A View from Over the Hill

Cally Phillips explores what fashion really means- whether that is clothing, music or something else entirely. At the heart of fashion as a creative enterprise is style- a unique space that you carve out as your own. Bringing creativity into your life is crucial for good mental & physical health so it's time to experiment, know you're style and delve back into the 80s with Cally.


I may not know my hippie from my hipster, but there’s one thing I do know about, and that is creativity.  I’ve been a ‘professional’ writer for over quarter of a century but my writing is no more fashionable than my clothing.  It seems to me that Label appreciates that there is something more to life than fashion – in a word - style.  I don’t mean Taylor Swift's ‘We never go out of style’ type style; I mean that unique, distinctive part of an identity which does not have to be a ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion.’ (Perhaps you’re too young to remember The Kinks?). Let me try to explain.

When I was your side of the hill, music was a passion and in 1983 my style world undertook a seismic shift. The Style Council was born. Seems like nothing to you, right? You can’t take the 1980s seriously, can you? Most of you reading this probably weren’t even born then.  Believe me, before the Style Council I knew who I was – fashion-wise. It was a tough gig in those days, but I was the last of the Mods. Then when The Jam became The Style Council I was thrown out on a fashion limb. Into the marginalia. And I’ve stayed there ever since.

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Fashion comes in many forms. Clothes are just the most obvious. Music is a close second. How about books and food and activities?  Fast fashion is no more satisfying than fast food (or dare I say fast fiction) and if you want to develop (or grow into your) style you need to think outside the box – beyond the cat-walk and juke box (or streaming service of your choice) and find a place for yourself in the world. That place may not be either mediated or constructed by social media. It starts inside.  It’s about who you are.

Style is individual and it’s the perfect place to get and be creative.  I was taught that ‘man is a political animal.’  I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now. I’d rather say ‘we are all creative beings.’  Whatever your gender or sexual orientation. Whatever your race or socio-economic bracket. Whatever you wear or listen to or like to do, all of these things stem from creativity.  Being serious for just a moment – I believe that creativity is at the root of good health be that mental or physical.  I believe that when creativity is crushed, as it so often is, for so many bad reasons (often but not exclusively political) mental and physical health suffer. 

So from over the hill I want to send you back a message – It’s time to get creative. I’ve not just gone down that path, I’ve revelled in the creative wilderness for long enough to be able to show you some markers, so I hope in the months to come to lay out some signs for you. Your creative journey is part of your unique identity.  And lasts longer than fashion.