It's ironic that in high school, the people who truly love fashion the most often find themselves the victims of that same mainstream mediocrity that would profess to love "fashion" themselves. Highlights and high heels and gendered colorways and mass appeal. Sure, they love the mall, but that, to me, is hardly fashion. Fashion is a form of art, of self-expression. You can't love fashion unless you love two things: eccentricity and yourself. Fashion is an appreciation for the things that visually set us apart, and mainstream culture isn't usually receptive to those differences.
My teenage years are a blur of vintage clothing and brightly-colored hair and bizarre surface piercings and children's hair clips and homemade blouses and screaming matches in public places defending my right and the rights of my friends (who were aptly named things like Madonna Daniel) to wear the oddball shit in which we felt most comfortable. While I was always able to end the conversation by punking my opponents out by terrifying them with my sheer audacity ("Have you EVER had your ass kicked by an 85-pound white girl? Trust me, I use my ring hand, and the bruises ARE NOT CUTE."), not everyone is that
So, what about everyone else? What about people who have a limited or nonexistent community to share in their delight over all things aesthetic? FAB (Fashion Against Bullying) is seeking to create a unique online community,specifically engineered to encourage a positive atmosphere that facilitates open and uninhibited visual communication. In short, FAB wants you to wear the clothes you love and have the confidence to give someone bitch face and walk away unscathed if they talk shit.
FAB is a really rad community, and I highly recommend that everyone check it out here:
Here are some helpful flyers taken from their website:
Don't pull a Madeline and try to out-shit-talk anyone who gives you a hard time. You'll just end up looking like a deranged raver guest on the Maury show and breaking a lot of glass bottles at the mall food court in empty threats (they make you pay for those, FYI, and they scowl at you while they mop up the fallen liquids). Instead, take FAB's advice and be confident, cool, and collected. Remember: bullying is only effective if the bully wins. So, you know, don't let them. Either make them seem really desperate and sad and pathetic for wanting to make fun of you, or learn how to diffuse situations by making it really not fun for your harasser.
Unsolicited Madeline advice (only to be used if you are confident you won't get your ass kicked -- please judge situations appropriately):
Try beating them to all of the punches. Make fun of yourself first in the way you imagine they would, then act apologetic and say, "Aw, I'm sorry! You really wanted to say all of that, didn't you? I'll let you next time, I promise!" Or, let them do whatever weird shit they want to do. Stop and stare at them while they say it, listening intently. When they are done, smile and say, "Do you feel all better now?" Then laugh and walk away. If your harasser is cis-female, let them do their schpeil and when they are finished, say, "I'm sorry. I didn't actually hear anything you said. I was just thinking about how much better you'd look with a shaved head. You should really consider it."
Remember: high school usually sucks, but fortunately, it's not indicative of the way the rest of the world operates. Bide your time until you're able to move away to a kickass city where people will love you for your visual eccentricities, and where the mall isn't synonymous with "fashion". In the meantime, there's FAB.