recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : personaluniforms   7

Alice Gregory on Finding a Uniform – J.Crew Blog
"I’ve always wanted a uniform. Low maintenance and iconic, it’s a cheap and easy way to feel famous. I have an ex-boyfriend whose mother wore nothing but stripe shirts. She had what must have been hundreds of them. I never saw her in anything else. For years afterward, I tried fruitlessly to get my own mother to adopt a uniform too.

If there’s ever a time to buy impractical shoes, wear revealing tops or make regrettable purchases, it’s when you’re young, and until very recently, I didn’t feel old enough to wear the same thing every day. It’s the same reason I still have long hair: I’d love to cut it, but doing so would feel like a waste of youth.

But young adulthood is also a time when, by virtue of the mere absence of wrinkles and grey hair, one projects very little power. It’s hard to be taken seriously without the visible symptoms of experience. A uniform can be a way of performing maturity or, less charitably, impersonating it. A uniform insinuates the sort of sober priorities that ossify with age, as well as a deliberate past of editing and improving. There is a purpose to each item, and with each item comes the implication of superiority—that it is, for your purposes at least, Platonic.

When the weather permits—and it does in New York from September to May—I wear a black cotton turtleneck, skinny blue jeans that (crucially) are not tight and a pair of black boots. My hair, I have decided, is my main accessory. If it’s cold and dry, I wear a camel coat. If it’s cold and wet, I wear a black down rain jacket. It is the most comfortable, flattering and inoffensive outfit I’ve been able to come up with. It’s almost never inappropriate, and it has the magical quality of taking on the connotations of its surroundings. In a bookstore, I look bookish. At an art gallery, I look arty. On the subway, I am invisible. I can look young or old, rich or poor, cool or humble. In my uniform, people see me as they want to.

Wearing a uniform is also a way of asserting your status as a protagonist. This is the reason why characters in picture books never change their clothes: Children—like adults, if they’d only admit it—crave continuity. We recognize Babar in his green suit and crown, Eloise in her suspendered jumper and Madeline in her little yellow raincoat. In other clothes, we’d confuse Babar for some civilian elephant, Eloise for one of Manhattan’s innumerable spoiled brats and Madeline for another of the 12 little girls in two straight lines.

You save a lot of money by relinquishing trial-and-error shopping—those items you buy and never wear, try and fail to return. Gone is the mental math that goes into calculating how much you “paid per wear” for that sweater you only put on three times. And nobody thinks of a person who wears the same thing every day as unstylish. Rather, it’s simply a classification that does not apply.

If you too are a person for whom the idea of expressing yourself through clothes feels embarrassing or even just inefficient, then I recommend you find a uniform of your own. There will be some inevitable missteps, but the end result will be worth the effort. Think of it as shopping so you’ll never have to shop again.

Alice Gregory is a writer living in Brooklyn. She has contributed to Harper’s, GQ, n+1, New York Magazine and the New York Times, among others. "
uniforms  personaluniforms  uniformproject  alicegrecory  2014  clothing  fashion  clothes 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Letter of Recommendation: New Balance 990s - The New York Times
"The thing about 990s is this: Not only are they comfortable to wear, their whole history speaks to the value of comfort — comfort with yourself, comfort with your surroundings. Nothing about the 990 has ever really changed: not the high price (they’re now $179.99), not the design, not the fact that they’re made in America. Plenty has happened since 1982, but nothing that has managed to make the 990 budge. (Well, maybe a little. The most recent pair I bought was black.) To me 990s symbolize the simple fact that it’s O.K. to just make up your mind about something and never look back."
personaluniforms  uniforms  uniformproject  shoes  newbalance  newbalance990s  2015  nathandeuel  via:mattthomas 
july 2015 by robertogreco
FUTURE CLASSICS©
"The FUTURE CLASSICS© fashion label was established in 2000 by designer Julie Wilkins and swiftly achieved acclaim for cleverly constructed jersey pieces based on exploring and extending the grammar of the T shirt. The label moved on to incorporate knitwear, tailoring and a dress line with the aim of creating a mainframe of clever clothing where the dialogue between the traditional and the modern, the avant garde and the conservative are played out.

A major part of the FUTURE CLASSICS© ethos is the studied deconstruction of conventional dress forms. Adaptability and multiple, idiosyncratic possibilities of wear are also key features. The label re-launched in 2014 as a FASHION, MUSIC, OTHER brand."

[via: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/spinoza-in-a-t-shirt/ ]
futureclassics  clothing  glvo  fashion  wearable  wearables  juliewilkins  personaluniforms 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Spinoza in a T-Shirt – The New Inquiry
"This is the social and ethical function of design standardization: to assign and put bodies in their “proper” place. Standardized design creates violent relations between bodies and environments. The intensity of violence the standard body brings to bear on an individual’s body is measured in that body’s difference and distance from the standard. A chair that is too high, a beam too low, a corridor too narrow acts on the body forcefully and with a force that is unevenly distributed. Bodies that are farther from the standard body bear the weight of these forces more heavily than those that are closer to the arbitrary standard. But to resolve this design problem does not mean that we need a more-inclusive approach to design. The very idea of inclusion, of opening up and expanding the conceptual parameters of human bodies, depends for its logic and operation on the existence of parameters in the first place. In other words, a more inclusive approach to design remains fundamentally exclusive in its logic.

