Identity and Choice: In Motion
In an article posted in last weekend’s bibliography, Osman Ahmed from BOF, writes eloquently about his take on the current aesthetic of style. The central theme of the article, using a line-up of young designer offerings as examples, is that in today’s very fluid and fragmented world, young people can change their stylistic identity at will. He uses the term “cut and paste” as a way to describe the process. Though not quite fitting into his categorization of this phenomenon since he seems to confine it as applying to the “young”, it gave voice to my approach to styling.
I am often asked in interviews how would you describe your style? My answer, I don't have one. My style is an intuitive, historical and experimental approach that encompasses both the reality of my lived experiences (all the eras young people are pulling from now) and the inspiration I receive from my commitment to, and the “hanging around’ I do, with young designers which gives me access to their interpretation of the times we live in. Many of the design movements that these young people draw inspiration from are now held in my body, and from which I can pull upon affectively and intuitively when I am creating a look.
In the past, the author argues, we were required to make long-term commitments to semiotic tribes. That became your small community. Yet there is(was) always a subset of people that refused to join the group and always made their own way, a rebel class so speak, These were(are) people who knew about life beyond their own small geography and were global, not because of the internet, but because they read. They could(do) imagine themselves out of their very small worlds and into a larger one. They (I) consumed text at the rate that people (I) consume visuals today. They had (have) the capacity to live in and communicate across dual worlds: fantasy and reality and today, virtual and real, serious and playful. The rebel mind, regardless of era, is always characterized by flexibility, intellectual curiosity and a propensity towards thinking about what could be while holding what is and what was in the back of it. Rebel minds always want to break boundaries though the ones they choose may differ from one cultural moment to another.
The curation that manifests a personal style has the potential to break a boundary and tell a historical, contemporary or political story about the wearer. The essential element is that the wearer be open to experimentation and making mistakes. I am fine with risking that I might look silly in order to try something new in fashion. It is a always the things I immediately reject that end up looking the best. If it works, it works. If not I go onto the next garment. Always evolving, always in motion, I guess that is my new answer to the questions, ‘How would you describe your style?”
How would you describe your style? Or better yet your approach to style?
Wednesday I will start a periodic new feature called, “Neural Pathways of Personal Style" where I answer the question, “How did I decide to wear what I am wearing?”