Here’s a shocker, and I’d like you to sit down for a second, because this is going to be a revelation: I’m a man who likes beards. I love ’em scraggly and unkempt—the kind that people claim are hard to kiss (grow up, bitches). When they’re too manicured, I’m more likely to say things like “stop it,” and “why’d you go and ruin it,” but of course it shouldn’t get too dirty and the polite thing to do is comb the crumbs out and not make bad jokes like “I’m saving them for later.” I like beards, because they make people ask questions, or react: “Why doesn’t he just shave?” “Is he fat under there?” and “That would be too scratchy on my lady parts. No dice.” I feel similarly about the clothes from Uniforms for the Dedicated’s fall/winter 2011-12 collection. There’s nothing effortless about them. The guys who wear these clothes want you to think they’re very casual, but they’re not. And I like that. I like men who spend some time putting together a uniform. UFTD’s uniform focuses on relaxed fits, and the message, I can only assume (because I did not make these clothes or art direct the shoot), is some sort of narrative of a grad student.
He’s contemporary (I mean, check out those glasses), attends fashion weeks (with his friends who are buyers, naturally), takes drugs recreationally, is bisexual (and yet, is a wiz in the kitchen when he makes meals for his live-in girlfriend) and is a bit of a shoe collector. Even his lapels don’t conform to the traditions of starching or ironing—he wears them wildly, because his intellectual pursuits are much more important. He is finishing up his MFA.
He’s a part-time art critic, makes collages, imbibes with Michael Musto and currently has no STIs. Uniforms for the Dedicated’s fall/winter 2011-12 collection is satisfying in the sense that their clothes help construct these mini narratives. Just by looking at their fit and the materials used, I created a life for this model, whose only job is to sell the clothes. And he has. He may actually be in a Christian rock band, be a father to 9 children (and counting), or he might be a Glamorama playboy—but it doesn’t matter, because when we create these looks, we are, more or less, asking people to validate us. We’re literally begging for these stories to be created, we’re asking for people to react in some way. I like clothes that are somewhat open to interpretation. It would be too easy to just call this dude a hipster. When people put together an outfit (and really, really try something), the goal is for that something to be acknowledged. My guess is that wearer has his or her own opinions (“I’m just being a Carrie,” “This is art school chic,” or “I don’t care about fashion”), but if you’re going to try something, create a character, put together a costume, pass or fail, the ownership on how that story is adapted to film is not yours. Self-expression is yours, but how your story is told isn’t. And to me, it’s more fun that way. In 2011, I was an “undateable [WC]” “homeless” man who “looks like he slept in a sewer.” This year? Well, it is too soon to tell, but I’m hoping it is just as good.