Firstly, I would like to personally thank you for signing up for my newsletter - it’s great to have you here!
For those of you who may follow me on Instagram, you likely have observed my general posting of the big piece I worked on for almost a month in the Color Bound collection - the bulk of my focus has been wrapped up in finishing this piece (no pun intended!) It turned out amazing, but whew!, it really took a lot outta me:
Had a recoup for a moment but now I'm back in the studio and very excited about the next set of pieces to share with you!
Soooo, something interesting happened to me a few weeks ago. I was ‘scouted’ through Instagram for a modeling opportunity. As someone who’s never done such a thing professionally, I had to reach out to a friend who does do his sort of thing all the time to see if it was a legit offer. Turns out it’s pretty standard stuff. Interestingly, this was a non-union offer, giving me the impression that scouting folks who are not represented by a modeling agency or union is one way to pay less for talent. Since it wasn’t terribly pay (not that I’d have any comparison) and I was curious, I decided to start filling out the application.
It initially described a little of what I was applying to, a campaign for a big brand name fashion company highlighting genderqueer artists/creative folks by featuring their work or workspace either through photos or video, so yeah, that’s pretty neat and I’m happy to participate (while never quite sure that I fit into the group of people they’re aiming for).
I’m filling out the initial general questions regarding gender/sexual preference etc, skimming over the essay answers I need to compose explaining my passion/work. But, here’s where the big pause happened for me, they requested my clothing/shoe sizes.
Not body measurements, but straight up clothing sizes. Women’s clothing sizes are basically arbitrary and Mens’ at least use standard measurements (but things can vary from brand to brand) - if I had any sort of extreme gender dysphoria this question would have really sent me into a tailspin. Ultimately, nbd for me since I make clothing and can easily grab the basic measurements.
But then, my imagination jumps to me modeling this big brand’s clothing while holding/wearing my own work or being filmed in the studio...and this idea brings up some really complicated feelings and thoughts. So, instead of completing the application, I start to do a little research on the company and begin compose an email in reply:
“As an artist who is working hard to get in front of those who are excited about, and would be willing to pay the asking price, for my work - this opportunity has the potential to help boost my work by putting me in front of that wider audience. And I wouldn't sneeze at the money being offered.
That said, my goal is to remove myself from the Fashion Industrial Complex as I have become aware of the toll it has taken on humans and our environment. Over the years I have been using my skills to mend and repair, and finally, to sew my own clothing. This has allowed me to truly understand the time and skill it takes to create a garment, regardless of quality. I understand that I still participate in the industry, with purchasing pre-owned clothing, or the few items of clothing that I do buy new, or even with new fabric I purchase to make clothing. But it is not on my radar to seek out fashion labels - I am ever on the lookout for quality (or fun) in the garments I purchase, and always working towards quality when opting to make my own (with mixed results). However, should I take the plunge to pay more than $100 for a single garment - I'll do it with someone whom I have likely had a conversation about the process of making the piece by their own hand. In this way, I have slowed the rate at which I consume finite resources, to untangle myself from mass production one small step at a time.
Being asked questions about my garment size feels arbitrary in the face of how I have chosen to live (who's garment are we using to base this information on?) Anyway, I don't have a clue - I use body measurements for sewing. My understanding is the intention is to adorn me in [company redacted] gear for a real high fashion photoshoot or filmed commercial campaign to show [company redacted]’s support of gender/sexual identity diversity (that part is awesome btw).
This is flattering and very enticing, but also goes against the thread of who I have become and the ways in which I choose to live my life….”
Despite starting this email, I didn’t end up sending it. After a considerable pause of several days and some enlightening conversations with my teen - who asked me if I would regret not applying to the opportunity (regardless of my misgivings) - I decided to apply.
But I never heard back. I'm mildly disappointed but mostly relieved - I want the glamour and publicity, but I want it on my terms in ways that align more closely with my values.