If I could clone myself, one of my clones would be a fashion geek. He would obsess about the history of fashion (clothes), about the sociology of fashion. He would learn to sew, fraternize with tailors. Being Indian, he would dive into the history of Indian fashion and attire, and all the different sort of ways in which one could convey meaning through clothing. He would perhaps open his own clothing line and be a fashion designer. He would design, in particular, for high-achieving individuals.
He would want to design for people like Arundati Roy and other public intellectuals. He’d want to design for Michelle Obama, and #blacklivesmatter activists.
He would write essays analyzing the difference between Princess Diana’s and Princess Kate’s wedding gowns, between the different styles of various Popes, the before-and-after of Mr T’s bling-bling, the role of bling-bling itself in hip-hop culture and how that’s going to change over the next few decades, the meaning of Kanye West’s fashion work. He would study the sneakerhead phenomenon, how and why Singapore Airlines stewardesses simplified their makeup.
He would analyze the typography and stylings of fashion magazines and wonder if they could be reimagined from scratch – and probably experiment with that himself.
He would develop a remix of fashions that gave Indian men an identity that was modern and yet rooted in their heritage and culture. He’d want to dress Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Tony Kanal, Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Kumail Nanjiani, Rajinikanth, etc – and frame them as modern ‘royalty’.
He’d probably have strong opinions about everything that’s wrong about the fashion industry – too many big, fancy words, too many silly egos and pretentious wankers, too much one-upmanship, not enough fundamental service to the wearers of clothes. Models should be powerful, not walking clothes hangers or simplified Objects of Desire.
It would be important to him to be honest and to speak in a straightforward, understandable manner. He would have a healthy suspicion of “fashion capitals of the world” and “thought leaders”, and focus on following his own nose, his own taste.