Every generation comes thinking they are destined to change the world. My generation’s duty is perhaps the most difficult because they know they will not change it. This duty my generation has is to stop the world of crumbling into pieces.”
— Albert Camus (via werrottende)
A mate of mine found it, he knew I was after one and one of his friends just so happened to have one. Another friend of mine who is one of the biggest Stone Island and C.P Company collectors and just so happens to be from Burnley like me, has got a few pieces from transformable series that Moreno Ferrari did for C.P Company that he is ready to sell, so I am getting them and I couldn’t be more excited. They might not be the best pieces, like the inflatable armchair jacket, but they are awesome. Hey, they are transformables which is fucking cool!
They are a massive part of why I became a designer, those pieces and items like the Goggle Jacket. It’s all about product. If I go in there and put the jacket on, it would be nice but I almost get more enjoyment looking at them to be honest, same with Goggle Jacket I buzz of the fact that it’s got a face. It’s like a superhero costume. They are more valuable as objects. It is why my whole thinking isn’t about styling and fashion but instead about making a cool object, suspending it and looking at it - let’s geek out over it.”
— Aitor Throup via Style Salvage
In reserving the category of “fashion” exclusively for certain kinds of white Western bourgeois styles of dress and personhood, the fashion elite have hijacked the term. Styles and practices of dress not sanctioned by the fashion elite are relegated to the broad category of “non-fashion,” which includes everything from outdated clothing styles to “ethnic garb.” In this binary logic, “fashion” is the sign of Western modernity, innovation, dynamism, and choice (a point Myers emphasizes so strongly) and non-fashion is the sign of the unmodern, the uninnovative, the static, and the oppressed. People associated with non-fashions like, say “ethnic garb,” are imagined as “traditional” subjects who lag behind or are situated outside of the modern West.
Fashion’s alignment with “the modern” and, tacitly, white American and Western European culture is a foundational fiction of fashion that passes for self-evident truth in too much popular, vernacular, and critical fashion discourse. But fashion isn’t alone in its imperialist claims on “the modern”. This dominant logic of fashion is part and parcel of what Minoo Moallem usefully describes as “civilizational thinking”: “a powerful modern discourse influenced by the Enlightenment and the idea of progress dividing the civility of the ‘West’ from the barbarism of the ‘Rest.’” Hardly an innocent sartorial designation, the logic of “ethnic garb” which places some practices and styles of dress outside of the category of Fashion (and all the positive connotations that accrue to it) has produced devastating material, social, and physical consequences.”
Minh-Ha T. Pham, “Fraught Intimacies: Fashion & Feminism (The Director’s Cut)” (via indigocrayon)
As we have just passed the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, we might consider how civilizational-sartorial thinking has shaped recent cultural politics and military policies. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, veils and veiled Muslim women were pathologized as passive victims in need of rescue from their oppressive religion, culture, and men. As I discuss in greater detail elsewhere, it was not just the fashion media but also the news media, politicians, and, yes, mainstream feminists who perceived the veil as the exemplary Other to fashion. Consider this statement by a Salon.com writer: “frivolous fashion is itself a patriotic symbol of America: You may never be able to afford that shredded Georgette Givenchy gown, but at least you aren’t forced to live underneath a burqa.” The veil, within this civilizational logic, is rendered the material symbol of not only Eastern tradition (as opposed to Western modernity) but a tradition imagined as brutally backwards and oppressive. This image of the victimized veiled woman played a large role in substantiating the humanitarian justification for the war in Afghanistan. Recall all the ways in which the U.S. State Department’s Report on the Taliban’s War against Women centered on the burqa and its perceived infringement on Muslim women’s freedoms. Civilizational thinking occludes the possibility that the burqa might be a fashionable garment that women wear to express their own identities, worldviews, and choices. In other words, civilizational-sartorial thinking denies Muslim women’s agency and in so doing, it negates important feminist histories of veiling such as the choice of some Egyptian women in the 1970s and 1980s to veil as a resistant act challenging Western and secular cultural domination.
Ironically, on certain bodies (often, white, thin, and normative gender-presenting) “non-fashion” can be transformed into “fashion”. By the latter half of the 2000s, burqas and other kinds of veils were seen on fashion runways and magazines, worn by young white models like the Australian Gemma Ward. But instead of operating as a material sign of unmodern, non-Western, Oriental otherness, the young, white Australian model’s body legitimated the burqa as a cosmopolitan commodity belonging to and circulating within multicultural global capitalism.
The many incidences of fashion’s cultural appropriation are too long to list but some are found in the histories of now iconic and/or trendy garments like bloomers, miniskirts, and name plate necklaces. Each of these items originated in “non-fashionable” locations but came to be later recognized as “fashionable” when worn on the bodies of influential white women.
Yatsushi refers to the intentional transformation of something splendid and beautiful, or of a noble spirit, into something plain and common. […]The Japanese writing system uses some different Chinese characters to represent yatsushi. One of these is the character , which conveys a sense of omission or reduction, of simplifying something. In this sense, yatsushi connotes reducing something splendid and magnificent to the small and simple; or taking something lofty and entitled status and reducing it to something commonplace and ordinary. For example, a Japanese dry landscape garden layout might be intended to convey an image of the vastness of Horai-san, or Mount Penglai, the legendary home of the Chinese Immortals. It achieves this in miniature with a few stones and some gravel. In effect, an ideal world, invisible to the eye, is recreated out of very ordinary materials. This is the beauty of the dry landscape garden.
