A Little Bit About "Fashion is Spinach"
Monday, August 28, 2006
Our most popular comment about the site has probably been, "You're making me poor!" We are both a little proud and truly sorry about that, though we'll be happy to meet you for a drink at the poor house, 'cause we're pretty sure that's where we're headed ourselves.
The comment we get almost as often is, "Ummm… I don't get the name." So we thought we'd take a minute and explain ourselves.
When I decided to start this site, it was mainly to give myself a place to write about the kind of fashion, design and Japanese children's paraphernalia that interests me personally. If you've clicked around the site at all, you know that my day job often involves writing lots about the fashion industry in all different aspects, which I love and feel very lucky that I can (kind of) support myself doing. But sometimes, the things I would most like to write about – tiny new designers, small out-of-the-way shops, how best to wear your vintage ensembles – can't always find a home in major publications. It seemed a waste to keep all that good stuff to myself. And so, the blog was born.
It seemed fitting to "borrow" the name of this site from the 1938 book Fashion is Spinach by pioneering American designer Elizabeth Hawes (pictured above). If you've ever wondered what Hawes meant by the phrase, it might help to know that she apparently hated spinach. She's basically calling fashion -- what she defined as those ubiquitous trends that sweep the stores every season -- a big fat lump of yucky green vegetables. Hawes thought you should wear whatever you liked, whenever you wanted to -- and I couldn't agree more. Her famous phrase at the end of the book is, "Fashion is spinach… I say to hell with it."
(Now, it should probably be noted here that I actually really like spinach, and so, very fittingly, I also like some of the big trends that pop up every year, as evidenced by my well-documented love for Topshop.)
Anyway, in honor of Hawes and in an effort to try and properly carry out her legacy, we're going to be featuring great quotes from her from time to time. (And: If you can find a copy of Fashion is Spinach -- which gives a funny, frank account of the Paris-led fashion industry in the 1920s and 30s -- or any of her books for less than the current going rate of $80, then I highly recommend. In fact, I just scored a ridiculously cheap copy of Why is a Dress? on eBay the other week. And no, I don't know what the name means either.) But here are her first words of wisdom, which we have found to be a great thing to keep in mind when debating a should-I-or-should-I-not Urban Outfitters ensemble:
"Any dress which isn't in style for at least three years isn't any good to begin with." – Elizabeth Hawes