Sunday, October 30, 2011


On a Sunday morning, I've decided to spend (not waste) a few minutes to declare my love for McQueen. His label is the only label I consistently keep up with because I don't think his products are exclusively about fashion. In fact, McQueen strikes me as much more insightful about life and the various routes that lead to ideas/products/conclusions. To me, his work represents the merging of three veins of process: philosophy, artistry, and femininity. Philosophy is a process based on rationality; artistry is founded on visual creativity; and femininity.... well its a deconstruction/reconstruction/abstraction/production of my gender. Of course, the last one is hard to define and I don't think I ever could give it a proper description as it spans lots of levels of process that are both internal and external to my body (i.e. politics, sex, social constructs etc.).   Regardless of their complexity, my point is that McQueen art is the trinity of these three processes and I am always comforted when there is verbal or visual confirmation of my thoughts. Recently I ran into a video that totally re-affirmed what I feel when I see McQueen. Here it is for your blogosphere consumption: Diving-For-Mcqueen

My favorite quotes from Sarah:
 "Tiny circles, small circles stitched all around; it's actually quite mathematical"
"A McQueen Woman, has to feel powerful, she's never a girly-girl...she's always A Woman"

And here are a few images of McQueen's work over the years.
A butterfly?

 Can I show up to work in this one day?

 Michelle looks awesome in a McQueen suit.

Although, the creator Alexander is gone, his work and his process definitely live on.
And there it is.A short-and-sweet entry.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

De Colores

I was recently privilidged with the opportunity to sit in a room full of Rothkos (Wikipedia-him). It was a small quaint room where I could sit quietly and let Rothko romantically seduce me to concepts about color. Yes, Rothko your green is complex, bluish, translucent, bottomless, seductive and ethereal; your pink is whimsical, powerful, open, infinitely spiral, sparkling and…oh my goodness was that my heart skipping a beat from all the jazzy hues? What can I say, color has an effect on me and that’s why I sighed and sat there with a smile for a few minutes. And then, when I was done ruminating through the other halls, I went back for one last moment of blissful colors before exiting the museum.

In the fashion world, color is a yo-yo concept that goes in and out of “style”; in the process, the concept  is edited, formatted, and narrated by the industry to be “re-invented” every few years as something new to try, complete with mixed messages. First, they tell you black is slimming and you should wear it to feel good about yourself. Simultaneously, they make you inherently afraid of color because it will make you feel the opposite: fat, unattractive and abnormally visible. And with that framework, they occasionally send you a message that this season “do not be afraid of color”. So if you DO wear it when they tell you to “embrace” it, you are bold, powerful and OMG, such a “fashionista”.

Well, I’m not afraid of it. I haven’t been ever since I started actually experimenting with styling myself. And I hope I never feel afraid of it; that I wear across the seasons, in all its various elements; and that it remains a tool in my arsenal of happiness. It’s not just me who feels this way. Color is a part of many cultures around the world and it was actually very prominent in pre-historic culture. Further, color is so common in the natural world that it’s even used to signal gender and sex by some animals including many species of birds. Of course, not everyone loves color, for not everyone has my reaction to Rothko. Check out this Youtube video of a Mad Men episode which hilariously portrays the opposite effects that Rothko has on people.

So, what I’m saying is, I personally love color in my style; but there’s people who naturally dislike it or interpret it differently. And that’s okay. But I just beg you to analyze why you don’t like it. Is it because they are telling you not to wear it to look skinny or that it’s out of “style”? If that’s your reason, I think you should go stare at Rothkos a bit and see if it changes your mind about the power of color.
I leave you with a song I used to sing as a kid…

De colores, De colores se visten los campos en la primavera
De colores, De colores son los pajarillos que vienen de afuera
De colores, De colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir

Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mi
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mi

Saturday, July 2, 2011

La Religion Stylistically Codified.

So I had a dream recently. One night I was feeling a rush of panic about my future, the past and the overall effervescent nature of our lives. One minute there is absolute certainty; the world is clear and still like a lake on a windless summer day. The next minute there’s a bubble rising and you’re not really sure how big it’s going to get; whether it’s going to take you somewhere; or whether it’s just simply going to disappear. I started rubbing Budai’s belly (a Chinese representation of Buddha laughing) and slowly began to feel a comfort, small but distinct, that calmly and gently reduced me to a warm feeling of peace and hope.

Somehow I felt connected, both to myself and this religious representation of the “awakened one”. I began reading about what it means to “rub the Buddha’s belly”. It’s interesting that Budai actually doesn’t look like Buddha – Buddha fasted for almost 50 days and he probably would never look like that… anyway. So yes, I became obsessed with Buddha. [lately, that’s what I do with a lot of things; I’m in a state of discovery]. I did what any obsessed person would do with internet access: I ate up the Wikipedia article on everything Buddha-ist-ing-ed. Feeling “enlightened”, I rubbed his belly again… and I went to sleep.

