Elle earlier this year, she raises one of the most vital questions: Why can’t a smart woman love fashion? Why am I supposed to be clad in sweats, with messy unkempt hair and look like I don’t care about what I wear for me to be intellectual? Let me confess: for a while after I joined college, I stopped dressing up. Not only because I couldn’t find time to pick out clothes and plan my accessories, but also because people used to think I was dumb because I dressed up. Honestly it got quite annoying, and for a while I gave in to it. I must tell you that those months I went without dressing were the worst, and I not only felt bogged down but also pulled in directions to not dress up in order to be intellectual. And then I started doing this thing: I would dress up on normal college days, but wear ‘intellectual’ clothes on important days. After all, if I had my sartorial choices right, I was stupid. After reading Adichie’s interview, I realised that it was not just people around me. A lot of people seem to think fashion can’t be smart, but now, I just don’t care. 

Recently, I read an article where a Princeton University English professor Elaine Showalter said, “My passion for fashion can sometimes seem a shameful secret life.” For a long time, I’ve kept this blog a secret. Well, not really a secret, but I avoid telling people about it. Why? 1) They instantly assume I’m dumb, 2) I’m not good with compliments (let’s talk about this another day). But no more. I’m tired and sick of people’s assumptions and I just realize that it’s pointless for me to live like fashion is my dirty secret. 

I’m going to start with this:

I love fashion. 
I care about what I wear, and that does not make me dumb. 






 Love,
Sonshu


Chiffon top: Vero Moda, Pants: Commercial Street, Shoes: Pondicherry, Crop top: Don’t remember

Friday, April 4, 2014

I’m fat, let’s talk about it?

I’m fat. 

I don’t have a problem with it, I don’t see why anyone should. Honestly, it’s not frustrating, but stupid when people either try and tell me how I should ‘lose weight’ or ‘think about dieting’ when I’m really happy being fat. When I was in school, I remember the weird things people would call me. And yes, I did get offended. Hell, fat was a bad word in school. But over the years words like ‘thick’ and ‘fleshy’ have been used instead of fat and that is plain annoying. I’m not thick, I’m not fleshy. I’m fat, let’s all just accept it, shall we? Why is it wrong for me to wear a dress? What is so horrid about my legs? That they are fat is a problem to you? Who told you to look? I’ve constantly noticed how people have double standards when it comes to sartorial options. Why aren’t fat people allowed to wear crop tops or dresses? Okay, it’s one thing if someone is uncomfortable wearing it, but honestly, if I’m okay with it, why should anyone have a problem with it. Do we not have the right to wear shorts because it’s summer and we’re feeling hot? And what is with everyone giving free advice about weight loss, I’d really rather not listen to what you have to say when it comes to weight loss. If I wanted, I would have enrolled myself in a gym, okay? 

I wasn’t always this confident about my body. It may seem like it, but I wasn’t. It took me a while, and lot of peace making in the head to reach here. I must say blogging has helped me a lot with it. But apart from that, I just realised that I’m proud of who I am in whatever shape I am. And honestly, my size doesn’t really matter when I’m working. So I just accept and love the way I am. Today, I can proudly wear skirts, crop tops and just about anything without a care because I know that if I want, I can truly carry it off and size has nothing to do with that. Of course I still do have some issues from time to time, but I’ll never really bother when people tell me I should lose weight, because I believe that the joke is on them. I wish and strongly hope that someday everyone will be able to see that such things are trivial, and irrelevant to beauty, but right now, I’m just going to be happy that I know at least 10 people who can think like this.  

I’m fat and I love it. 

You?







Blouse: Custom made, Dupatta: Mom’s, Skirt: Marks and Spencer, Necklace: Stalkbuylove, Earrings: Westside

I’m a teeny bit obsessed with this necklace. #JustSaying

All photographs were shot on a tripod. 


Love,
Sonshu

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ready

Home n. the place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household. 
This is the story of she. She often wondered what home was. She never really understood what a family dinner was, nor did she comprehend who lived at home. She never ever felt home, never felt permanence, because of the temporality of existence. She moved constantly, in her thoughts, fleeting from one place to another in search of freedom, in search of happiness, in search of a home that she never knew how to define. She held on to her memories, stained glasses and dirty shoes as she fought the pain, the terror and the tremors. She never forgot those happy moments which gave her hope even when she felt like she had transcended to Erebus. “We have to move. It’s time to go to the new home,” they said. She nodded, but just lay there looking at the curtains shuffling, the photographs that filled the bare walls, the books that were stacked all over. She would carry them with her, to the next place, and the next. Maybe that was her home. The shards of glass that held her tears, paper filled with words of love, trinkets that jingled with memories of sleepovers and cuddles, pillows that smelt like joy and stained glasses with traces of chocolate. That was her permanence amidst the swishes of time, it was her safe haven. Home was not the place or the people, home was the memories. And she was ready to make a new home. 










Black dress: Thrifted, Dupatta: Mom’s, Necklace: Stalkbuylove, Shoes: Pondicherry 

Love,
Sonshu

All photographs were shot using a tripod. 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Finding a release




There’s something about writing - it releases you. It pulls out your raw thoughts and turns them into letters and words. It makes you think about those thoughts and then place them. It gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning. And then it goes and unfurls everything and makes you feel lost. Makes you feel like a speck in the field of dots. Then you write more and you’re back to thinking and breathing and believing in those words as you type them. Hoping someone will read? Or maybe not. But when they do read, you wonder what they are thinking. You want to know. You’re curious. Not because you want to sync your thoughts, but because the beauty of words is in its difference to the reader. It is never the same - to you and to me. But there’s something about it, so powerful, so encapsulating, that binds us together. So much in a word, but to him it’s just another word. 

I thought posting on Jan 1 would help me come back here and post often, but alas, the next post happens more than a month later. Well, I can’t entirely say I was demotivated to blog, because I was not. It’s just hard to find time amidst learning new things, being a part of many projects and reading research papers. And the weirdest part is that my timings are erratic, so I can’t even ask mom to shoot for me. Ugh. It’s frustrating. I love this space. I need to get back here. 

It’s that time of the year again, the end of another semester. Gazillion things to be done, but here I sit typing away on my laptop because I really need to be here, in this space. It felt horrible and wrong to just not come here for a month. And I dug up some pictures that a Pingu shot for me at her place. The stories from this night are pretty amazing and I’ll save that for another day. Maybe over hot chocolate at Starbucks? Oh, these shoes are officially dead. RIP beautiful shoes. 





 Photo credits: Pingu aka Sneha

See you soon?

Love,
Sonshu

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