This is Mama Leroy here. And I am pissed.
I was recently having a glass of pinot grigio with my great and glamourous girlfriends. We were talking about the fashion capitals of the world and how so many trends of street style to designer brands ALL trickle down from haute holylands like Paris and London.
Then we began to wonder what the vast lands of Vancouver, BC said to the world. Apparently, mass consensus, (especially from the greasy table of men next to us) slurred to me, that my love-you-long-time lover Vancouver is known for not couture and being the city by the sea BUT FOR LULULEMON SWEATPANTS! WHAT?!
I died a little inside.
Vancouver is my friend, Vancouver is my baby. Vancouver raised me and I’ll stand by and take care of Vancouver. So since there are two kinds of evil people: people who do evil things, and people who see evil things being done and don’t do anything about it; I refuse to be either.
Vancouver, we need to have a talk.
Fashion is THE MOST accesible and mandatory way for a person to express themselves. Unless you’re a nudist!
Fashion, is a language, and when you hone that tongue and realize what you wear is YOUR physical statement to the world; I’m sure Lululemon will miss our business. When you put on that jacket, you are expressing yourself. When you put on that secret weapon dress, you are expressing yourself. Expressing yourself is ART!!! And since that Art Gallery in my hood is coincidentally dubbed “V.A.G.”, I KNOW Vancouver womyn LOVE their art. So why skip it when it turns to your clothes?
But don’t fret. Mama is not one to judge, criticize and walk away. I AM HERE FOR YOU VANCOUVER. Mama Leroy is going to teach you some things. So grab your Starbucks and sit your beautiful behind down! YOU, are going to learn about your art. You, are going to learn about style.
Now, when you wake up in the morning, and slip on that H&M skirt; not many realize how many WOMYN before you fought for the right to wear that skirt. Not many realize how many pioneers and freedom fighters fought and threw themselves in front of horse carts in the dirty street to try to earn them the rights to choose: ‘mini’ or ‘maxi’? Amelia Earhart, Josephine Baker, Oprah, just to name a few.
So, take yourself back in time with me.
It is the 1900′s. There is no shower. No microwave. House chores and raising your children and not having a drinking problem are a “womyn’s job”. And your husband, he has NO IDEA what in the world deoderant is.
In the beginning, youth was not celebrated. Not everybody wanted to be permanently 25. *cough* Madonna *cough* God bless her.
It was about wearing dresses, sans cage now, which flaunted a LOWER bust, a bigger bootay and a nipped in waist. Think of the famous Victorian undergarments. “Haute Couture” was born, and horse races were the runways of the 1900′s. Designers actually sent their models, age 30 to 35, down to the horse track in these exquisite designs to make other womyn green with envy.
The 1920′s came round, and womyn everywhere were angry. Womyn, wanted to live as equals and be just as comfortable as men! So, no more constricting baby-crushing corsets. Out came the slimmer and shorter and scandalous skirts and dresses. “The Flapper” was BORN.
Youth, became the new ‘in’. People wore hats without rims. Dropped waistlines. Fashion was at the forefront, and womyn really began to understand the strategic importance of how they wanted to look.
Then, the 1930′s. ‘The Great Depression’ was imminent. Womyn were forced to dowd up again with more conservative hemlines, natural waistlines. But! This became the beginning of the understanding of day-wear and evening-wear.
Womyn would go out during the day to shop for the home and would come back to manage everything, so clothing mobility was put into consideration. Metallic fabrics, synthetic cloths were invented.
Now, a dark time, 1940′s. World War Two broke out and with conservative dressing already being enforced and praised; there were now rations. So everyone, rich or poor, was encouraged to mend their clothes. Service uniforms were worn day and night. Womyn wore short blocky jackets, rounded shoulders.
But the roaring 50′s made womyn tramps. FINALLY! Skirts were shorter than ever before. AND finally rations came in handy when it justified the sans nylons movement. Womyn, were finally showing a bare leg. God bless America.
Also, details like lining designer wear with expensive fabrics, ornate accesories and the peplum detail were born. There were nipped in waists. Sportswear, was also being popularized. There were 2 piece bikini’s, but they were still much too European, so the fashion-vanilla folk wore one pieces on the beach.
The 60′s and the 80′s came in without halt. Then, youth rebelling meant hippies and bohemian chic was all the rage. Fashion became a statement for pro-war or anti-war. Designers began to copy street style for the first time. Bell bottoms, micro-mini skirts, Canadian Tuxedos, Madonna jelly bracelets. This was a time of rebellion and true liberation. Grunge followed with the 1990′s and in came the plaid shirts and bad Mariah Carey perms.
And that was your crash course in fashion with Mama Leroy, writing this, just in hopes if we understand and know about our art more, it would be more important to us. Because I REFUSE to let New York and L.A, kick our sweet Vancouver tukis. We live in the land of a thousand great sushi restuarants, Hollywood North, the home of the 2010 Olympics, some of the best aboriginal culture and a riot-surviving economy.
We need to stand for Vancouver. We need to stand up for our home and what we believe in. So take off those sweatpants and into some sequined jeans! And those better be Manolo Blahniks.
With love and a summarized history of style, Leroy Wan