The VLM Muse

Sofia Cope

Maybe our most favorite thing about what we do is choosing our muse. We remember the days we’d stay for hours on end in a shabby convenience store near a public school in Las Pinas approaching random girls until we find that face that’s willing to grace our next vintage collection. Otherwise, she is a friend of a friend who not only is hardly artsy or influential, but someone who might have never been in front of a strobe light before, let alone wears anything like what we make. She comes to our shoot after getting off her 9-5 work, often nervous as she preludes us with her flaws: “I’m sorry I have eyebags/imperfect teeth/dry skin/limp hair...” As if we even notice it. As if we actually care. It takes a while to make her feel comfortable in front of the camera but the moment she does, it’s because she finds that she doesn’t look so bad in a printed button-up top and a perfectly tailored mini skirt. This is why behind our tripod, there’s a mirror. She has to love who she sees in order to feel at ease.

It has become commonplace that before our muses leave the studio, they actually buy something for themselves from our racks, even without our endorsement. Nica here said she didn’t think she’d love statement earrings so much until yesterday’s shoot, and wondered why she’s never actually worn a pair. The VLM muse is real not because she curses like anything or because she wears minimal makeup. She is real because, like many of us, she can get very shy and scared to express herself through what she wears. But, unlike many of us, she will dare give it a try.

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