My mother was a hippy. Or at least I think she was for a while. Then she became an anthropologist and before being a hippy she was a dedicated follower of the Rolling Stones, “before they were even famous”, apparently. She was even asked by the band to head their fan club in the USA. Each phase of her life seemed to take a couple years. Each phase of mine seemed to last a few months. As I’m writing this, over a hundred books are on shelves to my right. Books that cover different periods of music, art and style. From the clothing of the punk era, to the costumes from freak shows that toured America in the 1920s. Phases and trends of different cultural periods have fascinated me since my teens. Around the age of 19, I spent a few months tracking down the only professor in the world who specialised in the science and study of trend. He called himself a trendologist. I wanted to study with him but music came more naturally. Looking back on my choice it seems strange that I could have been interested in both music and trend at the same time. Good music is only created when you forget about the world around you and start to create your own little world. Trend and fashion can kill creativity.
About a year ago I went to see an early show of Lady Gaga’s in Los Angeles. I had just finished recording my second album and had become very curious about what she was doing. Back stage at the Wiltern theatre I ran into Kanye West and we decided to go for a drink after the show. Over the course of the evening Kanye spoke a lot about fashion. He discussed almost every type of trend in art and style that you could think of. I was amazed at his knowledge but completely confused. How can he keep on creating if he is so immersed in the “now”. He seems to be able to do both, I can’t.
When I write, I am lost. I loose contact with my friends and throw relationships in the air. I become desperate and really quite dirty. A shower is the last thing on my mind, so it’s a good job I don’t see anyone. That’s because I choose to focus on myself, my ideas, and create my own thing, far away from the current trends. I admire Kanye enormously, but the clothes confused me. I think he thought I would have something interesting to say about fashion and brands, but he quickly realised I was ignorant. Growing up with my hippy/ anthropologist/ groupie/ dress maker mother, meant that we always made most of the clothes we wore. Buying them was offensive to her.
I am not obsessed by trend in the way that I used to be. Trend has changed. Its not that trend is dead, its just that it moves too fast to be interesting. We are fed information so quickly nowadays and of course we consume it just as fast. But do we really remember all the things we come across? Trends are not just about the cut of a dress and the height of a heel. Trends are the result of a massive collective feeling and can shape art, culture but also history. If a trend moves too quickly however we are left with nothing more than a passing fad. I guess you could say that Trends are not made by pioneers of counterculture any more. The image of the London punk or the New York fashionista has never felt more dated. The trend makers are in front of a computer. Probably not very well dressed and on appearance would look terrifically unimpressive. But trends are made in forums and online. When Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash in 2003 whilst studying at Harvard, he had no idea that what he had created would turn into Facebook and would spark one of the biggest collective trends of all time. Love him or hate him for intruding on your privacy, he is one of the leading trend setters of the century and he still dresses like shit.
Looking back on my mother’s various phases its clear that she was doing her duty; spreading her beliefs and in turn helping spread a trend. Her efforts and the time it took made her value her involvement, she felt like a pioneer. Now that trends spread so quickly, no one has time to develop a sense of attachment to them. Trends without soldiers who care are never going to win the battle against time.
Translation in Progress
by Mika via xL Repubblica