Monday, December 26, 2011

Wearable Audacity

Once upon a time, as a teenager shopping with my mom on a summer vacation trip in Mississippi, we happened upon a boutique that had a denim skirt and jacket. The pieces were sold separately, but were meant to be worn together. Both were elaborately embellished. Both were outrageous and funky. Both were fabulously expensive. I wanted them desperately, but even a self-centered teen is capable of understanding ZOMG-that's-expensive! Mom apologized, said she'd get it for me if she could, but it was just too expensive. And it was - the pieces were really the first time I remember seeing something that could be labelled "wearable art." They were not overpriced, just beyond what the budget could bear. She told me that we could make it ourselves - maybe not the same thing, but we could alter a jacket and skirt and make something similar. We gathered a few supplies, but quickly realized that just buying the embellishments added up fast. The project never made it off the ground.

Fast forward about 26 years. I'm coming into my own as an artist. I'm learning to sew and am good at reverse engineering. I have developed an adventurous spirit when it comes to trying something new. I can barely recall what that original skirt and jacket looked like - it's been more than half my life since I saw it! And I know now that the skirt wouldn't suit me now, and it would fit anyway. And as a teen, wearing it would have gotten more ridicule than admiration. Now, I simply don't give a damn what people think! (Back then I had chutzpah in the traditional sense: insolence, arrogance and audacity* - I brazened my way out of high school trying to survive. Now, it's more disdain.)

I know when I'm wearing something that suits me because I'm comfortable. I know when I look awkward, when something isn't "me" - my challenge for the new year will be to find the right jacket, the right jeans to alter into a skirt, and recreate that wearable art set that has percolated in the back of my head, O these many years. I have another jacket project I want to get back to, as well. And some purses I want to play with. Will I find what I want? Create the nebulous vision? WHO KNOWS! It's a whole new year and anything could happen.

Update: I also want to do a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors to go with them. I really need to start some design sketches....

* I've always loved the word audacity. Most people regard it as a pejorative. Not me. "Boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions." I am arrogant. It's not one of my nicer qualities, but it's there. I am an audacious person. Maybe it's time to stop trying to be something I'm not, and embrace the core of who I am. Look out, world, this is your only warning!

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