What Fashion Really Means.

The past month has been incredible.

When I was a little girl, I remember holding up a cover of Teen Vogue with Ali Michaels, Karlie Kloss, and Chanel Iman, and knowing deep down that I wanted to model. I would not shake this idea from my mind as I scrolled through countless behind-the-scenes videos, reading articles back to front, inside-out, beginning to end. I’d write down the names of everyone on the masthead, taking notes, even writing little corrections or edits on the inside of each issue. Nothing, to me, was as special as the art of expression I found in fashion. Even in dance class, I’d force my friends to pose along the barre with me, much to their adorable chagrin.

Looking on my life right now, I can’t explain how happy I am with how I’ve grown. My time as a model was such a gift, and despite all of the scary moments nestled within it, I’m so eternally grateful; ecstatic, even, that I had the chance to really break open. Each time I was critiqued, it gave me a chance to truly understand my foundation, the pillars I’d been built on. In short, when I let people break me, destroy my confidence, this gave me the perfect moment to sit back, analyze who I was, and build an even stronger foundation; this time with a familiarity that I’d never known before.

When I was modelling, I saw the images I created in a very two-dimensional way; how the clothes looked, and how I looked. No matter what, it was so hard to take myself out of the equation…be that a result of my youth, insecurity, or desire to be known as a model…I’m not sure. Now that I’ve merged into the world of art direction; creating images, writing about them, going to shows and watching the entire process in effervescent motion…something has cleared. My vision isn’t like the focus button on Instagram, where you only see one part and the rest fades away, but rather resembles something with the sharpness cranked on high. I feel like a hawk sometimes, taking it all in, totally okay with this chilly Canadian winter because the light I get from fashion nourishes me plenty. I am so, so, in love with this moment in my life, and it’s all thanks to the past. A past, I must admit, that wasn’t all rainbows and cake. Sometimes I didn’t get to eat that cake, and hey, you need to endure a rainstorm to see one of those rainbows.

My very first art directing job felt like a second skin — it was so comfortable, so fun, and such a blissful afternoon. Spent with a group of artists who were equally as passionate and unique, it made me so grateful to be part of an industry like ours. This is what I want you to know about fashion, because I can imagine how confused you may be, seeing flawlessness and saturated blue water enveloping perfectly toned beach babes every day. Fashion, at its core, is a place of expression, of art…of misfits. It’s a place just like Disney Land, where you shouldn’t have to deny your authentic spirit to gain admission to the show. Fashion is a place that only thrives when it’s inhabitants aren’t afraid to create. And by create I mean take your brain and go somewhere, draw something, think outside your means.

A snap from my very first gig as an art director. Clothes by Rani Kim, photo by Carlo Calope, model Stephanie Smith , and makeup by Brittany Sinclair.

With this in mind, respect your journey in life. Accept who you are in this very moment. And never change or ignore your authentic spirit. I’m sorry if this article is a little out there, but I felt like we needed a dose of #realtalk today.

Just go there. I’m so glad I did.

xoxo,
Madison

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