It's Friday night, it's warm outside and I'm painting my face, base in my ears, while the rest of the room prepares for bed.
It's a wonderfully odd experience to be sharing a sleeping space with seven strangers. All female, as the sleeping quarters can be gender specific, which I chose. The first nights there was a group of asian girls all traveling together. They had no manners and let their alarm clocks ring for over 10min while they went to the bathroom, etc. and didn't turn the lights of if they were still pottering about even though it was well after midnight.
Now we're an eclectic mix. Two asian girls traveling on their own, young, probably early twenties. A mother daughter couple, also asian, with the daughter being early twenty late teen. Another lone girl of mediterranean heritage. And a lone woman I'd have to guess to be in her 60s. I have, overall, seen much more families and elder people staying at this hostel than my prejudices would have assumed.
There is a very homely feeling that's grown forth. At first I wasn't too comfortable, though not uncomfortable. An uncomfort regarding my electronics and the safety of any belonging really. But now I'm much more relaxed as everyone else are too. Smartphones, computers, wallets strewn everywhere. And over the rails of the bunk beds hang hand washed bras and panties.
Friday, April 19, 2013
It's such a remarkable experience to be traveling on your own. Everything is so quite, your mind so loud. I'm for the first time really allowing it to sink in how much of a talker I am. Certain days it feels like I'm about to explode with the need to simply share my observations.
A very humbling and educational experience.
A very humbling and educational experience.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Given its infancy in the world of academia, fashion studies still shows signs of a discipline in the making, measuring and comparing itself against the long tradition of critical thinking in subjects such as art and architecture. With this in mind, we can in fashion theory often find a reliance on certain key figures. One such figure is Roland Barthes, whose name reverberates throughout the field of fashion studies. Considering that Barthes was not only one of the earliest academics to write about fashion, but also one of the first to develop a theory on fashion, the reliance on his work is hardly surprising. But bearing in mind that references to Barthes are seemingly scattered throughout almost every academic article on fashion, I find myself asking; where is the assessment of this author’s own work?
Continue reading the text over at Vestoj; the site that I wrote it for.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I make it a habit of circling back and forth between folding jeans and the changing rooms; where I shout out a general inquiry regarding if anyone needs help with, say, fetching other sizes etc. It has become the most efficient way of helping the shopper because they tend to not actively ask for help. Once the initial contact has been established – either by helping them pick up some jeans from the get go, or from pouncing on them in the changing rooms – many more than you'd initially think ask for my advice on how to wear the clothes.
And that's the fascinating part. Because they don't ask my opinion on whether or not a piece of clothing is nice, or even, if that particular piece looks good on them (although the latter is common too, both expressively and implicitly) but rather, what they wish to know, while most of the time not being able to voice it correctly, is if they are wearing the item correctly. As if there are rules, a right and wrong way to wear jeans, on which I've now become the judge of.
Men are more insecure than women – or, they are more prone to ask us employers for confirmation. While women will ask, “Do you think I should/could go down a size for them to fit tighter?”, or, “I can barely close them, but they are not at all tight over the thighs – what other models do you think would work for me?” etc. They will be not as expressively accurate as this though, but only half phrase their intentions and requests so that you'll have to fill it in for them. Which is where the insecurity shows: perhaps there is actually no model that will ever fit my body. I have to go up to them and ask how the jeans fit. Then they'll provide a, 'well, they didn't', then I have to ask, well why not? How didn't they fit? Etc. and then, once they've told me what the hindrance was I can offer some solutions. Like for instance changing the size or the model. But very, very rarely do I have a costumer who directly asks me to provide them with an alternative when something doesn't fit. The ingrained notion that something is wrong with them and not the jeans seem rooted in place. In that sense it is a really gratifying job, because I get to be the person who can be a reassurance.
But it was the way that men ask for reassurance that I find the most interesting. Because there the notion of right and wrong way of dressing is more obvious. They will, to the question of how does the jeans fit, open the door and show me with the following words: “I don't know, what do you think?” The difference here is that when women say that, which they do too, the answer is almost exclusively always that the jeans should be tight. So I have a goal to measure my answer against. With men I always find myself needing to preface the ensuing conversation with; “Well that depends, do you want baggy or skinny?” And so on and so forth it goes. For each answer I have to ask another question formulated as “What do you want”.
They want me to tell them if they are wearing the jeans right or wrong. It depends. Is always my answer. “Should I be wearing tight jeans?” “It depends, do you feel comfortable in tight jeans?” “Should these jeans be shorter?” “That depends, do you like jeans that are short or long?” “Do these jeans fit me right?” “That depends, if you want skinny jeans I think you should try on a smaller size, but, if you want skinny jeans riding low you should try on a smaller size in a different model, or, if you prefer you jeans to be a loose fit without being baggy you should go up one size, and if you like baggy then you should try another model – so you tell me; what fit do you want?”
There is no right or wrong way to wear jeans. Or any clothes. You wear the kind you like. Like because they're comfortable, because they're an aesthetically pleasing pattern/color/wash, because you think your ass looks awesome in them, because you, personally, favor the 50s style. You tell me what you like, what your style is, and I will help you find the things that will go with it. It's been a bit of a shock to find so many people looking to me for judgment. I mean, because it's done in such an insecure and unreflected manner. I love giving style advice. Or to be able to say when something looks good or bad on someone. But the objectivity, and subjectivity, behind that is anchored in flattering and unflattering. Not right or wrong. And at the end of the day – I cannot tell you what you will feel comfortable walking around in. What I like you might not, and vise versa, as it often happens.
The instances I'm thinking about and using as the foundation to this little reflection, are not the ones in which the answer would be to any one of the customers that they need to change the item to something else or they'll look crazy. Instead, an example would be me choosing between an XS sized black T-shirt and the same T-shirt in L. XS would be like a second skin, L would be over-sized, almost boyfriend look. Neither is ugly on me. Neither is more right than the other: depending on the style I'm going for. The one I feel comfortable sporting. That's what I mean by 'it depends'.
I'm not surprised at this uncertainty when it comes to clothes. I am uncertain a lot of the time as-well. About what to wear when and where, if I can pull something off or not, if I'll look ridiculous or creative etc. I am caught in the thoughts of right and wrong way of dressing too. But I've worked on it and gotten better and better at freeing myself of such notions and instead being able to focus on how I wish to express myself. What I've found while working is that people do not reflect over that they are asking for permission to wear something. That they do not realize that they are not even aware of that a stranger's words hold more power than their own independent preferences.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Hip, in the know, industry as-well-as street talking, music gurus have already raved on about the brilliance that is The Strokes' latest album. So my say isn't gonna be that revolutionary in any way, but damn, if it isn't one of the best sounds to have happened in a long long time!
My favorite track must be:
And how fantastic isn't the dancing! My god, I die.
There is something about it, about the album in its entirety too – it is a sense of unity: like the sound on each of the different tracks, because they are different, definitely belong together. Which is what feels new about it. That they've managed to make this new sound, style even, and also replicated while simultaneously changing it. Original and copy at the same time. Oxymoronic and yet the words that fit the best as description.
But more than that, what's got me hooked in particular as oppose to all the original sounds otherwise produced. (For I'm not a music geek – I know very little about what's happening or been going on with music in general). What's made me melt is that there is the recognition that I've never heard this before yet it sounds familiar. Familiar in a way that a pop song does the second or third time you hear it. Familiar in a sense that hints to accessible and easy.
You should definitely give it a listen on Sotify!