Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On embracing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) aesthetics

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
I admit to having an obsessive streak. This unfortunately might tend to complicate the day - all right, before anyone jumps to conclusions I am not the "As Good As It Gets" Jack Nicholson type, but being obsessive does tend to give you a sense of the order which is quite reassuring.
In comes diabetes.
Of course to the naked eye there is little if any correlation. But one of diabetes' side effects is the weight loss. Serious weight loss which in my case was somewhere around 13,5% of my body weight. Body weights by the way are frankly very individually-related. I will not bore you with numbers but such a weight loss gives a different problem: How on earth to find clothes (especially pants!) that fit?
When I restocked in clothing in the last couple of years (independent of the diabetes), my shirts were small in size, and in certain brands XS (like American Eagle which have very good flannel and basic Henley no one can beat).
A common trick I use is that, instead of shortening the whole arm of the shirt, I tighten the cuffs at the bottom so that it fits my wrist and does not dwindle onto my hand which gives the shirt the right sizing without a lot of tinkering off.
The pants however were a no-show.
No brand in the market has my size - I think I wear 24 waist size these days.. No brand carries those. So what to do with my beautiful skinny jeans which I had purchased in the past?
Cut them off of course.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" they say - and remember, anything below "perfect" causes me anxiety. But there you go, I looked at tutorials over the net, got me a good pair of scissors and sewing supplies and shredded the waist on my jeans - that would three pairs of high-street (relatively expensive) which actually looked very good on me in the past. And on I went with the sewing, rearranging etc...
Yes, I wear them. No, no one noticed.
The difficulty of it was cutting them down from size 30 to size 24 - that's a lot of waist size to cull no matter how you look at it. As I said, it worked. Even on True Religion jeans.
I think if a professional designer looked at them, he or she might find flaws, and you know what? Let them find flaws. But that would be missing the point.
Today, between (flea-market inspired) Gucci, Golden Goose Deluxe BrandVetements, Raf Simons (if anyone can get me the NY jumper I would be very grateful!), Maison Margiela (the original and still unbeaten), DIY aesthetics have taken fashion by storm.
Patches on denim are the norm in addition to the pre-distressed fad and the traditional Japanese boro textiles are having their day in the sun (with the rise of the Japanese designers - think Kapital, for example).
But to be honest, the fashion/trend part is certainly not of interest to me.
Our fellow Lebanese blogger Elsa does a lot of DIY, and Etsy is full of them. As Elsa put it so well describing one of her tutorials saying that the end-product is "most importantly made by YOU. Even though we all like brands, it’s nice to be inspired and create customized and unique items."
What is of interest is that I now wear things which I altered myself, which may not be "perfect", which my obsessiveness would usually have rebelled against, but I spent time, effort and energy on them,
I made them mine.