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Bay Area Street Fashion

Updated: May 10

Coming off of Halloween, here's a costume story...

A few years ago, just before the Pandemic, I was invited to submit a proposal to create a fashion show by the committee that organizes Marin's annual Senior Fair. The Marin Senior Fair has provided senior information for 34 years. When I thought about the challenges in getting together fashions for elders, I decided there was a better way. My solution: compose a video of local elders in street fashion and show the video on a large screen at the Fair.

In early 2020, I presented the concept to the committee. A few members of the committee poo pooed the idea. Other committee members were interested. That afternoon, the Pandemic was announced in the media. The Senior Fair, scheduled to be held at the Civic Center in October, 2020, was cancelled. As far as I know, due to the Pandemic, it has not been held for the past two years. But my vision is alive.

Today, I introduced my friend Madeleine to the Civic Center Farmers Market. We bumped into a street fashionista. We asked what she does for a living. She said that she organizes home parties. She has figured out a way to earn an income as the Pandemic lightens up, sauntering through the Farmers Market, dressed in her own lively way, that engages folks like my friend and me. She is not afraid to wear her own style.

My concept of a Bay Area street fashion video originated with Bill Cunningham. He was my hero. A New York Times fashion photographer, he was interested only in documenting the way people dress along the streets of New York. I admired him from across the country. His front page videos were among the first I viewed when the New York Times went online. Bill reported for the newspaper for 48 years, riding his bicycle around the city, photographing people in all works of life, until his death from a stroke at 87 in 2016. He viewed clothing as personal expression and street fashion as exemplifying what was happening in politics, society, and the times.

I am fascinated by fashion trends. Millenials are wearing tie dyed pastels, camouflage, combat boots, natural fabrics and colors. The Pandemic has brought back a resurgence of retro hippie fashions. Boomers and silent generation – go through your closets to pass down garments and assessories that no longer fit or appeal to you and are gathering dust in your garage.

The fashionista we met at the Farmers Market today is Marin hip. If you come across other folks in the County who "wear their personalities on their sleeves," including members of elder communities or elders who live in their own homes, and who are open to sharing their fashion passion with others, please let me know.

If every-day "dress for life/work success" is overwhelming to you or those around you, start with Halloween dress-up, monthly modeling in front of a seasonal backdrop, a multicultural fashion show with staff, modeling a monthly theme as your roll the snack cart down the hall, a clothing swap with younger generations, or dressing up for the Farmers Market.

Sharing your unique personality with others through how you present yourself is an artistic form of personal expression. It can help you and those around you get through the Pandemic and other life challenges. At least is has for me.

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