THATONEGUY, a.k.a "Bathrobe"
Likes: Westerns, Succulents, Cold Arnold Palmers
Dislikes: Praying mantises, The feeling of seaweed wrapping around his leg, Responsibility
What a hard question to answer without sounding like a complete tool. I feel like there’re two routes I can take-- the obvious, “Rick Owens inspires me” and the more abstract, “an eggplant’s color depth.” Like much of my life, I plan to fall somewhere between these two extremes. I guess mediocrity inspires me.
Seriously, despite the obvious cliché, I’m inspired by what’s around me and what I’ve encountered. Specifically, I think I’ve always been most inspired by things that juxtapose their surrounding. I grew up in a very large classic southern home, complete with white columns and Audubon paintings. I think that’s one of the reasons I love modern art and minimalism so much now. It was just so different from what I was used to and being exposed to daily.
I used to love visiting my uncle’s place (and still do); although his house was very similar to my fathers, he was more into modern art. So the paintings and drawings he chose were very different from the surroundings, on paper it doesn’t make sense but it really did work well in person. When I was little I had no idea I was looking at drawings by Picasso and Calder but I loved them all the same. I think I liked them even more knowing that my dad wasn’t a fan, it’s like here is this thing that my uncle thoroughly enjoys and everyone else just doesn’t understand but he couldn’t care less. Nowadays he thinks I’m weird but that’s another story, to quote him while looking at my Dries paint shirt, “21st century, I don’t understand you guys.”
Having moved to Melbourne 3 months ago, I find myself wanting to dress a little bit differently from back in Alabama, where I would opt for things like Rick, MMM, Dries, Geller etc.. In Melbourne I find myself reaching more towards the ‘heritage’ part of my wardrobe, EG, jeans, Dayton boots, and wide hats have been really big for my lately. I think it reminds me a bit of home, and is a little unexpected in the middle of the city. I like being the exception, my friends at school are trying to give me a spirit animal and are having a hard time; someone suggested my animal must be "something that's expected to do something but does the complete opposite.”
IVWRI, a.k.a "Ninja"
Likes: Yoga, Museums, Delusions of Grandeur
Dislikes: Root beer floats, The Man, Cluttered desk space
Warren Ellis introduced me to the term "fictionaut". It showed up in an issue of Planetary and referred to an explorer visiting a fictional world.
The idea stuck with me after I first saw it and I have been thinking a lot about it lately. That fiction, myth, could provide concepts and ideas that are usable in the real world and could be potent enough to cause a paradigm shift.
Everything I have been doing recently has started coming through that filter.
The things I have planned for Stranger, my store, the sorts of brands I want to work with, the way I dress, everything is now about contributing to some overarching narrative that maybe in the future could be the source of an idea that can have an impact in the real world. To build some patchwork universe that I could actually "visit" and bring back some cool idea that could change things. Particularly here in Nigeria where we desperately need alternatives to almost everything.
So, yeah...mythmaking of all sorts has been a huge inspiration to me recently. One of the perks of this is that it has inspired me to try out other clothing brands with aesthetics and conceptual universes that plug into this idea and I have made some cool discoveries.
Musically, I am in a very Ryuichi Sakamoto/Yellow Magic Orchestra mood right now. He has a sensitivity and humour to his music that echoes Yohji's own work. Seeing these old guys still working and producing exciting new things that stand proudly beside their body of work is so damn inspiring and daunting at the same time.
I want to be able to laugh like them and have friends and family to share that laughter with when I get to that age. That's what it's all about at the end of the day isn't it? Contentment with life, family and your work. Wearing cool clothing made by cool people while doing that is a definite plus.
KEANSWON, a.k.a "Bambi"
Likes: Books about dragons, Algebra, Coloring
Dislikes: Needles, Public Speaking, Riding the Bus
"Lately, what inspires you? This is such a simple question, but the fact that it's so open ended makes it tough to answer. But if I had to pick one, I'd have to say music and the people around me, as cringe-worthy and cliché as that may sound.
When I was applying to colleges, I was so excited about meeting other musicians and hoped to play in new bands, being a musician myself since age six. Largely for that reason, I chose Oberlin College, which has a phenomenal music scene - Oberlin Conservatory has some of the most talented musicians in the world, in both the jazz and classical departments, and most of the students in the College play at least an instrument or two.
