Twitter Laughed at the Idea of a 7-year-old Fashion Designer, But I Sketched Outfits at the Age of 5
I used to spend hours lying on the floor in front of the television sketching headless women in dresses.
Sadly, as I didn’t pop out of Katie Holmes’ vag, no one really gave a shit.
I guess I always had a thing for fashion. I loved dressing up and putting on impromptu fashion shows in front of my slightly bemused grandmother. I still remember a plastic bag full of scarves she kept in in her wardrobe as all the colors and fabrics swirled together inside it. I would fashion the scarves into dresses and skirts, draping and twisting until they reached a state of toga/belly dancer outfit.
There was also a pair of my mum’s white wedding stilettos: very tall and pointy. I’d struggle to put them on and then hobble up and down the living room. So really, I got to heels before Suri ever did.
One main difference between me and Suri the future fashion giant is that I did it in front of a TV with "Xena: Princess Warrior" -- and without as much cash. But at least, I made sure that I had the whole feminist thing covered.
It’s not that surprising that I also sketched dresses at the time. I explicitly remember thinking that the dresses drawn weren’t my dream dresses but something I wanted to see made. It was never a projection or extension of how I wished to look. It was about the dress and nothing but the dress.
I called up my grandma to see if she had any early examples of my work and to conduct a retrospective interview on the origins of my genius.
Sadly, she thought about it for a while and replied: “No, I threw out all the bits of paper that were crowding my space. Also, I found and read your diaries.”
Thanks, gran, for everything.
“OK. Do you remember what I used to draw?” I asked in the hope that my sketches left a lasting impression. After a moment or two, I got my answer: “Headless women in outfits.”
Here’s the thing, after a few drawings of women with heads and feet and arms, I realized that I didn’t really care, nor, could I really draw them. I concentrated on the body and the look. I do wish I had physical evidence to show you but I’ll have to hope that my words paint enough of a picture.
I drew a lot of maxis, full on glamazon looks –- not that I knew at the time. There were lots of one-shouldered dresses and definitely some halter necks, a thigh split or two may have crept it. Although I’d like to say I was inspired by Versace during the Gianni era, let's be real. It was more likely Xena.
I had these singular white cards (they were actually laboratory forms my gran used to bring -- steal? -- from work that were blank on one side), which were the perfect size to fit a single outfit on. I worked (ha!) with a biro and ignored absolutely everyone because I found it fun and engaging. Of course, because I had no name or celebrity, no one was going to try and market them for monetary gain.
So it's not wholly unbelievable that Suri is doing the same thing. We’ve seen her on the pavements on NY in heels and clothes costing more than a month’s rent.
However, it is only in retrospect that I realized what I was doing. At the time, I sketched what I liked and then left the paper cards scattered on the garishly patterned rug for grandma to pick up.
Maybe that explains why she threw them out.
I didn’t ascribe any value to them nor was I fully conscious in the act of creation. Maybe I’d be singing a different tune if my mom turned the sketches into a fashion business and presented me a bank account full of “my” cash, but the truth is, during my late teenage years, I fell hard out of love with fashion -- realizing how damaging it can be. It's only now I'm trying to reconcile my love for clothes and the hatred for the ideology the fashion industry produces.
As we all know, childhood interests don’t always transform into lifelong passions. Think about the amount of time you spent on wishing to become a fairy, a bank robber, a lion. I spent a lot of time wishing to be Phoebe from "Charmed" but to no avail.
We don’t know what Suri will develop to like and that’s why children go to school and are exposed to a range of different subjects. Specialization at such an early age is too deterministic and, in my eyes, sometimes detrimental.
But she could easily have the talent and the vision (and the sketches) at that young an age if she truly wanted to launch: "Suri: The Clothing Line."