Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Source Points

    "I've always felt that it's not just matching the color of someone's complexion or someone's hair, but it's how to convey who they really are, or want to be."  Evangeline Elliot,  "The House of Elliot"  BBC.  She may have been a fictitious character in a dramatic BBC series, but the truth of her words lives outside of the fiction of the storyline.  If there is a truth that is at the centerpoint of any successful designer's life and work it is this simple axiom.  It is fine and good to design wondrous fantasies, but the end product must be something that an actual human can and will put on their body and proudly, confidently wear.  Otherwise, what has the designer done but make a series of glorious dreams that no one can or would access?
    What, at the end of things is the roll of the designer?  Is it their roll to give us only and exactly what we want?  Is it their responsibility to get us to think in new ways, to dream of other manners of being?  Is it their charge to chivvy us along, step by step into other ways of imagining ourselves?  Or, is it really only to allow us to dream?  The answer is, naturally. all of these things at once.  Every person who chooses the path of apparel designer must select one of these as their guiding thought.  And we see, each season, each collection of work, the results of these thoughts.  From the outlandish, but brilliant efforts of Avant Garde designers like Iris van Herpen, Thom Browne, and Sibling, to more reliably accessible designers like Carolina Herrera, Zuhair Murad, and Elle Saab, to the extraordinary and glorious dreams of Guo Pei, we are presented every year, each time, with new and different ways to imagine ourselves.  Is this entirely a good thing?  Perhaps so. Perhaps not.
    We are, each and every one of us, in constant state of flux. We change, whether we wish it or not, every single day. So, is it right that our apparel should instantly reflect that change?  Or is it more the province of Attire to express the essential, rather than the ephemeral?
    Let's think on this a moment.  Conveying our instant thoughts has it's advantages. We can give the viewer our most current status, and as such relay to them the most superficial, (in a good way) of our mind sets.  All very well. This has much to recommend it. It gives the person seeing us a glimpse of who they are seeing right now, this instant.  And for those who pass us on the street that may be the fine thing.  They see us now, not as we have been, or will be.  For them, who may never see us again, a single shot of now, may be the very thing.
    The other method of presentation takes more time, and involves more consideration than the other.  If we are going to express our essential self to the larger world we must do two things.  We must first have a clear picture of ourselves in our own heads. And secondly we must be willing to take the time to find out how that best relays itself in terms of Attire to the populace as a whole.  I do not mean that careful laborious thought must be ladled onto every clothing choice, but only that we choose things that are garments that are not merely fashionable or new, but are Attire words that we can speak with authority as part of us.
    We have, all of us, made sartorial choices based on current style that we have later regretted.  Why?  Because we allow ourselves to be gulled by advertising and social pressure into choices that are not right for us.  To be honest, a huge percentage of the apparel industries sales are generated by precisely this misapprehension.  So, with that in mind I am here to suggest this. Before we purchase that next new thing, stop. Consider. Is it speaking fully to you, or are you bowing to pressure from outside?  if you are, slow yourself down and really look deeply at what you are about.  Don't allow stylishness to rule your choices, over what is right for you.
    We all have the choice to tell the world who we are, and we can only do so if we choose to use the tools we have to hand effectively. Attire is a massively effective tool, used correctly.


  1. The fabric for the plaid ensemble looks like a flannel shirt I'd pick up at a thrift store. The red gown makes me weepy with delight.

  2. Though I wear a uniform almost every day, sometimes, I want to feel different, and so I wear gray.

    1. And sometimes, you wear a pattern of brilliant red orange and royal blue. Jus' sayin'.