This is where my dream began. I dreamed that I was a Buddhist monk of sorts, sitting with a group of monks eating vegetarian food. I was dressed in a robe looking calm and peaceful but interestingly, I was wearing earrings and my hair was still intact and its natural state (loose, wavy, and a little frizzy). I don’t remember much else from this dream. I woke up grudgingly, sleepy and not ready to go to work for an early shift in data collection.

As I later reflected on my dream, I felt myself relieved that even though I was dreaming and deep in the subconscious of my brain, I could see who I was. In case you don’t know, as a Buddhist monk you have to give up identity (in some way). Thus, it was interesting that in my dream I could recognize myself. I had indeed transformed into something I will likely never be and have never really strived to be. I mean I know what Buddhism is, and indeed I have tried to meditate, but the fact that I held on to my hair and my earrings is very symbolic of the things I do not want to give up. We all wonder who we really are, and there are several age “crisis” that are permanent fixtures in our everyday chats about life: “Teenage years”, “Quarter-life Crisis”, “Mid-life Crisis” and of course the timeless “finding myself” condition. But maybe at some point, we know some fundamentals, even if a sudden life change alters your surroundings.

So I kept my earrings and hair, but I was still wearing a robe, and I was eating tofu, walking through a garden, away from civilization, high above the mountains. What I was wearing in the dream, led me to some reflections on religious coding.

It’s interesting that even though Buddhist strive for the simplest clothing, the cleanest hair-do (bald), and the simplest of shoes, if you saw one walking on the street, you would know their identity and what they represent in our codified world of social identities. They are religious subjects of the Buddhist religion. Similarly a nun, who again strives for the simplest of clothes, and the most basic of colors, is easily identified as a religious devotee in the Christian faith. To be absolutely clear, I am not saying that the world that they represent is simple. On the contrary, it is supremely complex, full of mind-blowing juxtapositions, and out-of-body experiences that I can’t even begin to understand or presume to know.  But how they dress is a signal to us and a transformation to them. Their robes allow them to fully be who they are and want to be. At the same time, it’s a signal to us, to allow them to be who they want to be. Of course, this is not always respected and ignorance unfortunately breaches the code of religious style.

This simple code does not necessarily apply to the rest of us, who are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. This is fortunate for some, but unfortunate for others. It’s a FORTUNATE condition [at least for me it is] because it means that you can experiment, you can change, and you can codify and re-program. Yes, we all wear our suits during work time, but I hope most people go home and change. Last night, I was talking to someone in finance, and I would have never guessed that this was his trade. And I came home happy that humanity existed, even in the most unlikely places of the world [to me finance seems sooo…. ^/^ well you know]. It is an UNFORTUNATE condition because it just makes life very complicated. You don’t really know who someone is, or represents based on the robes that they are wearing. I came home and put on my infinity shirt and went to bed. I am an engineer, and I’m not scared of numbers, or the idea of infinity. I embrace infinity, divinity, continuity… haha getting really close to the axis but never getting there!! Of course, there’s a lot more to who I am. Right now I’m writing.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Family Style.

There are days when life with the family is great, and I had a pretty good one yesterday as I said goodbye for the summer. However, I will declare before anything, that while I had a great day yesterday, family IS family. It’s a series of deep connections between unique human beings, trying to simultaneously maintain individuality and cohesion. It’s not always pleasant but yesterday was indeed a lovely day with the fam. I wanted to start my blog up again with this as the preface for a very important paradox in fashion: trying to be an individual and still feel like you belong amongst a multitude of complicated individuals, with unique stories, all loading a train or jamming the freeway at rush hour.  

My family has a very similar style, and yet, uniqueness abounds. I clearly remember when we were all children, and now, as I start what feels like a new stage in my life, all but one are at least teenagers. All but one know what sex is, and all of us are individuals. I wanted to post these pictures up of my family. And I’m going to point out some things about their style that I love and says something about who they are as individuals and who we are as a family. 

First up is my mother:
 Check out her chic shirt, classic earrings, and blond long hair? Did I mention she's had 9 kids?
Next is my daddy:
He's getting ready for work. Even though he's wearing a white t-shirt and black pants, its quite deceiving. He's actually a blue collar worker, getting ready for the night shift as a cab-driver. I often joke with him, that transportation is a family business.

Next is My sister.
 Of course, my sista. Casual clothing, fantastic hair-do? I think you'll notice soon, that we all do things with our hair. Did I mention she's the family hairstylist?
Here come the boys.
Here is my brother with his emo-japanese anime inspired hairstyle.
Then there's the baby and the oldest. The baby is a baby, and still developing!  The oldest is a responsible adult who's lived longer (worn-out-raidiohead t-shirt), but knows how to make kids laugh.

And two young adults (19- and 21-year olds), chilling, in the process of finding themselves, but chilling. Clean cut hair-dos.

And that's that. Lots of cotton t-shirts, hair-dos, and no gangstas.  There's more family members around, but I didn't get to photograph them yesterday. I managed to get smiles out of most. We watched the LOTR Two Towers before I left for LAX.