I thought really hard before writing this post and adding the accompanying images - me faffing about in a t-shirt, appearing not to have a care in the world. I was so worried it would be seen as insensitive and out of touch.
After yesterday’s atrocities in and around London Bridge and the loss of life and injury which has once again shaken this beautiful city, the country and the world to the core - who cares about clothes? Nothing matters more than our loved ones and the safety of our country, so why on earth would I choose to write today about art and fashion?
Because in times like this, the things we love matter a lot. They are a comfort and a release and they serve as some form of uniformity when the new normal seems to be fear of attack. I don’t know why the evil bastards did what they did yesterday and I don’t want to face up to their motives and ongoing intentions. Last night as news of yet another terrorist horror unfolded on the news and spread like wildfire through social media, I shook and cried and gripped my husband’s hand even tighter. I watched my baby sleeping and when he woke up at 2am I held him and whispered that I loved him.
This morning in the light of day though, I felt frightened and heartbroken for those who had lost their lives or been injured in the name of terror but also really, really angry. How dare they try to prevent us from enjoying our freedoms, to constrain or change us. To stop us doing the things we love and feel passionate about. The things that make us, us.
We all need a creative outlet and for me, that’s fashion. Yesterday afternoon, hours before it felt like the world had turned in on itself I popped into designer Simeon Farrar’s store near my house in Walthamstow, East London. It’s a creative, fluid space with art hanging on the walls, clothes suspended boldly on rails and next season’s stock amassed and ready to be dispatched.
I spotted this amazing, super fashion-y t-shirt and it made me grin. Members of fashion’s coolest gang, like Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs, Lee McQueen and Paul Smith, brought to life by Farrar’s charming illustration.
He is a British illustrator, artist and designer and founder of label Blackscore. As well as an architect of his own respected collections, Farrar has collaborated with fair trade fashion pioneer People Tree and his infamous Kate Mouse t-shirt raised funds for Save The Children’s 2011 emergency earthquake appeal. He worked with the Gynaecological Cancer Fund and TopShop to create the Lady Garden range of hoodies, t-shirts and sweatpants to raise awareness of gynae cancer symptoms and the campaigns were fronted by eminent models and fashion influencers. I met Simeon and his partner yesterday, and they were warm and down to earth and I left feeling encouraged and inspired.
So, in the grand scheme of things, of course clothes don’t really matter. As the postcard that came with my purchase quips, ‘this t-shirt will make you look good, get dirty and be cooler than all your other t-shirts’. This t-shirt will not, though ‘let you down, lie to you and it won’t save the world’.
Right now, I don’t know what will save the world and that worries me very much. But we shouldn’t stop doing the things we do, the things we enjoy or from expressing ourselves creatively. These are our privileges, our values and the sheer beauty of living in a vibrant city such as London.