I was brunette and couldn’t wear low rise jeans without my tummy protruding over the top. I just wanted to look like Britney Spears or any cast member from Home & Away, but instead, I looked like me, and the fashion of that time just didn’t make me feel good. Most shopping trips ended in tears.
At first, my relationship with fashion was all about concealing, covering up and hiding. The aim was to trick people into thinking I was thin, but I would have happily settled for just being invisible. In short, I dressed like Billie Eilish way before it was cool, or a celebrity trying to conceal a pregnancy. I devoted so much time to feeling bad about myself, it never occurred to me to focus on ways to feel good about myself. ‘You better werk’, was not yet in my vocabulary.
Still, I was obsessed with fashion. I loved flicking through magazines, trolling through Tumblr, googling outfits that the ladies wore in Sex and The City, creating Pinterest boards and I obsessively followed Alannah Hill’s career – I loved her mix of feminine and clever. I was immersed in fashion, but in a removed way. It felt like something I could admire, but not something that I could participate in.
But then something shifted. Partly, it was the times. We started seeing more celebrities that reflected my body; Adele, Kelly Osbourne and Ashley Graham, and partly I was just sick of sitting on the sidelines of fashion, constantly gazing at the runway through the lens of my own self-hatred thinking ‘I’ll wear that when I’m thin’.