The other night, while I was walking my dogs down the concrete streets of my neighborhood, I remember hearing the insistent hoot of an owl. It was inescapable, echoing through the dark over and over again, breaking through the dense hum of insects. Even after returning to my house, shutting the door, and sitting on my bed, the soft glow of a salt lamp at my window, the call came. “Who? Who?” When I woke the next morning, the shout reverberated through my head. “Who? Who?”
I’ve been in the woods for so long that I think some part of me has forgotten that there is more outside than just this. More than the red kissed maples. More than the same stories I’ve read and reread. More than the one tiny grocery store in town. More than the antique store lined streets. More than the heady question of the owl. I’m not ungrateful, in fact, I think I revere this place so much sometimes that I have no room for anything else.
Let me say that I’ve been considering the art science of metamorphosis. Not just visual change, but spiritual and artistic change. How can I not only change how I look, but also I connect and create? I’ve rifled through the classics: Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Iris Van Herpen, Rei Kawakubo, etc etc etc. The designers in which I always see more than just mere clothing and instead, whispers of transcendence and becoming, sacred geometry and demolition. I’m not really sure what I’m looking for, maybe it’s just a banal past-time, but it feels important. Who? Who am I looking for?
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’ve been working to uncover a new relationality between my and the clothing I wear. I think I’ve hit a little bit of a deadend. I don’t think the problem is what I’m wearing per se, but part of me wonders if it’s time to evolve. With all this thinking and preoccupation with self growth, there’s a spiritual disconnect with who I am and how I am presenting myself. The change wouldn’t be radical, it would just be distinct. Perhaps moving away from my signature blazers? Incorporating brighter colors into my wardrobe? Wearing more black… is that even possible?
Westwood’s imperative, “Buy less, choose well & do it yourself!” seems resonant. Part of this disconnect, I know, is coming from the fact that there’s a fundamental paradigm shift occurring within me. I really truly have no desire to buy things anymore. I want to make them. And, if not make them, then at least alter, or more carefully choose. Given that I don’t have any experience with sewing, stitching, etc, this is a source of frustration. Developing these skills, of course, is on the forefront of my mind, but they, like all things, will come in time. There is no overnight solution to this issue, nor is there an easy fix. That, I think, is both a complication and the resolution.
It’s strange to say, but I don’t think what I want to wear yet exists. The Punk movement, which emerged as responsive and declarative fashion out of a particular socioeconomic context, created their own clothing to shape the world as they saw it. Iris Van Herpen’s gowns look otherworldly and alien. Rei Kawakubo’s work simply looks impossible. I’m looking to wear and create something that is generative of my invisible self. The only way I can find what I want to wear is if I do it myself.
Where to start, then? Where to start? I can pick up sewing, of course. I can start dabbling with alteration on my older clothes. I can radically replace everything in my closet over time, donating that which no longer serves me. Or, I can do none of these things. I can choose to do nothing. There’s an aesthetic shift, a reconceptualization happening in me now. I can’t decide if I want to coax it out or let it happen on its own time.
While I’m writing this, I’m staring out my window to the treeline. The branches spread out in such a way that when the wind rushes through, the leaves look like a glittering red sea. The sun has just come up against the hedges, and casts everything in a rich auburn light. Everything is red and green and blue. I think what I’m looking for is starkness. Clarity. A fashion that says what it needs to, and nothing more. Not a return to the basics, but a return to a sort of primal reaction, a flash of lightning. A natural fashion, in all of its organic symmetry and chaos. Something new. Something impossible. Something I do myself.