Happy Birthday to Me, and Thank You to Mr. McQueen


Alexander McQueen did for the runway what I want to do for the magazine. He brought back the life. He was controversial and misunderstood, but oh so good at what he did. His art wasn’t always easy to stomach or appreciated, but that’s necessary. It’s not art if it doesn’t ruffle a few feathers. He said, “When I’m dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen”

Well, when I’m dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was carried by Chantè Russell. A bold statement, I know, but I mean it. I don’t want to observe and document the fashion industry, I want to change it. Another favorite McQueen quote of mine is, “Give me time and I’ll give you a revolution.”

He was twenty-seven when he took the reins at Givenchy. Being that today is my nineteenth birthday, that gives me about eight years to make the move that’ll forever determine the trajectory of my career, and that’s plenty of time to plot a revolution. I know this isn’t a typical birthday post, but that’s the point.

I’m trying to do something different, in every aspect. Fashion, culture journalism and even writing itself has become somewhat mundane. The passion that sets people free when they participate in these arts has been lost in many cases. The McQueen quote that’s stuck with me the most since I came across it is, “Fashion should be a form of escapism, not a form of imprisonment.” I think this applies to both fashion and writing.

When I sit down to write my thoughts, whether they end up published or not, it’s because I have to. It’s because I need a form of escapism for myself, it’s because I care far too much about the things I love to watch them become a form of imprisonment for others without saying a word.

It may be a bit self-centered to believe that my words could actually make a difference in matters so much bigger than myself, but it’s worth it. As an artist, it takes a little vanity, a little insanity and a lot of courage to give yourself so fully to the world. That’s something I learned from Alexander McQueen.

So thank you, Mr. McQueen. Thank you for inspiring me when I first learned about you and thank you for continuing to inspire me years later on the eve of my nineteenth birthday. I plan to make you proud.


Be the zeitgeist.

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