In Japanese flower arrangement, a few flowers placed in an alcove are a reduction (yatsushi) that represents the beauty of the flowering plants of each of the four seasons. Miniature bonsai trees are a direct example of yatsushi.
The rustic simplicity of the tea ceremony takes the ideal of tea drinking in the rich, ornately decorated surroundings of a Japanese manor with luxurious Chinese implements and reduces it to the spare elgance of an austere, thatched cottage. […]
Viewing it this way, one can understand that the aesthetic sense of yatsushi is of central importance in classical Japanese visual and performing arts. Yatsushi is deeply connected to the fact the Japan as an island nation unquestioningly accepted the overpowering culture of continental Asia; then through a process of nativizing that culture, the Japanese reduced and simplified it in their own way.
But as one investigates and ponders this concept of yatsushi, one somehow feels that something mysterious is going on. Simply put, why would reduction, yatsuhi, be associated with beauty at all ?
Yatsushi is rarely beautiful in itself. The appearance is common, unsophisticated, sometimes shabby. even if you know that what you are seeing is a reduction of something splendid, does that necessarily mean it will appear beautiful ? That many people do react to it as beautiful must be because it move something deep in the human spirit, something deeper than understanding.
This winter, I visited Tofuku-ji Temple in Kyoto. I looked out from the famous bridge Tsuten-kyo, which spans a small stream, over a forest of countless Japanese maples, now bare of their leaves. The ground was covered with a layer of huge maple leaves that looked like the white cast-off skins of small hands. For a moment, those of us gazing at this magnificent scenery traveled through time, spontaneously sensing the blazing red leaves of white autumn and the hidden life that was waiting to burst forth in the budding of early spring. It was strange to be reminded of the richness of seasonal changes while seeing only sere, dry branches. I have heard that long ago, the Japanese enjoyed, and still enjoy, flower-viewing in the spring and excursions to see the leaves of autumn. To be sure, such landscapes can seem very bleak . But precisely because they are bleak, there is a richness to the scene that one can see with the heart.
Without the Japanese capacity to discern the depth of time that exists in seemingly plain and unsophisticated things, the beauty of yatsushi probably could not have arisen. A doorway to a world or richness opens from within familiar, plain appearance.
(found via Styleforum Runway & High Fashion Thread)
Life is, in itself and forever, shipwreck. To be shipwrecked is not to drown. The poor human being, feeling himself sinking into the abyss, moves his arms to keep afloat. This movement of the arms which is his reaction against his own destruction, is culture — a swimming stroke….
(But ten centuries of cultural continuity brings with it — among many advantages the great disadvantage that man believes himself safe, loses the feeling of shipwreck, and his culture proceeds to burden itself with parasitic and lymphatic matter. Some discontinuity must therefore intervene, in order that man may renew his feeling of peril, the substance of his life. All his life-saving equipment must fail, then his arms will once again move redeemingly.)
— Goethe from Within, José Ortega y Gasset
It is kind of like how you used to see a new toy, it’s the closest feeling I can think of. When you’re a kid and you get a new toy, everything about that toy excites you. It’s the form, the shape, the name of the character, the smell, the colours, the joints, you love everything about it. I want my work to be like toys. There’s as much value in the object as in what it represents, the character and where it comes from. If you get an articulated figure of Spiderman you don’t just say *dons serious voice* ‘Oh yes, this figure articulates well, it is made solidly,” it is heavy with contextual value, it’s Spiderman! You’ve read a thousand comics, watched the cartoons and all the films and all of that is embedded in this object. It’s as much about the non physicality of it and what it is about rather than just what it is as an object. My clothes are like toys, that’s the philosophy.”
Aitor Throup from “A visit to…Aitor Throup” an interview over on Style Salvage
If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
— Roald Dahl (via freyjageist)
I’m strongly breathing in craftmanship and the human hand. For example, when I stick with Japanese craftmanship for weaving, for sewing, for cutting, maybe I’m touching a little bit of culture of the human being, human fingers … strongly. Mentally I’m very far from mass production. So the meaning of American success, I’m not very successful designer. In America success means fame and money. I think myself maybe famous in Europe, but money? I don’t know. For me, comfortable profit is enough, to keep on going.”
— Yohji Yamamoto (via crystallizations)
That Neil Gaiman piece is probably my favorite writing on death. I think about it pretty much every time I consider death. If that dude did nothing else, it’s to give us all a better death.
“There’s a tale in the Caballa that suggests that the Angel of Death is so beautiful that on finally seeing it (or him, or her) you fall in love so hard, so fast, that your soul is pulled out through your eyes.
I like that story.
There’s an Islamic story that declares that the Angel of Death has huge wings covered in eyes, and that as each mortal dies one of its eyes closes, just for a moment.
I like that story too, and take pleasure in imagining huge wings, and a ripple of ever-opening, ever-closing beautiful eyes.
And there’s a touch of wish fulfillment in there too. I didn’t want a Death who agonised over her role, or who took a grim delight in her job, or who didn’t care. I wanted a Death that I’d like to meet, in the end. Someone who would care.
Why did I think of Kate or Die when I saw this?
Way too flattered! :)
Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”
— Miyamoto Musashi (via tulve)