Have you heard of ice cream syndrome? It works like this: when you eat ice cream in moderation, it is awesome. A true treat, something to look forward to, to work towards, to think about when you’re nose-deep in a sad desk lunch. But the moment it becomes a mainstay in your diet — the cherry on top of every single meal, consumed every single day — it loses it cache. It stops feeling like a delicacy, a way to indulge yourself, because it is no longer a delicacy or a way to indulge yourself.
Perhaps the same thing is happening with fashion. It is becoming more difficult to feel delighted by it because of the simultaneously consistent and boundless access we have been granted to every level of every totem pole that defines the industry. Stylists, designers, photographers, models, casting agents, factories! — you name it, and there’s an Instagram account for that. It is so incredible in so many ways because we have never before been able to discover at such a frequent and rapid pace. Overstimulation has become the new normal. There is no such thing as an off day. And all hail the democratization of getting your name out there. The barriers to entry appear as though they have been eliminated completely.
But maybe this expulsion of a barrier is actually just an even tougher entry gate that we haven’t learned how to process. With the number of new designers populating social media feeds like they are there for the sole purpose of posterity, it is rare to find yourself so entrenched and inspired and moved by a single designer anymore. Do you remember that feeling?
Of course, it is still possible, and separates the goods from the greats. Enter someone like jewelry designer Sonia Boyajian, who has been making stuff since 2012 in the pan of a slow, steady sizzle. It took me four years to find her (her mostly handmade collections are stocked at very few locations: her own website, a store in Beverly Hills called Mameg, Ikram in Chicago and the Lower East Side’s Maryam Nassir Zadeh) but maybe that’s what social media Darwinism does.
This weird thing happens when you come upon something that is actually capable of stopping you short. It speaks to you. Your gut gravitates towards it. And no matter how little you need it, you make the case for ownership. It makes you smile, lights you up from the inside out. It does exactly what fashion used to, and will do again. Delights. Do you feel it?