When we started this issue, we were struck with how big the word fashion was. It could bring forth images of haute couture and glossy magazines, but also the never ending task of laundry. Fashion is dressing for work or school in the morning, but it is also demanding safe working conditions for workers in garment factories. With so many meanings in the word fashion, we were curious to see how Room contributors thought the aspect of culture that is so distinctly gendered contends with feminist thinking and living. In short, we wondered if fashion was feminist?
What we found was despite the grand gestures of fashion in media, most of our contributors explore fashion as a peripheral aspect of everyday life. Jeans are slid off, shoes are cleaned and stowed away, and fast fashion T-shirts are selected then re-selected.
In our interview, model Stacey McKenzie subverts assumptions about the high end fashion industry and discusses her work on self-esteem building. Poet Elizabeth Bachinsky takes a deeper look at the iconic fashion tome, Vogue, and Toronto-based artist Cathy Daley skews the familiar Little Black Dress silhouette in her oil pastel series Untitled.
What we came to see throughout the work in this issue is that fashion is intertwined into almost every aspect of life, and so we present to you the first issue in Room’s 37th volume, “Fashion, Trend, and Personal Style.” Creating the issue was akin to putting together the ultimate outfit: a mix of accessories, fabrics, textures, and that little something else that reflects a personal style.
Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of five poetry books, including most recently The Hottest Summer in Recorded History. Her poetry has been nominated for awards including the Pat Lowther Award, The George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, and the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. She lives in New Westminster, B.C. where she is an instructor of creative writing and the Editor of EVENT magazine.
Cathy Daley lives in Toronto and has been exhibiting her work throughout Canada and internationally since 1980. Most notably her work is in the collection of The National Gallery of Canada and The Art Gallery of Ontario. She is an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Julie Eliopoulos spends her days teaching and some inspired evenings writing. Her poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Room (36.3) and Vallum. She lives in Milton, ON.
Toni Hamel is a multi-disciplinary artist from Oshawa, ON. Her work has been shown at galleries across Ontario including Aird Gallery (Toronto), Art Gallery of Peterborough, Latcham Gallery (Stouffville), Station Gallery (Whitby), and Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa). She is the recipient of two Ontario Arts Council grants.
Taryn Hubbard’s writing has appeared in The Golden Handcuffs Review, EVENT, CV2, subTERRAIN and others. She joined the Room collective in 2012, and her first poetry chapbook Diagnosis, Mother is forthcoming from dancing girl press (Chicago) in summer 2014. She lives in Surrey, B.C.
Nailah King is a member of the Room collective. She is a writer, avid reader, and blogger living in Toronto. A UBC alumnae, she is currently working on completing a thus far untitled manuscript in prose fiction. A lover of popular culture, art and 1980s Canadian classic, Degrassi Jr. High, you can find (some of) her writing at thedistractedcurator.tumblr.com.