Saturday, March 24, 2007


I spent more of my life dressing as a wild beast. Problem was I never felt comfortable in going shopping. To enter in a shop, engage in conversation with the clercks, show them what I liked what I didn't; it is like showing to someone what you'd like to appear, and that feels quite an intimate thing to show. But I always found some piece of clothing to have a certain character; never they were new, they always belong to someone else and it just happen that I meet them, as I can meet persons. I use to find a strange extiment in stealing clothes all around. My father's shirts, directly from the 70s, they made me feel so good. The stuff you find abandoned in the wardrobe, appearing to you in shadow, feeling like opening an old photo album. And, yes, I belive clothes have the power to communicate feelings, even attitudes towards life. From there must also come my repulsion for sportsware.

My ex girlfriend thought I was particularly beautiful. She also was older than me and so began to dress me as a child. But I loved her style, what she chosed for me. She never bought me anything new, all she gave me came directly from her family wardrobe, from the shadow of old houses in the countriside. I still wear with love her black wool jumper, the fantastic leater jacket of her uncle, from the late 60s. They're old pieces, and they look it, but I can feel I am me wearing them. My past is there, her love, my love; so when I wear them I still feel I love and that I'm loved, or at least that I had and that I could.

But of course I had to force myself to go shopping sometimes. Just like another of my autistic habits, I went all the times in exactly the same place, getting almost the same things. Ther was (and there is) this linen stand in a street market in Rome. You walk among the stands and you're pushed from all the sellers in a north-african way. "Hi 'bello' what do you need, tell me!", "Hey, come, I have something for you". But the linen stand was owned by two brothers in their 50s, quiet guys with beards and wearing only linen, rigurously. Linen shirts and linen trousers is all i bought for wearing. The rest was given to me or stolen around.

Then in Africa I understood a lot about clothings. In the forest it was sufficient to wear a blanket in the local fashion, to immagine better what local might have in their minds, what therir perceptions might be. Wearing a blanket you learn a lot of movements you must do, the sensitiveness of your body not to let it fall. The manierism of wrapping it around you. Plus all the things you can do with it, for which you shall consider it in the economy of your daily life. Pillow at night, shelter for the rain, or you can collect things in it. Clothing is a step towards a different set of perceptions. The elegance of a forest dweller cutting a trail with the machete wearing an old suit. That was so elegant and dignitous.

Different context, but still in Africa. In the capital, you are a forigner with a t-shirt, you are a sir with a suit. At the University no one payed attention to me with my thech field jumper, present of good friends of mine; but when I bought myself a suit, they gave me the key of the laboratory. But also, I had lices, I toke the whole rainy season in the forest, I had mud in the smallest fiber of my clothes which I wahsed in a river for two months. I went shopping as a tirsty man drinks a lemonade. "Happiness is" I remember thinking, "to wear immaculate underware".

Then, there was M. How could such a poor girl be so stylish. She had this t-shirt, she made it herself, from pieces of other t-shirts. When she told me I thought that in comparison Armani after all is just a wanker. And her trousers, how they fit perfectly her body. And her look alltogether, no different at all from someone walking at a fashion show. She communicated me all this, with her attention on the smallest spot on my trousers, "their dirty, you give to me, I wash tomorrow". I let her did it only once, it sounded too colonial to me. The point is, to be clean and well dressed was an expression of self respect and respect for others; you don't need money, you need to be clean and dignitous. You need to show you pay attention, and that you have courage to put forward with dignity your choices or even creations. If you feel it's right, that it is, no matter what people thinks. And also, without these little attentions what would be of her young life in the suburbs of an African metropolis? And also again, she surprised me with those and made me love her.

Here, today I did something strange. It's a strange period, so I went shopping. The excuse is that I have an interview on Tuesday. So I got myself a suit and a jacket. I run back home to wear them and look at me at the mirror. I look so different. And I wonder if my actual social network would accept me like this. All the implications of wearing something. I look stylish like this. Coming from a fashion magazine. People, including people at the interview, would think I'm superficial, that I spent a lot of money. But I think about M., she would like; she would say "Yannez, this is beautiful, this is fashion". And looking at the mirror I miss her. My grandson will find this jacket in the wardrobe in the old house. In his twenties he will wear a bit of my feelings.


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