An inquiry from a fellow fashion blogger sparked this next series of posts from I.F. Content Director, Kelly Sullivan (thanks again fashionablepostulations).A fellow fashion theory junkie was asking about the fashion scene in California, and how fashion theory as a discipline is studied and structured in California academia. In answering this question, I realized how unique my position is (as a frequent traveller between the coasts and writer of fashion in both areas) in being able to identify differences and make comparisons between fashion systems on either side of the country. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing and analyzing fashion enterprises located in various parts of the U.S. coastline including: Northern California, Southern California, The Greater Boston Area, and Manhattan. Starting with the places I’ve lived and moving to the ones I’ve only visited. If you have any specific questions you wish for me to address, please me sure to contact me. I am going to start with Northern California, since this is my current location (for the next 4 days that is). Northern California is paradise; I dare you to find any current or past resident that would say otherwise. Between the valley, the mountains, and the bay area, all geographic typographies are within driving distance. This might be why there is an air and attitude in Nor Cal of quaint familiarity and unspoken kinship that I have yet to find anywhere else. Getting a genuine smile from a passerby on the street is not out of the ordinary, nor is striking up the occasional conversation with a stranger waiting in line at the organic farm stand. Those happy California cows we are always hearing about can be found roaming free range in the vast rolling hills of Nor Cal, spending their days in the fresh outdoors, eating hearty grass and occasionally getting into the road causing a minor back up along the gorgeous, winding Highway 1 that runs along the Pacific sea coast.
The people are laid back and use silly slang like “hella” and “jenky” and enjoy a 4:20 culture that is vibrant, booming, and unabashed. The superficial feel that is often found in high profile fashion cities is nonexistent in Nor Cal. In fact, instead of focusing on exclusivity and a “trickle-down” approach to fashion (the idea that the “fashion elite”, celebrities, fashion houses, designers, and style icons introduce fashions to society which are then adopted by the masses), the Northern California fashion system is more interested in benefitting the entire network – of which is defined at and compromised of not only those buying and interpreting fashion (i.e. the consumer), but also those designing it, selling it, as well as those producing it. I truly admire the way this area thinks about, reflects on, and reacts to the consequences of fashion, from all perspective, and believe it should be looked to as a model for implementing positive and successful fashion systems. Stay tuned for a more magnified look into Northern California as I discuss and analyze this underrepresented, yet forward-thinking fashion area with a thicker lens. Xo, K