Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cosplay or the Highway?

Recent fellow Blogger/Twitterer So Stylistic set my mind thinking this week. She posted a blog (link below) in which she admired a guy for the honest effortlessness of his geek-chic style. She stressed the difference between the genuine article she thought she'd snapped at a highway service station and those geek impostors who are self-aware, constructing their look self-consciously. This made me think about the age-old debate of the relevance of motivation in art. If this is interesting in other art forms, it's especially fascinating in fashion given the fact that the person is so inextricably tied-up with their creation. The effect of someone's look is so dependent on the way the wearer 'wears' the clothes which includes their body language when alone, their facial gestures and how they carry themselves with others.

It's usually those looks which subvert the status quo in some way that are the most closely bound up with this sub-text of wearer motivation. Manners of subversion include pushing the 'uncool geek' vibe, using deliberately clashing colours or combinations of patterns or items which received wisdom says should never be seen together. In London, Brick Lane's been the centre of fashion subversion for over 5 years now. A few years ago one of my female colleagues' favourite topics of conversation would be the girls they'd on The Lane mixing up stripes with polka dots and unlikely combinations of floral patterns, their outer contempt laced through with a generous streak of envy.

I saw this guy hanging out on the Lane a couple of weeks ago. I admired the daring originality of his eclectic look which I thought was a great example of the 80s tinged bad taste trend which is going around this Spring. To be honest, based purely on the aesthetics, I still struggle to appreciate the point of putting clashing items together in this way. But, by opening my eyes to more than the surface appearance, and looking more at the lines of motivation and how he's wearing the look, I can enjoy the look in another way.

I suppose in some ways this clash-dresser is the antithesis to SoStylistic's geek. While I'm very excited by the subtle charm of someone who 'doesn't know their potential yet' I also love the self-consciously over-the-top fashion wearers (Anna Piagi, the late Isabella Blow...) who shuns any pretence of subtlety in the name of experimenting. Personally, I love playing with this continuum of deliberateness in choosing my look. Although my style is less extreme, I feel naturally driven towards the Haranjuku/Cosplay end of the spectrum; a very deliberate way of over-doing a look in contrast to the relaxed chic of the French and Italian kids I used to envy during summer holidays on the Med. Ironically, it is a light version of this overdone, unnatural look which actually feels most natural and genuine to me.

So Stylistic's Geek post

Anna Piagi, this Milan

Colourful Isabella


On the slate...


  1. Cosplay rules. Sublety's so passee. After the last year what's there to be scared of?

  2. Fashion's about being brave. I'd rather go out with nothing on than in boring clothes.