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Monday, August 8, 2011

This Life, Their Eyes

Eric was his name. Don't ask me from what country he was from; I can't remember.  All I remember is his insight.  He was the only guy of Latin descent in our clique of 'pre-teens and teens who deemed ourselves immortal because we were young'.  We were not particularly honor students or stellar cub scouts, just young and somewhat cool, so of course you know we thought of ourselves as the 'end all'.  Anyhow, I remember that while we'd always make it a point of complicating the obvious, simple or achievable, Eric always countered up simpler more feasible solutions, suggestions or insights that we chalked up as the rantings of a chico battling the language barrier.  In a sense, he seemed able to get around the inborn cultural differences of not being a black teen in avoiding all our learned wisdom stemming from the rise of black bawdy TV sitcoms, the snooping out our windows at the more than PG rated foolery on streets below during the 80's crack era and the vast 'right under our nose' teachings of hip-hop culture.  It was almost as if Eric was able to look at the musings of our teenage predicament and because the societal, racial and cultural nuances that we had never been without were lost on him, he just saw a situation for what it was or, in most cases, wasn't.  Sometimes it just takes the honest sheer observation of an outside perspective, trying to make sense of it all, to shed light on the amount of humanity, or lack of, we have in our lives.




I get a sense of this when I flip through my Japanese fashion magazines.  There's a heightened level of fascination with Western culture within popular Japanese culture.  Maybe it's the US freedom, the democratic process, the constant 'cultural envelope-pushing' or the 'pseudo-lust' to preserve a society while at the same time obliviously tearing it down.  Whatever the reason, the ways in which they take American staples and pay homage to them I have always found quite fascinating.  A remixed homage is captured not in invisible legacy, but in physical essence.  Many a Japanese label that reinterprets American sportswear seems to take all US the classics in all their iconic stylish revelry and offer them up in that meticulous Eastern tailored art with dimensionally textural, cheeky printed and colorfully explorative hands.




I first came into contact with Creep by Hiroshi Awai in a super influential store in Seattle called Blackbird.  A couple years ago after perusing the store at the onstart to the reignited Heritage movement, I became intrigued by a nubbly wool blazer with patch pockets that was at once finished with heat-set wrinkles and textured with a moddled flannel hand and windowpane weave.  It was a bizarrely attractive piece to say the least and it offered appeal to different kinds of wearers with influences of classic menswear, avantgardism and rock & roll.  For Spring 2012, Awai continues his love affair with American regalia and Asian artisianal fare with a collection that feels partly inspired by the 'kitchiness' of the New England WASP together with the 'expectedness' of the Boca Raton retiree with touches of the 'influential dishevelment' of the So-Cal beach bum.  There are some interesting tapestry-like weaves that take form in slim shorts, jackets and button-downs while some of the more streamlined pieces like slim cuffed lived-in trousers and loosely cut shrunken shirts and outerwear took on a relaxed seaside air.  The Creep man this season seems to be a well-travelled gent who has picked up interesting points of references from the cultures and textiles on his 'globe-trots' then paired them down to relate to his take on summer attire. It's interesting to see how one's perspective of another culture while embodying the aesthetics of his own plays itself out in fashion.  And it's all so conceivable and wearable.  You have to be appreciative of the motivation of certain designers to not see all the many ways in which people color inside the lines and just see the harmony in coloring outside them.







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