Monday 14 October 2019

Paul Galvin: My fashion insights

Paul Galvin

It's been a roller-coaster year for Paul Galvin who has met the good, the bad and the ugly of the Irish style industry -- and survived to tell the tale

There is a school of thought in sociology that says this: fashion reveals the true essence of society. Uh-oh. Shall we discuss? I'm not entirely sure what fashion says about Irish society. Where to start? Sociology? That's gotta be about going out and sh*t, right?

What the statement means, in effect, is that what we wear says something about who we are and where we come from.

Fashion reveals a lot about what makes us who we are. Fashion walks and talks. It has an accent. It speaks about social classes and class structures.

It speaks differently in the housing estates of Tralee and Mayfield from the avenues of South Dublin.

Twelve months of writing a fashion column in this here magazine in this here country has been an eye-opener.

I've learned a lot about fashion. I've learned a lot about Ireland. I've learned all this through people I've met along the way.

Who have I met along the way? Brilliant creative stylists, writers and designers who are outstanding at what they do. All they need is a platform.

Unfortunately, the home platform is quite small. That's okay, though, as the world is quite big.

Hundreds of young lads have written to me to ask where they can get a pair of trainers or a certain shirt, or just for my opinion on trends and colours, which is fun and interesting.

Guys who know nothing about fashion or style. Guys who know more than me about fashion and style. Guys who don't care about fashion and style.

A cobbler who moulds, re-shapes and repairs fine Italian-made shoes yet has never been on a train to Dublin ("they tells me it takes all day, does it?") or a plane out of Ireland.

The owners of fashion, those who think they have a right to keep it for themselves because they once interned for some designer somewhere.

Production companies who want to make television shows out of what I write. I must be doing something right. The good, the bad and the ugly: I've met them all.

Fashion and Ireland hardly go hand in hand. Hand in pocket, more like. In a country where the culture leans towards indigenous sports, traditional music and writing, fashion is a sub-culture.

Fashionistas are in a minority and, like any minority group, can be mistrusted and misunderstood. That's understandable.

There's a difference between misunderstanding something or someone and common ignorance. Someone who can't understand something can learn. Someone who is ignorant cannot learn.

So while fashion can be a passion, it can also be a pain.

The oddity of what I do isn't lost on me. I wear it uneasily at times.

What else has fashion revealed to me about Ireland in 2011? That the country is full of great people who wish you well and want you to succeed.

That there are some ignorant people out there who will never change.

Fashion has also revealed a world of opportunity to me. Maybe I'll start to take more of them.

Fashion has revealed a very serious side, too. That's why I take the p*ss out of it. It should not take itself so seriously.

The best people I've met in the 'industry' are the ones who treat it as fun; who want to share it and support others. I like those kind of people.

Twelve months ago, I wrote my first column and said the revolution starts here. I was jesting, of course. I write with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

I don't know if the revolution did begin or not, but soon it will be televised.

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