In I Rant You Read

I Rant, You Read: Learning From the Lesser

The seventh grade marked the middle of my trek into cartooning.  I was infatuated with the 'Archies' and used to draw my own comically formed remix of the band.  It was also around this same time that an affection grew for architecture, so everywhere I went there was a composition notebook in tow filled with my comic sketches and architectural renditions of buildings with no real place outside the society of my inner-psyche.  One lunch period while immersed in my $1.50 speckled black & white bible, a teacher peeking over my shoulder revealed her fascination not at how my drawings were so well done, but at how I achieved them.  See, for my straight lines I used the side of a tape cassette holder (yes I'm telling my age).  Never before had it ever occurred to me to use a ruler.  She remarked at how coolly strange it was that I just found whatever I need to get the job done and ran with it.  I didn't realize that it could be viewed as strange before that encounter.  To me it was just that I made do with what I had.  It was the kind of moment where a traveller stumbles upon an obscure third world village seemingly going the long way about achieving what at an average modernized household for example would consider solved by a quick trip to the strip mall.

It's at moments like that in the lunchroom of John Phillip Sousa Junior High School that can shape one's  perspective (and inspiration).  I grew up with a handy father than instead of just going out and buying something to level his shelf, he built it.  In need of a new work table, instead of skulking down the isles of a massive housewares store, he'd pick up lumber and just make it.  Many is the time while growing up that I've seen a broken-down something old become something else anew.  You learn that money can't always solve a problem (especially when there is no money), so you have to be intuitive enough to create your own way to get by and make do.  Repurposed things can add invaluable shelf life to things once considered to be at the end of the line.  This fosters creativity and what I believe has also fostered many of the trickle-up inspirations that we've seen with the harshness of punk, the urban grit of hip-hop, the homeliness of dancehall, the familiarity of vintage and the repurposed of thrifting being upgraded and infused into high fashion.

I think of this when thinking of one of the hot button designer nowadays.  Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy once recounted in an article how he'd gone to Cuba and seen masculine looking young men wearing women's threadbare sweaters and awkwardly slim jeans while playing soccer outside their homes.  One man's recount is another man's everyday.  These young men didn't let proper equipment and gear stop them and making do with what they had meant that hand-me-downs and poverty sometimes meant wearing things that your sister or mother used to.  These things were donned not with regard to masculinity or femininity since the sheer necessity far outweighed any gender role.  It didn't detract from their masculinities since they were not concerned with being seen as feminine.  Poverty and predicament was enough unify them while their confidence in fulfilling their intentions of wearing the appropriate clothing to live and play in was enough to be all that mattered.  And yes, they probably would change their predicament if they could but making do became an ingrained way of life for them and thusly a source of inspiration and a great perspective on strength of perceived masculinities for Mr. Tisci.

That's the bizarre dichotomy in clothing like what Tisci does for Givenchy.  It deliberately delves into shapes and colors that could be considered feminine but showcases them on masculine looking young men and in strong well-made, durably constructed masculine ways complete with hardware, textile and rigidity analogous to perceived notions of men.  In a way he attempts to be creating a new perspective under which masculinity is scene and thereby disbanding the commonly held beliefs for men of western and eastern cultures, gay and straight, modern and third worlds alike.

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  1. I'm a huge fan of Riccardo Tisci work at Givenchy. He's always innovative, he creates always something new and unexpected.
    Paradise bird pattern was etraordinary, and now, in the latest collection, religion images on shirts, tshirts and sweater... come on, love it!!!

    Nice blog! I'm following it!




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