At 8pm last Thursday, I was dressed in yellow gypsy pants, a friend’s woollen turtle neck and a pair of grey slides. I’m mid-gram when my phone buzzes. It’s an e-mail confirming the launch of World of Fashion, an app where you act as a celebrity stylist, shopping for clothes and attending A-list parties.
I’m not receiving this e-mail because I was once subscribed to Star-doll. Admittedly, this would’ve also made sense; World of Fashion has been created by the same people. This time, however, I’m receiving an e-mail about the game because I’m in it.
That’s right. The same girl who undeniably resembled a camp instructor, and did not close to “rock it” is also officially an avatar of Star-doll’s latest release.
“People are looking up to more than just Taylor Swift these days. They’re watching people closer to home: bloggers, you-tubers and online celebrities.”
“Like Zoella right?”
“Yeah, and McKenzie Collins!” said a strong Finnish accent over Skype.
I had to laugh. Months onwards, I lay on one of the picnic benches outside my hall. It was a cool Wellington evening, and I was waiting for Annie. We’d planned to wander up the Te Ahumairangi hill. We’d bring blankets, a feast and some soul tunes in exchange for one damn soulful view.
But I didn’t need to be 50m higher to begin reflection.
I looked over to my little house. I mean, it’s a room in a building, but it’s my place nonetheless. My name’s on the door, and when you walk in, there’s this mean Beyoncé poster. I’m more of a Rihanna person, but Bey’s got braids and she’s flipping both birds. I guess I like it because it’s fierce. I also mistake her for Parris Gloebel on most glances and I’m pretty cool with that.
This little room, it’s full of fashion books and records; I don’t have a record player, but purely imagining a muffled Otis filling the room, is, well, again not at all equivalent – but as a student, you have to learn to bask in the mere idea of it all.
I’ve adorned my walls with a mix of bold and whimsical photography. There is no room for breath amongst magazine clippings and movie posters. I like it this way; it reminds me of the world. It (the wall) is incredibly dominated by black culture and beauty, such to a point which is funny when your lecturers rave on about racism in modern-day media. If only we all took a visit to my humble abode, Vogue and the workplace might stumble upon some much-needed balance.
It’s not obvious – or so I don’t deem it – but I should really clean my room more. I’ve learnt that moving out does not influence an increased taste for vacuuming. In my room, we have a rule. You only iron something if it absolutely needs it. You learn to love the wrinkle or naturally you come to hate the top. Note to self: the purposeful wrinkle is much less effective when all one’s clothes exist in such tradition – also potentially damp because we didn’t have $2 to pay for drying this week.
Potentially the most grabbing section of my room, apart from an increasingly diverse wardrobe, is my food cabinet. A gold Whittaker’s wrapper and Special K box – both empty – remind me I should probably implement some healthier eating routine soon.
I am unashamedly the one who fills the fridge with cans of beans. It’s Mexican almost every night in this household. We like to cook a can of Watties for 3 minutes in the microwave, whip out a floury tortilla, and throw some feta in the mix. We don’t get sick of it – though we also aren’t open to complaints. This could explain a lot.
I give you a taste into my raw lifestyle (not till four, this is 24/7), not to act on behalf of the #socialmediaisreal campaign, but to share it’s complete insignificance. Who you are – that is, the names you go by (or don’t), the places you come from (and don’t) – say nothing about the things you will do (or won’t).
That Thursday evening, I looked out across Wellington City. And these golden lights, in their minuscule size, fought for my attention. They needn’t have. As a whole, I was captured: by the way they didn’t once stop moving. They bounced off each other. This city was excited to be alit; surprised even, to be buzzing at 9 or 10 on a weekday.
And in that moment, as I looked at those golden lights below, I thought of myself as one. Wrapped in my blanket, and feeding myself bliss balls, I too wasn’t someone in the way that one light was not something in amongst this vast world. Many people could not see what I was doing or who I was, the way many people would not notice or see this one light.
I thought about how tomorrow we’d all wake up, how we’d be filled with images of people and of things, of aspirations and of ideas. And we would fail to notice the light at all.
But here’s the thing. I think the light keeps going, because it understands, much like we should, that life isn’t about being someone or something. Such is not the same, why it doesn’t bare similar characteristics, to the act of doing something. If you have a thing, why, if you’ve got a dream (source: MLK), now that’s what matters. It’s about what makes you passionate. Success will be a mere pebble on the pathway to fulfilment. The entire prize will encompass so much more – so much more.
The truth is, I know I’m doing something cool here. And it’s not because you can dress either me or Rihanna for the Grammy’s after-party. It’s because connecting with those who will listen: this is what absolutely fills me. And in light of it, I’m not afraid to be one in a million.
Download World of Fashion here.
Check out how other people have dressed me here.
Wearing: Surge (New Zealand Vintage)
Photos by Darina