In search of Fashion Cool

Written by Buki Koshoni

My thoughts were to start this proposal with a witty and well timed quote on fashion, but then I realized every one does that. “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

Oscar Wilde – He’s Cool.

You’ve seen it before, starting the segment with a clever quote or literal definition of the subject at hand. But I thought to myself, if everyone’s doing it, then it may well be Fashionable, but it wouldn’t be very Cool.

“Cool is an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance, style and Zeitgeist. Due to the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning. It has associations of composure and self control and often is used as an expression of admiration or approval.”

Webster’s Dictionary – They are not very cool.

So, in an effort to be Fashion Forward, i.e. Cool, I decided to start with a self referential opening, that claimed not to embark on the very blunder, apparent by looking at the top of this proposal, I seem to have made.

As you can see, this Fashion Cool thing can be a little tricky.

In the novel “Lords and Ladies” Terry Pratchett the author, mentions the “Monks of Cool.” During their passing-out test, a novice monk must select the coolest garment from a room full of clothes. The novice instinctively gives the correct answer,

“Hey, whatever I select”, he says, suggesting that Fashion Cool is primarily an attitude of self-assurance.

My dealings with Fashion Cool have undoubtedly proved to me that she is an elusive, yet often sought character. I’ve spotted her selecting organics at the supermarket, I’ve seen her disguised as one of us on her morning commute to work and of course I have been left in the debris of her wake, the only tangible evidence that remains as Fashion Cool yet again breezes past me, making another unhindered and totally fashionable entrance through the velvet ropes of many an establishment, fashionably late of course.

Those left behind, including myself, can only mutter silently to themselves as to the success of their sartorial decisions, or apparent lack of. When I try to define Fashion Cool, the clarification itself often slips delicately through my attempts like scissors through silk.
Every time I spot Fashion Cool, he’s always entrenched in a different guise. He maybe ambling through Carnaby Street as an English Mod, haling a yellow cab as New York Socialite, or disembarking a flight as a ‘Sapeur’ from the Congo.

My favorite sightings of Fashion Cool, are those of a French Fashionista, as she sits on the side walk of Cafes Verlet, drenched in hand sewn fabrics, while regaling with tales of her many fashionable exploits, to an equally fashionable and fascinated audience.

I’m often perplexed as to how she has the time for all these adventures, in between lamenting my own obvious woeful time management and apparent lack of understanding of hand stitched fabrics.

But the one thing I have noticed that always remains the same, the singular trait that seems to be a constant, continuously betraying her allegiance to the fashion cause – is her attitude.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Coco Chanel – Now she is seriously cool.
Through many of her fashionable follies, (lateness for one) Fashion Cool has always struck me, as courageous and unafraid. An entity able to pull of the most daring of ensembles with the simplest of ease.

Coupled with an shakable confidence, her attention to detail, or lack of it, her use of colour, or lack of it and her respect for fabric and design has always been a finely balanced act that once perfected, blends seamlessly with her immediate surroundings, yet elevates her through a distinct individuality.
I have often wondered what it would be like, to step into the day dressed in an impenetrable amour of confidence and courage, simultaneously expressing who you are, while subtlety alluding to who you may want to be.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. ”
Coco Channel

I’m confident enough to say that after my initial trepidation on the subject, I think I could spot Fashion Cool in a line up.

But if I had to give you a straight answer, Id say she was Important but Replaceable, Modern yet Classic and a master of the rules but a slave to none. Simple really.

Buki Koshoni is a Portrait and Fashion Photographer based in London & Larnaca, Cyprus

Photography by Buki Koshoni @

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