If Spinoza’s critical question points us toward an understanding of what standardized design does wrong, it also indicates how to get it right. The works of fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and of the artists-architects Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins are the result of materialist practices that reflect the Spinozist principle of not knowing what a body is. Their approach to design is based not so much on what the designers claim to know about the body, but instead on what they ignore. Their approaches refuse predetermined conceptualizations of what a body is and what a body can do. For instance, Kawakubo’s “bumpy” dresses (from the highly celebrated “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” Comme Des Garcons Spring/Summer 1997 collection) form a cloth+body assemblage that challenges preconceived ideas of the body and of beauty. At a larger scale, Arakawa and Gins’ Mitaka Lofts in Tokyo and Yoro Park in Gifu prefecture deny any predetermined category of the body in favor of a profound ignorance of what makes a body a body at all.

These designs can have profound sociopolitical effects. Momoyo Homma (the director of the architects’ Tokyo office) relates how her mother, who normally cannot walk without her cane, had no problems navigating the bumpy floor of the Mitaka Lofts. Homma’s mother’s experience does not mean that the Mitaka Lofts are a miraculous instrument that would resuscitate a septuagenarian’s ability to walk without a cane. It reveals that her body only needs a cane in environments designed for bodies that differ substantially from hers.

The cane, itself a designed object, is a clear marker of the differential (often antagonistic) relations that design produces between bodies and spaces/places, and between non-standard and standard bodies. As a prosthesis, the cane’s purpose is to “correct” the non-standard body so that its functions reflect as closely as possible a fidelity with the “normal” body. Arakawa and Gins’ architecture offers an environment where the non-standard body does not need a “corrective,” since the environment’s design is not structured around what they think a body is.

Spinoza’s question—what can a body do?—insists that we set aside preconceived and normative notions of what a body is. Arakawa and Gins’ architecture suggests a slight but significant revision: Rather than conceptualizing bodies from the position of not knowing what they are, we should begin from the position that we don’t know what bodies are not. The double-negative allows a crucial correction to the Spinozist account of the body.

Spinoza’s question delays conceptualizations of the body, but it still doesn’t do away with normative formulations of the body. Affirming an ignorance of something presupposes that what is ignored could be actually known. “We don’t know what a body is” implicitly suggests that a holistic knowledge of what a body is actually exists—we just don’t presume to know it (yet).

The position of “not presuming” is too close to the liberal stance of having tolerance for difference—a position of liberal multiculturalism we find suspicious. The problem with liberal tolerance is that it already assumes and takes up a position of power. The designer is in the privileged position of being tolerant of another, and of designating who is deserving of tolerance. Whether the presumption is to know or not know the body, it is either way an act of the designer’s agency since knowing/unknowing the body is realized exclusively in the design of the garment, room, chair, table, etc. The power of the designer remains intact either way.

Alternatively, to not know what a body isn’t does more than suspend or delay normalizing conceptualizations of the body. It refuses such total claims of body knowledge at all. Just as the double-negative construction becomes affirmative, not knowing what a body isn’t affirms all bodies by doing away with the ideal of the normative body altogether. To not know what a body isn’t means that the idea of the body is infinitely open, rather than just momentarily open. To not know what a body isn’t means that all bodies are equally valid modes and forms of embodiment. Nothing is “not a body” and so everything is a body. This is not a philosophical issue but a political problem. What is a body? What is a human body? These are philosophical treatises that do not address our concern with how built environments empower some bodies and disempower others according to a set of “universal” design presumptions and methods.

By shifting our focus from what a body is to what a body can do, we can begin to explore the political—sometimes violent—relations of bodies, objects, and environments that are produced and maintained through standard design practices and knowledge. How might a collaborative relation of body and environment create the potential for a more non-hierarchical architecture? How might it build one that frees all bodies from the abstract concept of a “normal” body?

As impressive and seductive as the designers named above are, they are not politically egalitarian even though their designs may be aesthetically radical. Kawakubo, Gins, and Arakawa’s built environments are among a highly rarified class of design, out of reach to all but a select few inhabitants/consumers. Although their design approaches are unconventional, they don’t disrupt the hierarchical relations that structure dominant paradigms of design. In fact, their work is greatly celebrated in establishment fashion and architecture design circles.

