Wednesday, September 05, 2007

RE: Evaluation | The Wonderful Sartorialist | Bus Stop, Bus Goes, He Stays, Love Grows...

Most everyone is trying to figure out what to do with their lives, I suppose. Lately it seems that I have been fixating on this idea with a lot more emotion and persistence than usual. Or maybe it just feels that way.

As I shuffle forward, working to bring structure to a career that currently meanders somewhere between fashion and art and theatre, I’m feeling the need to make decisions to help this identity along; to make decisions about the type of work I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how it can help pave the path for the big fat life in the arts I have always dreamed of.

Like Mom said on the phone this afternoon, “Maybe now’s a good time for you to reevaluate things a little.” And you know what? She’s right. Again.

When I look at The Sartorialist, I become intensely excited and passionately jealous. Its wonderful. The admiration I have for people who manage style with such intrigue and aplomb is a gimme, so my heart quickly goes into the more reactive mode saying “Ugh…why cant that be ME!?!” My wallet suddenly feels so empty, my own sense aesthetic prowess quickly outwitted by the beauties shown in the photographs. I quickly skim over the images of the women, and jump to the men. Men’s clothing is what interests me most, and is clearly where my heart is.

Yesterday, the Sartorialist featured Danny, who we learn to be a tailor at Duncan Quinn. Tailoring is, to a great extent, my blood flow - though I don’t feel I can call myself a tailor. I want to, but I cannot. The image of young Danny on the street in his custom suit is beautiful. His image seems to embody the romance and charm I see in this craft. The fact that he is young somehow makes me feel aligned with him; like he’s a brother of sorts.

Danny, if you’re reading this, is your life as wonderful as this image makes it seem? Please tell me you’re happy.

I live in a city where it feels like these people do not roam the streets. Style is not on the minds of the public in the same way it seems to be in New York or Milan. I’m steadily encouraged and annoyed by this very fact. Might the seeming lack of finesse in how my city dresses be the perfect reason to work here, or the exact reason to leave?

I wonder what the Sartorialist would come up with if he came to Seattle. Who would he photograph? Maybe I should pretend to be him for a day. What would I wear?

The mere thought of being surrounded by people who actually live WITH style, even FOR style, is exciting. I wonder what kind of baggage comes along with it. I wonder how quickly the charm and thrill of catching a glance at these folks would truly last. I wonder how truly enriching experiencing others’ style in the day to day can be. I’ve seen in from a designer’s point of view, but never from the perspective of an inhabitant in a city that encourages it and understands it. I want it on my streets. I want it at the bus stop. I want it again sitting in the bus seat next to me. I want it as I get off at my destination. I want it everywhere!

Theatre has me worn thin; the artifice is just too intense. It is not real. It is all fake, friends. And while I suppose that is kind of the point, I’m still at a loss with it. Fashion, somehow, merges the most real day to day experiences with just enough fantasy and empowerment by way of clothing that allows it to make more sense to me. I cannot pretend to be fulfilled by invented antics on stage – something more genuine is needed. I can, however, find the deepest satisfaction in making something and knowing it is being lived with, loved, sweat on, washed, pressed and re-worn by a living, breathing human being. Fashion lets the street become a stage. It lets ordinary people find a spotlight and become a more active performer in their own lives. And when the choices made about our daily costume become more articulate, more intentional, more personal, it REALLY gets good. The Sartorialist understands this. I work hard to understand this and live it in my own life.

It has been an emotional evening for me, and this blog is a testament to just that. But, that’s what blogs are for, right?

Wear exciting clothing, friends. And find a way to cross my path so I can see what you’ve come up with. You can ride the bus with me, if you’d like.


Blogger Patrick said...

Send me something to help me rock Japan!

11:02 PM  
Blogger Martin Penner said...

First, thanks for the kind words. I don't deserve them. Your heart is golden.
Second, reading your blog on my porch overlooking the busy New Street here in Bethlehem I can't help but think how, though this world is far away from the worlds and cities you mention, it would be a mistake to say that the people here are not concerned with fashion. There are many important things for people to think about here, and the ways in which they present themselves are part of that spectrum: the effortless grace of the older men in their long, light robes and linen head coverings, the insecure young men in their tight black t-shirts, the young girls with their multi-coloured hajibs and down-turned eyes. In this difficult place where so much has been taken from these people, style is one of the things they can still control. For some it's an afterthought (or a non-thought). For others it's a forethought. Either way, it's a statement.
cheers Mike. Thanks for these blogs.

5:02 AM  
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