By Rebecca Smith 26 Jan, 2018
So you want to publish a Print Magazine?
Yes I do.
Are you mad?
Who are your financial backers?
Where is your business plan?
…Hmm…I’ve got a vision board is that good enough?
You must have loads of experience?
Well no actually, unless loving words and pictures — my Twinkle subscription had me hooked at the age of 6 — counts.
What do you have then?
Friends with an equal amount of energy and enthusiasm.
Are you all mad?
It is the basis of our relationship .
There is a saying in academia “all research is me-search”. I suspect this is even truer when the researcher is a psychologist. All my life I have loved clothes. I have worked with fashion and design in some form or other since I was fifteen. I switched careers to become a therapist and am now completing a positive psychology masters. It was natural to turn to dress and fashion as a research topic.
I could chart my life’s ups and downs, the emotional highs and lows, through the clothes that I wore. From my wedding dresses (two) to the dress I wore for my brothers funeral, or the party frock I have on in the photo of my fifth birthday to the jumpsuit I wore for my fiftieth, or one of the many stripy tee-shirts I have owned in the last thirty-five years, every garment has a story to tell. Embedded in my wardrobe is the journal of my states of mind. …
I am conducting an experiment on myself and for the next 7 days I will be dressing each day with the sole intention of being happy, no outfit will be allowed if it doesn’t bring a smile to my lips when I look in the mirror. Expect to see plenty of stripy tee-shirts! If anyone is intrigued I will put the outfits on my instagram page, @wearingwellbeing, with a comment on my emotional response using the hashtag #wearingwellbeingweek
It would be so nice if anyone else is up to joining me and intentionally getting dressed each day based on connecting with feelings. …
I have personal dilemmas to sustainable fashion that are very unfashionable. The term alone annoys me: it is vague for a start, an empty term that has no concrete meaning. What am I meant to be sustaining if I consume an organic t-shirt, purchase overpriced second-hand fashion or take my clothes back to a high street store for recycling? In my mind sustaining something means keeping it the same, I don’t want the same, I want better, I want ‘flourishing’. For me and for others.
I would like to make my fashion-consumption contribute to human wellbeing but not through a process of being made to feel guilty. Much of the current marketing around environmental concerns and the welfare of those involved in the production of our clothes invoke me to feel bad about loving fashion — which I do- and even worse about shopping on the high street — which I also do. There is something about sustainable fashion that is moral, that tells me I’m a shallow, selfish person for loving that new dress unless its ethical credibility can be traced every step of the way adding pounds to the production costs and making it only available to high-earners. If you can purchase sustainable labels you are a better person than those of us lesser mortals who can only afford Primark; don’t you care about the world you ignorant fashion-lover? …
My mother has dementia; she is no longer the powerful woman of my childhood, the mother I had such a difficult relationship with, the woman whose wardrobe I longed to grow into.
Instead, she is in a nursing home with three dresses to her name and shoes with Velcro straps; but she hasn’t lost her connection to fashion. On my first visit to her new care home she recognised me by my pink boots, a slow dawning coming to her from my feet upwards. I had chosen my outfit to catch her attention, as I have always done. My mother’s estimation of how I look is as important to me at fifty-two as it was at five. …
Have you ever sat on a packed commuter train going into the city early on a workday morning and been struck by the bland and boring manner that most people are dressed in? And then looked at the glum facial expressions of those same commuters and wondered if there was a connection between grey suits and long-faces?
I regularly wear loud shoes, often silver or sparkly, I try to give fellow travellers something to smile about on their journey, and they do. Sometimes going as far as striking up a conversation with me, who would have thought footwear could get someone to look up from their mobile phone and talk to a stranger? …
Mindfulness is everywhere we look at the moment; I feel that it has been commodified excessively, do we really need an app to remind us to pay attention? I’m not judging you if you do merely asking you to think about whether it is necessary. I teach mindful meditation so I am a fan, but I am also a great believer in finding your own way to do something. Being mindful crept up on me slowly; an organically evolving concept that stealthy edged its way into my daily life and has become part of who I am rather than what I do. Reading the books, listening to the podcasts and attending the classes had taught me how to do mindfulness but it was only after one ordinary Monday experience of living with heightened attention that mindfulness became integrated into my way of being. …
All week I have been thinking about the women who shaped my life. I can trace the parts of myself that attach to each and every female who has influenced who I have been at times in my life and who I am now as I become the age many of them were when I recall them most clearly. I have grown up surrounded by wonderful women, beautiful, intelligent and unique; each of them has left an imprint on my mind, my sense of place in the world and my way of being. …
We are all busy, we love to make excuses, to find why we haven’t got time to follow through on the careful evidence based research that well-intentioned Positive Psychologists spend hours over. Gratitude Journals litter our desks with post-it notes of retreats we mean to attend, we download mindfulness apps, make lists of inspirational Ted Talks and then turn on the telly and open a bottle of wine…or is that just me?
I want ways to integrate research is natural to my way of being, fits my lifestyle and can be attached to existing habits, because I know that’s how it will stick; when I do something that doesn’t require a great deal of effort, feels like fun and soon shows me tangible results I will keep doing it. …