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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jul. 28, 2014 5 years ago

Factory Girl: What is a factory girl?

by: Zara Barrie

Are you a factory girl?

Unless you're a bonafide Warhol-obsessed, counterculture fashion nerd suffering from mild to moderate depression due to the fact that it’s a suburban summer in dismal 2014 and not a wild Manhattan summer in 1966, you might find yourself wondering, "What in the Lord’s name is a factory girl?

Don’t worry, darling — Auntie Zara has spent a lifetime consumed in all things factory girl and will dutifully share with you her wealth of sacred information. You might even find you’re a factory girl, too (this isn't a title exclusive to girls, either; some of the most fabulous factory girls happen to be boys, you know).

The term was coined in the mid ’60s and was given exclusively to fashion icon and original Warhol superstar, Edie Sedgwick. She was a fixture at Andy Warhol’s notorious Silver Factory and served as the one-of-a-kind muse for the emerging pop artists Warhol’s factory nurtured. Sedgwick was the original downtown girl — a creative force of nature with a groundbreaking fashion aesthetic, a lust for drag queens, an inherent understanding of real sophistication and a fearless sense of individuality (I can’t neglect to mention that the coolest actress in Hollywood, Sienna Miller, played her in the 2006 biopic about her life). Regardless of the changes between the new millennia and the sixties, the late Edie Sedgwick forever remains the blueprint for the modern day factory girl.

Since deeply diving into the true complexities of the term is far too long winded for a mere article (we'll save that for the book I one day plan on penning), I’ve decided to simply break down the top five qualities that make up the very essence of the modern day factory girl.

  1. Has an iconic personal style — A factory girl is a creative individual who is blissfully unaware of the clichéd “fashion rules” (“fashion” with “rules” is a an oxymoron, anyway). A factory girl wears simply what she likes in the moment and doesn’t overthink it (she trusts her fashion gut). She rocks the type of avant-garde trends usually reserved for the high-fashion runway to the grocery store and looks effing fabulous doing so. She’s the kind of girl who mindlessly rips up an old pair of stocking, ties them around her upper-arm and it somehow looks ultra chic, thus leading her to have a coveted feature in the “Sunday Styles” section of “New York Times” (much to the dismay of the calculated, contrived socialites who shell out thousands in the name of fashion only to look like boring carbon copies of one another).
  2. Is a total "girl’s girl” — Factory Girl LOVES other girls and never views them as competition. Her greatest source of inspiration is the eclectic sense of personal style, individuality and creativity from girls of all ages, all across the globe. She doesn't feel threatened by the fabulosity of the young, pretty new girl—rather she joins forces with her and together, they take over the world.
  3. Self expression is her core — Remember that boy in third grade who insisted on wearing blue nail polish to school, even though he knew he would get beat up? That boy (who fifteen years later became the president of CFDA) couldn’t help but be himself, and neither can a factory girl — she expresses herself fully and fearlessly, regardless of consequence.
  4. Always sticks up for the underdog — Because of her inability to conform, a factory girl most likely spent much of her grade school years feeling overwhelmingly alienated and was often a target of bullying by an army of cruel middle-school girls united in their hideous uniforms of pink Juicy Couture sweatpants (you know that certain breed of girl who reeks of bubble gum and self-tan?). Regardless of her current social status, a factory girl deeply empathizes with the crushing isolation of a social misfit, and it’s in her absolute core to stick up for any person (or animal) under attack. In fact, a factory girl almost always finds the underdog more interesting spirit than the mundane masses and calls a gorgeous, diverse collective of (what society deems) “freaks” her best friends.
  5. Embraces imperfection and is proud of her past — A Factory Girl is not a perfect creature — she’s a flawed individual with a laundry list of mistakes. She understands that when you take a fabulous risk, you can either soar beyond your wildest dreams or nosedive into the pavement. For every awesome success in her life, a Factory Girl has taken an equal number of falls to the ground and has the scars to prove it. However, she's never ashamed of her scars; she’s proud of them (they are sexy). They prove she has survived.

Now that you have been schooled, what do you think? Are you a factory girl? I believe we all have one within us, begging to be set free. So, girl, rock those big earrings with that big necklace and wear those awesome white jeans after Labor Day. Boy, rock that kilt and take a ballet class, because being a factory girl is all about connecting with your amazing, authentic self.

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