LIFE IN STYLE

by Jeremy Danté

8

new york city is a terrain known for it’s dashing models. scattered amongst the crowd, that off-runway glamour. the tossled hair, or slightly undone men’s dress shirt with that fresh make-up. but there are real people there too, that are not fashionable, that don’t care about style. some maybe care too much about it. there’s a way that style is effortless. there is a certain air of casual-ity about real style. a way that is organic, thoroughly developed and strikingly individualized. these bouts of style change from person to person. a large aspect of style has a great deal to do with function. how to look good while living, and being able to function during day-to-day activities. in thinking of style every day and steadily as i grow, i’ve long channeled sentiments of awareness of self. in this, the idea of fashion seems so narrow.

i’ve worked to develop a style for myself, which began with a collection of references. this compilation of such references, some digital and some mental, started many years ago. i would sit with magazines and create collages, as well as save clippings, memorize promo art for musicians and think about stage performances. i think most great moments of capitalization in style start with a great reference. whether a film, or a song, a music video you’ve seen or an expertly angled street style image- which basically rules the internet in this age. to understand style, is to understand a personality, a person’s true sense of character. we see the beloved fable of cinderella; beautiful girl with potential becomes a vision realized but only with the help of a fairy godmother, who acts as a stylist. she ends up giving ol’ cindy her life, complete with a new attitude and glass kicks. these themes play out in many other aspects of film and/or television. shows like ‘sex and the city’, films like ‘the princess diaries’ or ‘the devil wears prada’ or even before that, ‘pretty woman’. perpetrating style in these ways gives off the idea that- it’s just an outfit. or it’s just a look, a change in hair color or a plucked brow. it’s about bringing out what’s already there, and pronouncing it. there are so many more complex ways to highlight someone’s inner qualities, but those inner workings need to exist before an exterior can be polished enough to drive that point home.

not to say that there aren’t exceptions to that type of pairing- inner and outer beauty. for the past few months, i’ve thought about inner beauty and myself. existing in a moment where there is an extended form of scrutiny, jealousy and even violent forms of rejection- exists me. in this overly stylized way, i feel as though I’m unfairly judged on the basis that i put so much into certain visual components of who i am. these components stretch far beyond the limitations of digital life and are blasted outside of the world we know as the internet. on several occasions, i’ve been told, “you’re real? i didn’t think you existed outside of the internet” or “it’s nice to meet you outside of the internet”. is there a certain intentional nature about the ways that i am closed off? absolutely. that closed off nature is often times seen as maintained exclusivity, but as an artist- it’s about preservation. there is an objective view that i am able to maintain existing outside of the worlds that i speak of. there is a lost nature that exists within those places, where darkness lurks and validation pends amidst expectations that thrive on unrealistic beauty in a real ass way. i know me. thus, all the beautiful exterior only becomes more necessary. the interior matches the exterior. it’s about an experience. i’ve been lucky enough to receive reminders from the most beautiful corners of emotion in the past few months. these have reminded me of my own value in a time where i began to lose focus. and even if these moments are a distant memory, not something that will remain, i intend to look back and be reminded of all the ways that i transcend exterior beauty and resonate more greatly from within.

there are a plethora of ways to showcase style, or individualization of taste, through aspects of social media. everything is image driven. there is a reason why this space is clean, or that the logo has certain spacing to evoke more modernity. there is a reason that my tumblr photos cascade from gray scaled selections to bold colors, and my instagram mimics the same visual association in palette. it’s all style. style is about making who you are visible through use of function and clothing- but not limited to just that. style is evoked in the way someone’s presence is memorable, unforgettable. the largest compliment, for me, is when someone loves what i’ve selected for them, from a styling perspective. they show gratitude with this epiphany of a discovery. it’s that, “why didn’t i think of that?” type of reaction. there is a way to scale it back, while raising the bar. whether those choices are seen in the option of using denim to evoke classicism, or opting for a long sleeve shirt as oppose to a short sleeve shirt to exaggerate lines and the toning of one’s arms- it’s all very calculated in a way that is minimal but poignant. in the last few months, i’ve thought about these concepts in my collaborative relationships, and really have generated an aroused sensibility of style in this new way that is refreshing, but in this familiar way. familiar enough to excite me and keep me there.

and for the reminders i’ve received, i’ve looked for ways to contribute greater senses of style. picking things that i felt would impact the situation in a way that will linger. as a life of style, you have to think- what will this legacy be? what will remain when all is said and done. people know me for my fragrance. they state that they know I’m in the building because they smell my scent. in this exists my hope for my legacy. to have a lingering beauty that is thorough enough to be unforgettable. to be remembered through phrases and faces. my own face, which has been emblazoned on just about every avenue where i am on the internet. there is an aptitude i’ve demonstrated through branding that i feel has a stronger, lingering impact on things. i always fear that i wasn’t enough. that it could’ve been stronger, louder, more vivid. but then I’m reminded, in these subtle ways, by the universe, through elements pieced together by god, that I’m doing okay. that i am memorable because I’m a good memory. i thought of him, as i picked his jean jacket, or his denim shirt, his heavy knit blue sweater or those sneakers, and that military duffle bag. how handsome he looks in his black long sleeve shirt. he expressed a love for the items as each was received. while i hoped that his love for the materials were mirrored in the ways he felt for me, much like style development, that too is a process. i hope to be remember like his now favorite jean jacket. the more you wear it, the better it looks. better when worn. transcendent, the heart i put into style is not to be trivialized or misunderstood. undervalued or discounted is not how i will be remembered because i stress quality in all the things i’ve done. from what i’ve said- all my text messages, the songs i’ve referenced, the songs i’ve played in my car, the glimmer from the blue interior lighting that cascades against my leather interior the nights we went to look at the stars.

there is a strange duality that i feel about style. where it’s like the lessons of style are also playing out as the lessons of my life. to scale it back, to retreat to simplicity. to keep clean, and to remove clutter. style reminds me to be thoughtful, and style to me is really a gift. there is a trust in style, and the ways that i’ve styled or accentuated people in the last few months can only come from a place of love. there is a marination process that i’ve had with both style development and in emotions. my emotions run just as deep as my imagination because that is what sources my hope for love. my love of self is seen in the ways i represent myself. that representation then seeps over into the ways that i interact with others, and the care that i show for those i love. that love for others in turn becomes an extension of who i am, connecting me to all who i choose to share energy with. i keep few in my mind, and even fewer in my heart. but when i keep you in my heart, forever you’ll stay. protected from all things impure. this love that i give is like denim, one of the most durable textiles to be used. it’s a classic textile that has no need to rely on trendy marketing, it’s tried and true. american roots with international influence. beautifully strong. blue, but worn with clean crop edges of white which give it both history and added beauty. dimension is seen here and even torn, it’s still chic. built to last and even be turned into something new through such destruction. some things last forever.

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