COFFEE TALK || BILL CUNNINGHAM

Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life
— Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham was a legendary figure in the world of fashion inspiring a lot of the millennial street-style photographers, influencers, bloggers and amateurs. His love for his craft was not only admirable, but also contagious. This plain man in a blue jacket with a old film camera riding his bike around the streets of New-York City to find that one person who could take his breath away. 

I watched the documentary called "Bill Cunningham New York" (which you can stream on Hulu) that followed his life and work and is probably the only small window we got into the world of Bill, so to speak. I watched the whole thing with a huge smile on my face and ended up in tears at the end of the movie. I mean, I have never met someone so passionate about ONE thing that it consumes them without a doubt. He saw people's hearts in the way they dresses and captured it beautifully in somewhat of a raw form. One of the things Bill always said was, "you see if you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do, kid". He believed whole-heartedly in style over celebrity status and he spent his lifetime finding people and clothes that helped express those people's personalities. He was such a kind man leading a simple life. His tiny room had filing cabinets and a bed inside with five hangers that held all his clothes (all three shirts and the legendary blue jacket). This man loved fashion and style so much and also photographing it that he didn't take an ounce of that for himself. He saw beauty everywhere he went and I will always admire him for that.

The reason I wanted to share Bill Cunningham's story is because we can all learn a bit from his example. I, personally, hope to one day be able to dedicate my life to the things that make me happy, the things that make me get butterflies in my belly and leave me feeling inspired. Just like Bill, I want to love my craft so much that I never have regrets about it. There was a part of the interview in the documentary when he gets asked a personal question about faith. He gets quiet and you could tell that question stirred some emotional response in him. He said, "it's important to me for whatever reason" and then he talked about how as as child he only went to church to admire women's hats and later as he matured, it became a big part of his life. I thought to myself during the entire length of the movie,how can a person love something so much? The answer is God. If I believe that God created me then I should also believe that He has a plan for my life, just like He did for Bill's life. We may not always recognize God's presence or perfect timing in lieu of our busy lives, but He is always there watching us grow, learn, fail, win, love, disappoint, forgive, create and live. My prayer for this year is to learn to listen more, so that I can do more, instead of focusing on so many different things at once. I want to start living my life passionately and joyfully and without fear of failure. I hope the same for you, my friend. 

Love,

Aida Zhan