A design process and philosophy that doesn’t know what a body isn’t can be found in a decidedly more mundane built environment. The jersey knit cotton T-shirt—a product found across the entire price point spectrum—is accessible and inhabitable by a great number of people. Jersey knit cotton is one of the cheaper fabrics, pliable to a broad range of bodies. Jersey knit cotton T-shirts really don’t know what a body isn’t—to this T-shirt, all bodies are T-shirt-able, all bodies can inhabit the space of a T-shirt, though how they inhabit it will be largely determined by the individual body. How the t-shirt pulls or hangs loose (and by how much) will certainly vary across bodies and across time. Indeed, the T-shirt’s stretchy jersey knit cotton materializes precisely this principle of contingency.

Julie Wilkins’ designs are aimed at “extending the grammar of the T-shirt.” Stretching the T-shirt to new proportions, her Future Classics Dress collections (made entirely of jersey knit fabrics, though not necessarily knit from cotton) are even more adaptable and modifiable than the classic T-shirt, which is somewhat limited by its fundamental T shape. (“Somewhat limited,” because its T shape has not precluded the vast number and variety of bodies that do not conform to the T-shape from wearing T-shirts.) Wilkins’ design approach is unlike those that make up traditional tables, chairs, windows, and clothing that are designed and fabricated around standard body dimensions. Wilkins’ designs create built environments that are pliant, dynamic, modular, and mobile.

Wilkins’ Future Classics Dress designs are modifiable by and adaptable to an unspecified range of bodies; they are conditional architectures. As demonstrated on their website, one garment can be worn in many ways, on many bodies. How users inhabit the clothes depends on them as much as on the designer. Choosing how to wear a Future Classics garment can be an involved process. While the Future Classics Dress collections don’t give individuals total autonomy, they allow bodies more freedom than we’ve seen before."



"The idealized relationship of bodies and designed grounds is a predictive geometric one. It is widely accepted that a surface directly perpendicular to the body provides the best environment for bodies to function. As a result, the surfaces of designed grounds are overwhelmingly flat, and non-flat floors are marked as problems to be fixed. Yet even a cursory glance at any playground and its many and differently uneven grounds—“terrains” is a better word—trouble this taken-for-granted logic.

Children tend to have a particularly acute relation to their physical environment. Their small and unpracticed bodies almost never fit the overwhelmingly hard, flat surfaces of mainstream environments. In this way, all young children can be understood as having non-standard bodies. Their “unfitness” is measured in relation to normatively designed built environments. The image of any young child climbing a set of stairs illustrates the kind of unfitness we mean. By contrast, the playground’s dense rubbery foam floors, its flexible pathways (e.g, chain-linked bridges), and its integration of Parent and Virilio’s Oblique Function of various slopes and elevations, are surfaces that children’s bodies navigate capably, oftentimes with a level of ease that escapes adults… [more]
spinoza  design  arakawa  madelinegins  body  bodies  normal  normalization  standardization  variation  architecture  fashion  politics  inclusion  tolerance  inclusivity  adaptability  léopoldlambert  minh-hatpham  henrydreyfuss  reikawakubo  juliewilkins  paulvirilio  claudeparent  theobliquefunction  futureclassicsdress  modification  stretch  give  glvo  uniformproject  audiencesofone  philosophy  standards  canon  canes  ability  abilities  disability  variability  ablerism  ethics  textiles  personaluniforms  fabrics  clothing  clothes  inlcusivity  disabilities 
july 2015 by robertogreco
timoni.org - Why I wear the same thing every day, and what I wear.
Nice outline of how to simplify life through choosing a 'uniform'. Kind of unbelievable that she gets harsh criticism in the comments... if it doesn't work for you, don't do it!
clothing  fashion  design  timoniwest  sanfrancisco  uniforms  lifehacks  via:TomC  personaluniforms  pesonaluniforms 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Men Shop in Bulk - NYTimes.com
"WOMEN shop, men stockpile. That’s one theory, anyway, of how men buy clothes differently from women. If women see shopping as an opportunity, a social or even therapeutic activity, the thinking goes, then men see it as a necessary evil, a moment to restock the supply closet.

At the risk of perpetuating sex stereotypes, the archetype may have been Steve Jobs. When Mr. Jobs died in October, he left behind not only a peerless legacy, but a closet full of identical black cotton turtlenecks by Issey Miyake. “If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them,” his sister, the author Mona Simpson, said in her eulogy.

It was an obsession that many men could relate to. Here, stylish New Yorkers reflect on their wardrobe hoarding."

[via http://kottke.org/11/12/the-men-who-shop-in-bulk ]
2011  comfort  habits  harrybelafonte  marcussamuelsson  clothesshopping  clothing  apparel  fashion  scottcampbell  paulsevigny  paulbirardi  billyreid  christopherbollen  jonathangalassi  gabeschulman  gregfoley  ianbradley  fabienbaron  chuckclose  michaelwilliams  graydoncarter  uniforms  personaluniforms  stockpiling  cv  shopping  women  men  gender  pesonaluniforms 
december 2011 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read