Archive for June, 2011

Fashion Part 1: My History

I have been interested in fashion since about the time I was in sixth grade. At that time, I started learning about trends. Back then, it was trendy for young men to wear rugby polos and I was fascinated by that. I might have owned one of them, but I wasn’t obsessed with the concept necessarily. The other thing that was trendy was sports gear. I was collecting baseball cards at the time and one of the most exciting things for me to get was a Chicago White Sox hat. I liked Frank Thomas, so I felt I had a connection. The other thing that was very trendy were Starter jackets. I was mesmerized by those and one lucky day, my father decided he would buy a North Carolina Tarheels Starter Jacket which was the greatest gift I ever received at that point. I ¬†cherished that and I believe I ended up losing it somewhere or it got stolen. When I moved up to northern Virginia and started seventh grade, my sense of fashion took a bit of a 360 as I transitioned from urban to preppy/skater hybrid fashion culture. The first thing I became obsessed with up here were Levi’s wide leg jeans. The commercials were very convincing and this along with back to school clothes shopping was highly anticipated and almost a religious experience for me. It strikes me as quite bizarre how important that was to me back then. I still remember those brands that were huge that you had to have or you were considered worse than a loser. Stussy, Airwalk, Billabong, Quicksilver, Vans. This was so big in the mid 90’s. Of course the most common word used all the time was “poseur.” Yeah, I got called a poseur. Rightfully so, if I wasn’t skateboarding or surfing, but wearing the brands associated with these activities. In eighth grade was when I learned about real fashion icons like Tommy Hillfiger, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. These were expensive clothes, but you can’t get called a poseur for wearing these. Who plays polo in northern Virginia anyways? Maybe a few Clifton kids, but there few and far between and I never met one. I owe my parents so much for accommodating my intense desire to own a few articles of clothes from these brands. To own a pair of Tommy Hillfiger jeans was such an honor to me and to get a compliment from some stranger or random girl at school meant the world to me. I barely had any friends, so I was really riding on this fashion thing. That, and running fast in gym class. Going into ninth grade was a little strange, for a good reason. I started becoming more comfortable with myself and making friends and cared a little bit less about my clothes and more about expressing my personality. I became obsessed with South Park and wanted shirts related to content from the show. I also got really into theatre and it became a huge honor to acquire a show shirt from my work in Shogun Macbeth, Marvin’s Room and The Music Man. I lettered in theatre my freshman year, which is a big accomplishment in any¬†field as a freshman and getting my letter jack sophomore year was amazing cross of fashion and achievement. Sophomore year was kind of boring, but the summer before Junior year was great when I took up Cross Country and got a little bit jock sense of fashion. Well not really, maybe just a shirt or two. That fall, I went to my first HFStival and I picked up the trend of getting a shirt from the festival as that sign of “I was there and I saw these bands.” It was my first concert and cross of music and fashion. So this was the end of the 90’s, the 20th century, and here we go into the millennium, the 2000’s. At this point, I was becoming more obsessed with music and learning style from my favorite bands and artists while still dressing my age as I was transitioning into an adult. Every June in high school, I would go to Nebraska for an International Thespian Festival for Theatre students and one of the highlights of these trips for me always was going to the little stores in the college town of Lincoln. They had several vintage clothing shops and I got real into that retro fashion resurgence in the summer after graduating high school and got my hands on all kinds of random obscure shirts that I could find for $1 that were random but fit which was most important. The coolest thing I got back then was a silk, button up big collared shirt that was a light greenish gray with a cool plant design on it that I still own to this day. Here’s a picture.

Once I went to college, I just kind of held on to my style from senior year of high school and actually got called out by some frat kid about wearing an all night grad party shirt or something which he disapproved of. I tried to adopt some sort of hippie nerd image around 2002 based on the fact that I had a friend that could make a hemp necklace for me and I told people I just play guitar all the time and just went with that. The summer of 2003 was all about trucker hats and I was rocking this camo anti-smoking hat which I thought was hip and ironic. Turning 20 for me was still a confusing time, but it was the first time I decided to go without getting regular haircuts and grew my hair out. Here’s the first picture of my hair in that state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always felt like growing my hair longer was a fulfilling extension of my passion for my favorite music and that goes along with fashion. Making a statement and attempting to move forward. During my junior year of college, I was the most brilliant and inspired that I have ever been in my entire life. I felt the touch of God and responded with my own form of creation that was otherworldly. My mind and soul was always occupied by a sense of creativity and I felt compelled to use my pencil to show what was flowing through me. I would have been great to use my creativity towards artistic fashion, but that wasn’t in my reality in college. This flowed into my final year of college where I was a bit of a hermit and obsessed over Bjork and The Mars Volta. I remember back in 2004 when I first saw a Bjork Single/EP/Remix CD and saw how she decorated the liner notes and font of her name and knew instantly that she was a significant source of inspiration to me. The music and art of Bjork is something that will always exist in my soul and be around whenever I go through serious emotions in my life. 2005 came along and Booom! This band called The Mars Volta are there waiting for me to listen to them and show me what is means to be smart and cool. Don’t forget about At The Drive In. My God, this band, these guys, they changed my life and showed me a way of living that was on another level that was incredible. Life can be this amazing! I went so far as to only buy women’s jeans (only denim that really fits skinny guys) and become a vegetarian for 2 and a half years.

The Mars Volta – Veganism & Fashion

And that’s 6th grade though graduating college. I’ll see if I can follow this up with anything interesting. I have a few things in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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