An Outsider’s Look Into Memphis Fashion

Posted on April 1, 2014


1005991_10201677784016237_984911092_nBy Rosie Kopman

I was out to lunch with my Godmother when I was in Scotland visiting for winter break and the entire time, people kept staring at my feet. My first thought was that I had toilet paper caught to my shoe. As I glanced down I realized it wasn’t an ultra embarrassing piece of toilet paper, it was the distressed-leather, chocolate brown cowboy boots I was wearing. I knew it was a risk to pull out my cowboy boots, meant for Memphis, in the middle of Scotland, but only then did I realize how odd they really must have looked to someone who had little to no access to that fashion trend so easily accessible in Memphis. It made me wonder, what really does an outsider think of fashion in the South and in Memphis?

My Scottish cousins, Iona and Rhona laughed at my cowboy boots. They explained that the only American trends they were exposed to were on American television that aired in the United Kingdom. Those shows were limited to mostly reality shows such as The Hills, and Keeping up with the Kardashians. Their view of American style was limited to big cities on the coast. For them, they see an arrow that goes straight from New York to L.A. and nothing in between.

Coming from St. Louis, I have always tried to shift the eyes of onlookers off the path of east to west, and encourage their eyes to stop halfway. I try to make people see the trends and great things that can come out of a small city like St. Louis. Now, in Memphis, I encourage people to do the same, just a few hours south.

Rhona made a great point about trends coming from America. She said “In those shows we are exposed to the trends those people are starting, and so we follow them, but what is so great about American fashion is that it is not just those celebrities starting the trends. People start new ones in every place in the states.” Then I realized Rhona explained what I couldn’t for so many years. The United States is so vast, that trends can start anywhere, people outside the U.S. just can’t see them.

With this I hope that people all over the United States come to realize the greatness that can come out of a smaller city such as Memphis or St. Louis. Memphis may not be on a global radar for fashion but the distinctive style of Memphians is something to take pride in and share with others.

Posted in: Arts