"Fashion" is a pretty broad term, but, like all things in life, its different sides can be accurately represented in possibly the greatest television show of all time, Daria.
Fashion, this...thing, on which I spend so much time, and brain power, and (sigh) money, has a pretty bad rap. But I'm going to make this post my go-to link when I attempt at replying to "WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT FASHION IT'S SO STOOPID" emails and set a few things straight right here, with polar opposite sisters Daria and Quinn Morgendorffer as my examples.
Quinn is vice president of her school's Fashion Club, which is actually a pathetic clique made up of her and three of her also shallow friends. A magazine called Waif serves as their life guide and they meet on a regular basis to discuss topics like when chartreuse will be back "in" and the sin that is clogs. "Who would've thought that being overdressed could be a bad thing?" Quinn once pondered after her camping accessories proved to be more novelty than practical in a blizzard.
Fashion, for Quinn, is about people liking and envying you. Quinn's fashion is about popularity and conventional beauty. Quinn's fashion is fashion we see in "women's" magazines and on reality TV and TV that isn't reality but still tries to depict the reality of the fashion industry as the beauty school dropout dream sequence in Grease, with Frankie Avalon as some Gayngel giving advice about nose jobs and all the backup singers as giant singing shoes. Quinn's fashion is monogram bags as trophies and small talking at parties and everything that I hate about the industry — the beauty standards, the obsession with youth, the obsession with trends, the sexism, the fact that everyone gives a shit about who wore who where and where they sat and who their friends are and arrrfllarrgggbaagaagrrrb. Quinn's fashion is the impression of fashion that I think is most common, as it's the most mainstream and the one easiest to sell and write about and make suitable for gossip and drama.
And then there's Daria's fashion.
Daria hates fashion, probably the same way Yohji Yamamoto hates fashion. And still, she has the coolest style ever, especially for a cartoon character that has to wear the same thing every day — an orange shirt, a dark green blazer, schoolgirl skirt, black tights, and combat boots. It's awesome because she doesn't know it's awesome — I would call it effortless, but that word has been abused by that contrived bedhead, shredded leather leggings look (which Vogue US put a solid end to in the "Point of View" page in this month's issue — THANK YOU.) It's like elderly women I saw gardening in alleyways when I went to Tokyo, or the kind of person who pops up on a street style blog and you can totally tell they don't give a shit about where their clothes are from or the fact that people will write comments about their outfit online. Daria doesn't care what others think about her, and definitely not her appearance, and that is what, really, it's all about. It's not about being what magazines want you to be; it's about the difficult act of being yourself, which, when it seems like the whole universe cares about appearance more than anything else, is a pretty courageous thing to do.