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Armour | The Rosenrot | For The Love of Avant-Garde Fashion


July 13, 2012

by Gracia Ventus

Moments before you step out of the door, you take one last look at your reflection in the mirror, making sure that every crease is in place, your Drkshdw shirt is tucked into a billowy pair of Yohji, oh so casually to give the air of nonchalance, and the giant linen Damir Doma scarf swathed like a fluid cuirass. Satisfied with every inch of your appearance, you step gingerly into your Guidis, and then proceed to close the door ever so carefully so that your floor length Rick cape does not get caught, all the while bracing yourself to face the world that does not appreciate your presentation.

You’d love to take a cab to the city, away from the suburban judgmental minds, but it is not a luxury you can afford every so often. You know very well the reactions you will provoke, and you tell yourself that you are used to it by now. You love looking at children though, because they have that adorable curiosity in their eyes, yet untamed with preconceived notions. You switch on your Ipod to shut off the world, transporting yourself back to the days you spent in faraway places, places where diversity was celebrated. In those places, it was okay to be different, no matter whether it was the good sort, or bad. There was a sense of comfort every time you step out of the door. You could dress the way you wanted to, you didn’t have to conform, and on some days, a stranger would know of the story behind your choice of dress, as if you were members of a tribe who had just met for the first time. A smile was exchanged, and sometimes, a conversation. That sense of belonging, it was something you truly missed.

It does not get much better in the city, but somehow your alienness looks less jarring against the concrete backdrop and you can disappear quickly into the crowd, allowing less time for those stares to linger on you. Too often you feel the pressure to dress down, but you know well enough you can’t bring yourself to do it, unless the occasion dictates so. The clothes you have chosen for yourself have become your armour, you feel naked without them. It is a self-defence mechanism you’ve placed upon yourself to filter out the advances of insecure men, men who secretly preferred subservient women, men who have certain misguided preconceptions about how women should present themselves in this largely conservative society.

You spot your friend in a sea of hurried shoppers, and together you make your way through the maze of shops to your favourite joint. At this awkward period of the day that is tea time, the Japanese cafe was empty. Having sipped the first cup of fragrant tea in comfortable silence, he asked, ‘Why fashion?’

‘I don’t know,’ you shrugged. ‘I’m drawn towards beautiful garments, from the cut, to the fabric, to its provenance. It is the closest way to incorporating artistic creativity in my life, on my body. For example, holding a piece of well-crafted leather jacket satisfies so many sensory experiences, from my eyes the moment I see its wrinkles, the tactile stimulation it creates when I run my hands across its grains, to the fresh, raw smell of processed skins that I want to be enveloped in. Does that answer your question?’

‘No, not really.’ You both chuckled.

‘Maybe it’s the power to provoke. It’s delightful. But I’ll get back to you on that.’


8 thoughts on “Armour

  • O D Y S S E Y

    by O D Y S S E Y on July 14, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Beautiful writing. Amazing post – and I don’t use that term lightly.
    You know…this would describe my perfect day in the city.

  • Jessica Deanna

    by Jessica Deanna on July 14, 2012 at 4:59 am

    This is a beautiful piece.
    Something inspiring, relatable- yet clearly unconventional. Unconventional is good.
    I’d love to print this and hang it on my wall.

    You always have such interesting writings, and such a way with words

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on July 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Thank you Jessica, writing doesn’t come naturally to me so I’m glad you can relate to it as well. Makes one feel less lonely in this strange world.

  • Syed

    by Syed on July 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Why fashion. I ask myself the same question all the time. I think it is about wanting to surround myself in something beautiful and something thoughtful. Also I think it is about trying to discover something about yourself – not that fashion reveals some inner truth, but rather that you can use dress to bring out parts of yourself and explore that self. I am drawn to finding that feeling you get when you try on something and it just clicks. You understand the designer, they understand you, and the garment helps you feel more like yourself. Of course that self is different in every garment, and every outfit you choose may be catering to a different facet of your personality, but I enjoy that exploration. It may not be something others can see or register (well obviously they see the visual aspect), but part of it is always about the psychological/sensual/emotional relationship between you and your clothing.

    We like exploring music, we like exploring food, we like exploring visual art, clothing is much the same in that respect. It engages the sense, it brings out some sense of individuality, and it feels personal to each and every one of us.

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on July 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm


      Couldn’t have put it better than that. Although I have a penchant for edgy stuff, the other side of me loves colourful works of Proenza Schouler.

      Most people I know think that fashion is just cheap superficiality, a vanity exercise that serves noone but the wearer. These are the same people who equip themselves with the latest tech gadgets, or cars if they can afford it. There’s this mentality that if you engage in fashion more than a certain degree, you’re probably an airhead who dwells on nothing else.

    • Syed

      by Syed on July 15, 2012 at 12:48 am

      I wonder whether that is inevitable. To care about fashion is by extension to care about you look wearing those items (whilst many try to maintain a purely academic or social interest, that knowledge and interest will also impact how they choose to present themselves, either inside or outside the cycle of fashion). This is usually interpreted as vanity, which I would argue isn’t always the case, but of course many well-known ‘fashionistas’ and people we all know unfortunately do fulfill the stereotype.

      An interest in fashion is much the same as an interest in cars, or photography, or music, or food, or computers, or football. You enter a world, you find something you relate to, you want to find out more. There are always those who approach whatever field of interest only for the purposes of making themselves stand out and feel accepted – the type of person who flits from obsession to obsession, trying to discover who they are and where they fit into the world. And so they enter the arena and buy everything in sight and feel like they are an expert. After all, an idiot is someone who doesn’t know something I only found out about five minutes ago. But hopefully that results in one of two things – they get bored and move on, or, hopefully, they develop a genuine passion and delve into the fold further.

      I think it is disrespectful to dismiss people’s interests in anything, until you know how and why that relationship exists. I know people who have some seriously weird hobbies, and although I may be tempted to dismiss those hobbies, once you talk to them about it and find out more, you begin to understand why those hobbies are appealing (I would never take out an afternoon to spot trains, but I understand the sense of accomplishment behind having the full log of train numbers/models).

      In so far as fashion comes with the baggage of vanity, I think it is something that does undeniably exist, but in engaging with someone you can discover quite quickly how passionate they are and how knowledgeable they are about whatever field. I like finding out about people’s interests and hobbies, because there will inevitably be something new they share with me that I had never even known about. And in that sharing maybe they open the door to a whole new world for me to explore.

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on July 17, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      We are all vain, in one way or another. Any sort of artistic endeavour is a portrayal of one’s thoughts and requires the attention of other people just because we think that we have something important to say, therefore it is in some way a vanity project. Dismissing another’s (non-harmful) interest is just plain narrow-minded.

      It gets worse when I tell people fashion is an industry I want to dedicate my professional life to. Being in a conservative society, it is difficult to convince others that fashion is not as ‘easy’ as they think or less legit than say, the finance industry. It’s all a glamorous hooha of emptiness to them. Hell I’ve even come across a (Western) feminist POV that equates an interest in one’s appearance as a hindrance to achieving one’s fullest potential.

  • style-fever sweden

    by style-fever sweden on July 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

    you got such great sense for style and i love this text!


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