“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you – don’t bother me’.” – Yohji Yamamoto
I’ve read a lot of interviews with Yamamoto-san and there are lots of famous quotes by him about fashion and style. His quote about the color black is one of his most famous. There is another I read somewhere about him always looking for a new kind of black. In looking at my own wardrobe, I can see why he’d look for it – there are many shades and hues of black.
I was going to write a different title to this post, but after ironing out my new clothes last night, kuro, which means black in Japanese, was the only one that fits.
Last week I mentioned I got a couple packages and in them were my first items by Yohji Yamamoto. I can’t afford his newest creations and can’t even really afford anything on sale by him either, but some not-as-expensive vintage items and used items are in my affordable range.
One of the items is the shirt I’m wearing today. While ironing the shirt last night I noticed all the details that went in to making it. The collar has elongated points for dramatic flair, but also a slightly more than usual curve at the back to lay perfectly flat when curved around the neck. That slight camel-hump kind of curve is something I’ve not seen in any other collared shirt I have and when I compared it to others, I was thoroughly impressed with how well it lay when worn. Although the buttons are large for this kind of shirt and there’s a larger than usual gap in between them, the shirt still lays flat and doesn’t bulge out in between buttons. The slits at the side ended up being much higher on me than I thought when ironing the shirt, but I like the difference when looking at it from the side while wearing it today. I love the detailed darts on the back of the shirt and the slightly puffed front pleats below the shoulders. Despite the darts, which tend to make a shirt constrict more, there’s enough pleating to still make moving around in the shirt completely comfortable. There’s also the color. In some light, the black could take on a sheen, but then also look matte. It’s a perfect black and I’ve never had any shirt look this black before, which makes it very beautiful and exciting to wear. It makes me think this is what the title to one of my favorite anime means: Darker Than Black. This is that color. Yamamoto-san knows his black. The fabric is also nice. It’s a blend of linen and rayon, which makes it slightly stiff, but still rather soft and very smooth to the touch. It does wrinkle, but those wrinkles look like added details.
I’m sure Yohji-sama would say – it’s just a shirt! – and he would be right. It is just a shirt, but I’ve never had a shirt this nice before made by a designer I admire and that makes it extra special to me. I appreciate all the detail and work that went in to making it. I already want to wear it with different bottoms for the rest of the week. I want to own more clothing with this attention to detail and artistry. This is what makes clothes fun to wear and makes me want to preserve them and keep them forever.
Many fashion blogs I follow focus on sustainable and ethical clothing choices. Some of them might even be offended that I referred to them as fashion blogs – I think the term is influencer sites? I guess because they influence lots of other people to buy and wear the same clothes from the same sustainable and ethical clothing manufacturers or whatever it is they are promoting. I still don’t get it, but that’s the only way I can explain it. If there’s a better definition then feel free to correct me. I don’t wish to offend any of them.
But that’s just it – these influencer bloggers all wear the same clothes, just in slightly different ways. Reading one or two of them is fine, but after that… you’ve seen them all. I was very much on that train for a while, wanting to wear the same things they did because they promoted sustainable and ethical means, etc… There’s nothing wrong with that – other than I got bored because I’m tired of seeing the same thing so many times. I found it kinda ironic that the same thing happens with fast fashion as well, but those clothes get rotated out faster because they fall apart more easily or because something new is in. I do follow some influencer sites, but I’m actually more interested in the other tidbits they have to say. I’m more interested in them as people and find them interesting. Sure, I’ll end up finding out about some good deals on Everlane or Garmentory or wherever as a result, which is always a perk. Finding good staples is never a bad thing.
But now, I think I’ve found my way of being a more conscientious shopper. I’m more interested in the designers/ clothing brands I enjoy and realized there’s a lot of it available that’s used or pre-owned. These are limited items that have been worn or tucked away and need a new home and I’m searching for them to add to my home. Sure, I could buy some more wide-leg pants from Everlane, but I could also wait until I find a pair of wide-leg pants from Yohji Yamamoto, 45rpm, Kapital, Comme de Garcons, or other designers that may be in the same price range if I look enough through ebay, poshmark, or discounters.
There’s an excitement to owning something you really desire from a designer or artist. It’s about appreciating their craft. While I applaud Everlane and companies like it that work towards ethical fashion, I still don’t feel the clothing is as precious to me because they will still make many more runs of the same clothes over and over again. Sometimes the styles are phased out, but there isn’t as much novelty to them, especially since so many other companies like them are doing the same thing. Also, I don’t feel there is the same sort of attention to detail with the clothing. This is not to downplay the importance of these companies. I’d rather see people buy from them than Walmart or Target or other fast fashion types of places. However, why would I want to spend $200 on pants from Elizabeth Suzann that I know every other blogger I follow wears when I could buy some vintage Y’s pants around the same price instead that make me really happy?
This isn’t to say I’m not going to buy from those companies anymore. I prefer to put more effort now into waiting and finding the clothes from the designers I desire and if I need items to supplement that wardrobe, then yes, I’ll happily spend the money on more ethical clothing retailers.
Who knew one shirt could create such a long, rambling blog post? This is probably two or three different topics’ worth of information, but I’m not too good at being succinct.
Shirt: Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto. Jeans: Grana. Shoes: Nisolo.