STYLE BY NEW AMERICA
by Jeremy Danté
as americans, we are being redefined. whether you know it or not, we are. regardless of whether you’re able to recognize it; we’re changing and evolving into a greater cultural community of boundless possibilities and limitless inspiration. though i’ve never been one to reveal too much about certain opportunities or ideas i have, in making a greater attempt to break my usual format, i have been doing much more mental marinating. often times taking topics & researching them much more thoroughly in order to develop stronger angles, better manipulation of language & overall vision. becoming bored with the fashion calendar & growing slightly less interested in show season, my decision to make a change is in progress. a greater discussion needs to be had. all these thoughts have been boiling through conversation, both internal & external, and through different themes i am choosing to write about here. the evolved form of internal conversation is definitely one that works more smoothly in categories. i look for themes in my everyday life and identify how these are being pronounced. the common theme of all being rooted in style.
one tuesday morning i found the universe speaking to me through a piece i read on nick wooster. but let’s pull it back. what is being an american to you? im aware that some of you may be reading this outside of my american parameter, but think, even if not american- what does being an american represent? it’s interesting to look at the ways in which we market and live as americans. the american dream. what does that mean to you? you envision white picket fences, cashmere cardigans, bright smiles- that’s the dream. it’s poised, polished & happy. from commercialized representations to more downtown, hip portrayls- the american dream has been redefined. i felt that my literary voice needed to be more well rounded; i felt like i wasn’t fully flexing & still am not exercising my full potential. sometimes i sit & think- is fashion enough? is writing enough? are impactful images enough? there are moments that everything seems worthless. why? it’s an american mindset. it’s the idea that good is not good enough, great is not great enough & the best is just you scratching the surface. though challenging, it’s this mindset that keeps us thriving.
if you look at musical artists, television shows, fashion labels & the fashion calendar- you can see an brewing redefinition of us, we the people, as americans. you look at albums like jay-z & kanye’s “watch the throne” – the use of the american flag was modernized, stylized & blurred for the single cover art for the lead single, “otis”- which scored platinum certification in the united states. this was just one of many symbols i recognized that represents what i see as a new america. if you look at major-indie acts like lana del rey, how she popularized & glamourized our american ways with her track, “national anthem”. in the accompanying visual for the song, she represented a kennedy/camelot-esque theme, casting rapper A$AP rocky as her JFK. in the video, del rey flips from character to character as both marilyn monroe & jackie o. inspired roles; using clips of the zapruder film to get her inspriation across more clearly. interestingly enough, A$AP has also adopted imagery of a new american theme, a native of new york city, the rapper-superstar-in-waiting’s album cover also uses the american flag in a way that has allowed a greater communication of artistic freedom to be felt. our bi-racial president, the upcoming election; the 1%, the overwhelming presence of style conscientiousness in us as americans & the root being the circus of a fashion capital known as new york city- all things considered, this is our DNA as people. these small groupings which are divided into social circles & sub-cultures is what we are. it’s the idea that we can be anything we want; a fusion of aspects that all work toward carving individuality through a range of elements. this post started out as many things before i settled on the title. my work here starts with a title; it’s inspired by a direction & a theme. then comes the challenge of articulating what im thinking. going back to the case of nick wooster- who was the inspiration for the re-titling & greater reconnection of this long drafted post. wooster represents the american dream, in the setting of american retail. a young boy from kansas who started out working at a retail store at the age of 16; now age 52, nick is a staple in the world of street style. far greater than that prestige of being well-received on a street level with the cool kids- nick is the men’s fashion director for both neiman marcus & bergdorf goodman, being more recently called upon by JCpenney to help revitalize their cool factor. a necessary move for the department store which is undergoing a major image overhaul. for any one up on game, nick is that dude. his tatted arms, cool grey hair & satorially faultless sense of style all uphold his reputation as fashion director, as he lives & thrives through that title. if you don’t know his name, you’ve likely seen him floating around the internet, wondering to yourself- “who’s that dude?”
i think, for me, it’s important to see what resources, articles or different signs the universe is putting in front of you. i’ve been super lucky with this site to have been recognized & supported in my ideas of style and beauty. beyond simple ideas, these are beliefs to me & the challenge at this point is how we can elevate that level of execution. i find that my own train of thought is distinctively american in that, i need to know where i am going in order to attain a certain level of success. with my greater reputation being withheld in fashion; i started to think of american labels (once i finally admitted that i was bored with the fashion calendar). without hesitation, i thought of my major favorites- the ones you’ve seen me review here in the past few years. i thought of marc jacobs, proenza schouler, alexander wang, jason wu, marchesa- the cool labels. thinking of the ways that they’ve re-established the prestige of the american fashion scene in new york city. then i thought of more iconic labels that have more years in the game- labels like ralph lauren, ralph rucci, donna karan, nicole miller, michael kors, izzac mizrahi, vera wang. i was bored. while i can honor labels with history, i don’t often find inspiration in dulled concepts, old styles replicated in old ways or lack of innovation in design. i will say though, fashion is a temporary state & love, as well as hate, can shift from season to season. this is what makes it interesting & allows our redefinition to continue both onward & upward year after year. what could be more defining than the clothes we choose to wear?
it’s not like im a complete outsider of fashion- i understand it, i love it- i live it. it is me. in my escapades throughout new york, developing my connections- i’ve been able to muster up invites at the snap of a finger but never ended up attending shows, despite the fact that i was in the city. i lost interest. i felt my own creative interpretations of fashion were being threatened. i still get the PR emails, like so many other digital journalists. i figured though- im not a machine. im not this robot that functions solely on the fashion calendar- i am fueled by inspiration. there’s no inspiration when the industry is so heavily controlled by corporation. it’s like seeing something shining like platinum from afar- you come closer. as you get closer you realize this thing that attracted you- it’s illuminating sounds & remarkable visage is a machine. you see people going into this machine, only to be spit out either dead or completely damaged. psychologically or mentally, discouraged creatively, stiffled by impossibiltites of financial competition & distribution demands. that’s not the fashion i know, but these aspects are american by nature, consider the demand for success that is expected of us. would you jump into the machine? no! you’d stand back & avoid the harm.
i had an interesting conversation with a girl i met in the city- we talked fashion & i was completely entranced because she understood fashion like i did- which doesn’t happen everyday for me. it’s that sense of mental rarity that i felt with her. we talked about this middle zone of fashion, where people exist simply for the creativity & history of it all. but then we discussed the impossibility & manic state of corporation which now drives it. it’s more clothes, faster paced- go forward, don’t look back. it’s too much. technology alone, is american made. now before i have you techies jump down my throat- listen to what i mean. look at the digital atmosphere in which you & i have been able to build a relationship. many of you have had conversations with me in this space, you’ve watched me on youtube & spoken with me via twitter or through email. whether facebook, twitter, youtube or google- all of these incredibly impactful digital forces are american made. we take the credit for all of that. we generate that revenue. but what price are we really paying? our macbook pros, iphones, SLR’s- these are all american made. we, as a people, are american made. as americans we are cultured; we are proud, we are strong & we will, have and continue to fight. but in this fight, whether creative or not, have we lost ourselves? technology has skewed our sense of real time.
season after season, we see the trends and runway shows so quickly that we’re bored by the time these clothes hit the rack. walls of exclusivity have been made transparent. fashion shows, as i have griped about before, are for editors & industry heads that control levels of influence through proper use of trend, advertising, publishing & marketing. this is what im getting at with this theme of reformation. from real time, our sense of who we are- as americans; all that needs to be redefined. this is, problematically so, our own responsibility. who we are is intended to be self defined. expansion in america is being seen in retail as well, brands like nordstrom and the gap are taking on greater efforts of growth. as a westcoast born luxury specialty store, nordstrom is looking to enter into canada with plans to open a 285,000 sq foot location in new york city in 2018. san francisco born and based retail giant, the gap has named a new creative director after an extended absence of any real leadership. while other companies like uniqlo, H&M & forever 21 continue to thrive on the lower end of retail- remind yourselves that america is still the #1 retail market in the world. though recovering from a deficit that seen the entire world suffer, we as americans are the elite. brands come to our turf to dominate, new designers launch brands on our territory because we represent that fighting spirit for new opportunity. in this new phase, a re-establishment of style dialogue and the ways we see style, as americans, will be reformed. why? because we are new america. we are our future.