As many of my friends are in the Conservatory and/or in bands, I've been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to perform, jam, and collaborate with them, and also to attend many of my friends' concerts, recitals, and gigs. Some of my closest friends have toured in the country with their bands, while others have gone abroad to play gigs at various jazz clubs. Watching these guys perform is truly inspiring, especially knowing how hard they practice every day and having observed their progress over the course of four years.
I regretfully was not able to spend as much time on music as I would've liked to during my years at Oberlin, but music nonetheless has been, and still is, an important aspect of my life; ever since I became more interested in clothing, I've found that music's impact carries over to the way I choose to dress. I mentioned this in my previous WISFW post, but in dressing in a certain style I'm able to give off a certain vibe. The labels I like to wear, such as Undercover, Geller, and Saint Laurent, reflect both the music I enjoy and the vibe I wish to represent. I wouldn't necessarily go as far to say that all of the pieces from those labels are designed with active musicians in mind, but these are labels that are clearly inspired by the music scene. Whether I'm listening to my all-time favorite jazz pianist, Bill Evans, or to more pop-y bands like Girls, I feel a certain connection between my musical taste and my clothes that I can't describe perfectly.
Especially inspirational lately have been Beyoncé's newest, self-titled album and Phoenix's debut album, United."
“You think this’ll work?” The guy in the black leather jacket bites his nails, turns to the man who’s lounging in the massage chair in some kind of backwoods bathrobe, feet up on an ottoman.
“Of course it’ll work, Bambi. We’ve been over this, and it’s very simple.” He uncrosses and recrosses his legs, reaches over to the chair’s control, and rotates a knob. “Uggghhhh,” he says, and the sound of vibration fills the room. “That’s good. All you need to do is play the part.”
“I’m not sure I can,” says Bambi, “I mean, I told you already, I get really nervous when I have to speak in public, and - ”
The door bangs open, and a man in all black swirls into the hotel room. “Ah,” he says, looking at Bathrobe, “I see that we’re enjoying ourselves while others are hard at work.”
“Hey now,” says Bathrobe, body jiggling, “I thought ninjas were supposed to be undetectable. Make yourself useful and cure Bambi’s stage fright.”
“I can’t help it! I think I’m going to have a heart attack.”
“Just act natural,” says Bathrobe. “And stop sniveling.”
“Natural? It’s not natural. I don’t feel natural. I am not cool enough to be wearing this. The Duke is going to see right through me!”
Ninja ignores him and paces back and forth. “The siphoning system continues to work perfectly. The wine will be in the juice boxes by the time the trucks arrive, and the money will be transferred once we make delivery.”
“Excellent.” Bathrobe gets to his feet, walks to the mini bar, and pulls out a juice box. He stabs the straw into the drink, drains it in a single swallow. “Ahh. I’m not sure which will taste better: getting even with the Duke, or my first sip of the fabled Lost Shipment of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem. Calm down, Bambi, he’s only going to see right through you if you completely fuck up and ruin everything for all of us.”
Bambi works his mouth.
“Forget I said that. Listen. It’s like my mother always told me: there’s two kinds of men in this world, and neither is honest.”
“What does that have to do with anything? And didn’t the Duke only fire you because you already tried to steal his wine once?”
“Shut up. Look,” says bathrobe, taking Bambi by both the shoulders, “All you have to do is follow the script. We’ve got the driver. The trucks have been switched. Our billowy friend here has prepared everything else. All that’s left for you to do is explain the changes to the Duke. Put him at ease, you know? Tell him a joke, get him to release the cases. Just relax and do your job. Because if he finds you out he’ll probably kill you on the spot.”
Bambi’s lip quivers, and Ninja slaps him on the back. “Mind over body, my young friend. If you believe that you are the Duke’s long-lost cousin, he will believe you. The art of belonging begins with knowing that you belong. Master yourself, and all will fall into place.”
“I haven’t even mastered walking in these boots,” says Bambi. “And I don’t know why the Duke’s long-lost cousin would be driving a garbage truck in the first place.”
Ninja ignores him, stops in front of the window and clasps his hands behind his back. “The Duke will never expect that we have been hoarding his discarded juice boxes and filling them with wine. Slipping it out with the recycling was a stroke of genius. Bambi, get the garbage trucks out smoothly and you’ll never have to walk again.”
Bathrobe grins, opens his mouth, but Bambi cuts in.
“I still don’t understand. Won’t we just have fancy wine that tastes like Mott’s?”