Essay: Fashion Wants You to Grow Up

IMAGE DESCRIPTION. But we disagree.

Back in January, I turned 20 and a quarter life crisis promptly followed. I suddenly felt old. I was no longer protected by the realm of teenagedom; when you’re a teenager, it’s acceptable to not know where you’re going in life, what you want to do or who you are, but as soon as 20 rolls around, it seems as though you suddenly need to have your life together. 

My birthday hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember sitting in a cafĂ© with my best friend two days later and crying out to the universe, “what have I done with my life?” I sat rambling on and on about changing my image and getting a tattoo because I felt like I needed a drastic change now that I was a ‘proper adult.’ One could say the pressure got to me. I couldn’t get over how much cooler 15 year olds were than me, and how much more said 15 year olds had achieved than me already. I was convinced that, because I didn’t have some miraculous fashion career yet, my life was going nowhere – which was ridiculous. 

People are growing up quicker nowadays, arguably due to the prevalence of social media.  A 15 year old today is much different to who I was five years ago (I was 15 half a decade ago? Excuse me while I go weep). The iPhone 3G was the it-item when I was that age, Instagram was still a new born, and Lily-Rose Depp was about 10. However, some things haven’t changed, and even back then, I was convinced that I had to start working for my future career, otherwise it would never happen. I started blogging because I was desperate to have something to my name, something to differentiate myself from others (oh the irony!), and open career doors even though I was only 15. I remember getting so down about not having many followers because I felt like I wasn’t making it online and thus in life. I was putting myself out there, but I didn’t really have any idea who I was or what I wanted to achieve, resulting in countless 7 month blogging hiatuses (which weren’t exactly going to help the follower count) and the deletion of about four years’ worth of blog content. 

Trying to start life so young stressed me out. I had to choose my university course at 17, but I had absolutely no clue what direction in fashion I wanted to go in at that age. I picked fashion marketing because it sounded promising, only to discover it was completely wrong for me. The world was trying to make me decide my life at 17 - one day I was selecting my favourite member of One Direction, and the next I was choosing my career? 

At 15/16/17/18 and even 19, I didn’t know myself. I hadn’t had that eureka moment, in which you figure out your whole life purpose and discover yourself. But the truth is, self-discovery is not one stand alone moment – it happens over time as you work, study, experience life, and learn what you like and where your skills lie

Being young is when you need to make mistakes, be obsessed with a different fad every week, live life, and not worry. ‘Adulting’ is hard, but it’s also thrilling, and it saddens me to see so many young people stressing about it. Society is continuously raising the bar and making us all feel the pressure so much younger, but when will we realize that we're losing the carefree magic of youth?

I urge you all not stress or live your life in fear of the future. As someone facing university graduation next year, I’ve stopped stressing and instead, I just let life figure itself out while I carry on doing the things I love. I realized that panicking was getting me nowhere, and this quarter life crisis was an unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself. Trying to make things happen because you feel pressured to is not how to go about your future; yes you should work hard, though as a wise woman once told me - you get what you give, but don’t work yourself to the bone because you’re anxious about achieving something. Believe me when I say that it’s okay to not know what you want to do, because life does figure itself out and doors do open. 

Ps. I’ve come to realize, 20 isn’t all that bad either. 

Xenia also opened up to us about how to cope with competition at fashion school - you can read about that over here, and then click this link to get inspired by the power of the fashion industry's most outspoken youth. 

Illustration by Elle Dhanani 

WHO: Xenia, Managing Fashion Editor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: London  
OBSESSED WITH: Everything Gucci
LISTENING TO: Loving Someone - The 1975
CAN BE FOUND AT: @xeniatheklein

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief