Style is more than fashion. Fashion is an element of what style uses to achieve its ends, but by itself, fashion is unreliable, like the friend who is always terrific fun to be around, but who often doesn’t show, leaving you waiting at the appointed rendezvous, feeling awkward and self-conscious.
People in this city give each other a lot of personal space. We almost never acknowledge others without some express reason for doing so. This can be excruciatingly lonely for the newly arrived, but for those of us acclimated to this benign indifference, it’s comforting. We pretend not to look at each other, and so we’re free to reveal more that we conceal. We can go about un-dressed without fear of the penetrating gaze of strangers. Vancouver is a liberated city. The public self is insubstantial, because without witnesses, there is nothing to hold it in place. We grow transparent; weightless. Sometimes out of the corner of your eye you’ll see a man or a woman lift right up off the sidewalk and disappear into the clouds.