On the first day of London Fashion Week, last Friday the 19th, I carefully dressed myself in black to avoid making any fashion decisions and got the bus to Somerset House. I volunteered as a human sign post for the Fashion Week in June, but this time was different. I was a participant.
On my way to the bus stop outside Brixton station i wasked through the decaying covered market, alive only from a few coffee shops, the best pizza place I’ve ever been to, and the shop that sells, from what I can identify, voodoo candles. I walked through the narrow 1920’s arcade, past the hairdressers containing one chair and a sink that looks over sized in the small shop, past a man watching fire eating on a small television overwhelmed by loud reggae music blaring out from the CD shop on the other side.
I catch the bus and get a seat, a rarity even in the middle of the day on Brixton road. A man behind me starts singing as I pass the council estates that somewhat define Lambeth and the elaborately dressed African women interspersed with women in burkas that somewhat define this part of South London.
I’m going to London Fashion Week to see what I’m told is the cutting edge of fashion for the Autumn/Winter of 2010, a year I’m barely familiar with and a subject that I’m even less so.
As the bus gets closer to Kennington, the streets empty and the houses get nicer. A man in front of me is taking his son to London for the first time and pointing at the London Eye as it peeks above the terraced houses. The first time the boy has ever seen it. He’s being told stories of London when his father was a boy.
The juxtaposition of everything I’ve seen so far, and the anticipation of London Fashion Week is an odd sensation. It’s the juxtaposition of the cutting edge of western fashion and non-western tradition. The juxtaposition of my surroundings in a decidedly poor section of London, on a bus, a decidedly unglamorous way of arriving to London Fashion Week, the difference between intentions of the other people around me, and the clothing people are wearing.
I’ve never really paid attention to what other people were wearing, unless of course it was particularly silly, but now I’m seeing all the details and wondering about the intentions not only of destination of the people around me, but the intentions in clothing. I’m trying to understand the difference, rather than the disparity of surroundings and clothes, of status symbols that I don’t understand.