‘Little cream box’
A box. A box of old photos.
It was in this box that I found sanctuary; that I found myself; that I found my mum. This box was the cure to my mid-teen crisis, my internal battle - typical of every girl’s experiences at the age of twelve. The battle for one’s self.
You never realise to what extent all kinds of people shape your life. Everyone has a role model; someone to aspire to; someone to be inspired by. My role model is someone who has been there for me since the moment I was born. She’s not some actor who has never seen me, a singer who has never heard from me or a famous writer that doesn’t even know my name; she’s my mum. Now, I know that that sounds a little clichéd but a role model is meant to be someone that pushes you to achieve your utmost and inspires you to succeed, not someone whose image is ordained by their publicity company or their record label, in order to make more money than they could even contemplate. I owe so much to my mum. It was in her that I was allowed to be a part of an industry that can be much more than it’s superficial exterior of clothes, clothes, clothes. It gave me excitement, energy, everything. It allowed me to escape.
Growing up; fashion was in my blood. It was the foundations of my living. And this was thanks to my parents; 1994 wasn’t only the birth of me but the birth of Real Clothing. My parents joined forces; after the cruel hands of reality of the economic crisis took hold of the company they both worked for, and thus brought on the creation of their own young fashion supplier and, subsequently, Real Clothing’s baby brand; Miss Real. And for the beginning of my life I was, admittedly, disinterested in the industry that put food on the table. But as I grew older and the battle for my individuality commenced, I found refuge in that box;
I turned round to find my bedroom veiled by the pile of clothes that I had hurriedly tossed from the wardrobe and the draws. I couldn’t find it. My anger began to swell and my frustration took over my body as I frantically continued searching. Just as I reached the point of giving up, I found something. It was a little, obviously tattered, marbled cream box. At that moment I had forgot what I’d even been searching for and all my attention was absorbed in this little cream box.
Every time I remember this moment it seems to play in slow motion, my memories resemble that of the moment of realisation of a lead protagonist in a cheesy American Romcom. I guess that’s was it was; a moment of realisation. To this day I don’t fully understand why I was so scared to open that box. It was only a box. But as I opened Pandora’s Box, I didn’t release hunger and despair, I revealed my mum. My eyes were blurred by a montage of patterns and colours and textures that all instantly became the components of whirl-winded frenzy engulfing my mind. In that box was a collection of photographs. That may sound anti-climactic but it was in these photographs that I got to be part of the different side to my mum.
50’s ankle-length swinging skirts; red retro oversized jumpers dripping in embellishment; vintage silk night gowns cascading effortlessly; quirky top hat and tail combinations exploding through the red colour of her hair; mermaid like, body hugging fish tailed dresses; Christmas baubles suspended from the ears of this... icon. My icon
Fashion was this foreign language, an unbreakable code that I couldn’t crack, that I couldn’t value. But this figure, oozing with utter confidence, silenced the frenzy with such ease. She, the anchor, was the point of stability in the now chaotic world that will become my life. You never truly internalise the fact that your mum could be anything more than just your mum. And, it was from this point that I forged not only a bond with fashion but also a deeper bond with my mum.
She taught me the true meaning of individuality. I had been stuck in the pushing and pulling battle of who I am or who I wanted to be, but I could never understand why I wasn’t there. The moment I found that box of photos I found the inspiration, she showed me how to be fun and creative with colours and patterns and textures. Fashion isn’t just the clothes on my back, it’s who I am. And whenever I need a little inspiration, not just in fashion but in life, then I get out that little cream box.