November 2002
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Nomads in Stilettoes? Pretty in Punk?
By Suzanne McC. , Age 14, Delta Secondary School, Delta, BC

In eighth grade, fashion was not a vital part of my life, but an issue which I sometimes cared about. So every month, I would look through my issues of "Seventeen Magazine" for ideas. I saw the usual articles, but one article in particular stuck out: an article on gypsies, an actual race of people being discriminated against in Eastern Europe. How horrible, I thought, but quickly turned the page, and life went on until one rainy morning in tenth grade.

I was reading the "Vancouver Sun," and an article for a section caught my eye: "Gypsy Queens." The article was announcing that the "Gypsy-Nomad" style was "in" at the moment. The local fashion industry designers were (putting $185 on) stiletto ballroom shoes and flimsy, mesh and taffeta dresses. Why would anyone put the label of a discriminated race on clothing like this? Could the girls in Romania do their farm work, housecleaning, and tending to their babies and children in STILETTOES and mesh? Can the nomads in Saudi Arabia wander the deserts in stilettoes? I don't think so.

In grade nine, I started to go through my non-conformist look, and yet again, "Seventeen Magazine" was my resource for new ideas on what to wear. So I'm flipping through one of the issues, when another article sticks out: "Punk Avenue Preppies" Punk dates back to the slummy, dock and harbor areas of Britain, where all the people could afford were $5 cargo pants, and scuffed up Wing Walkers! "Seventeen" was far from any kind of punk in that article. The people from those pages just looked like they couldn't dress themselves properly.

"Oh, look! A lovely girl sporting a lime green Payne Stewart golf hat, with a Dress Mac Duff kilt and a matching vest with a purple piece of string for a tie! Stylin!" That was the image that "Seventeen Magazine" was portraying. Somehow, I cannot imagine the people from the British docks wearing anything like that, much less paying $5 for it.

What burns me up inside is that the fashion industry is making expensive (yet truly beautiful) clothing when the fact is that the styles originate from something completely different, and with a completely different meaning. If I get so raged when I read this, then what will the real Gypsy-Nomads and REAL punks think? I smell rebellion and anarchy in the air.

I'm so appalled by what the fashion industry is making for fashions these days. I don't want to be a product of (that way of life) put into haute couture fashions. I'm making my point loud and clear by NOT wearing these fashions, or any other ones that have a name from a distinct way of life, or a way of people. Take that fashion industry – I'm sticking it to the man!


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