Thoughts from the Editor

            I have spent the last two months abroad, spending the majority of my time in Egypt, specifically Cairo. I have been to countless weddings and formal functions these past two months and the reality of these gatherings are less about the joining of two people or a charitable cause than to provide the setting for people to show off.

            It was by taking a moment in the midst of overpriced garments and jewelry that it seems we have, as a global society, lost touch to what personal style really is. Skinny ties, double-breasted suits, low-cut dresses, and the like are, we are told by various forms of media, the means to “express ourselves.” I am not about to degrade the importance of dressing for an occasion, a wedding deserves a suit, it is certainly disrespectful to show nonchalance in the face of someone’s most cherished times.

            However, I have been reading Yukio Mishima’s “After the Banquet,” which like most Mishima works is masterful, but Kazu, the focus of the book is a woman who takes immense pride in her kimonos. Why bring this up? Kazu’s kimono’s colors are picked to match her mood and her company; while the patterns and scenes depicted on these kimonos take into account many other factors, all directed to express herself as best possible. Certainly our present society dresses for the occasion, we have yet to truly dress for life.

            The truth is that we can, we have the money to do that, and an appreciation of that luxury—and it is a true luxury—should be reflected in the way we approach every day. We celebrate our personal wealth or ability to discern “trends” rather than put forth our humor, sarcasm, or pride in the clothes we wear everyday. Kazu wore colors and patterns that presented her naïve and driven self, while considering the company and the occasion: it is that very distinction that, I think, divides the true lover of style and the person simply wanting to show off their ability to ape magazines or flash some designer brands.

I cannot speak for women’s style, for I am very open about my ignorance on the far more complex, dynamic, and daring realm that is womenswear, but I think it is incumbent upon those who truly feel a passion for style to understand what that really means. I liken our expression to the cherry red of a car collector’s prized Ferrari or the décor of a home; it seems style has been overtaken by the consumerist pushed fashion world in the illusion of style. The problem however is not only from some detached and distant “media” or evil corporation, but also, with us.

            Buy a garment from H&M or utilizing Style Editor Eric White’s guide to buying second-hand and when asked about it, say it’s from Gucci or some other name. Try the same thing and tell them you bought it from a thrift-shop and see what happens. I have a vintage (that’s code for second-hand) Brooks Brothers blazer that is routinely complimented, and when I—to have fun—say that it’s from some random high-fashion house the people are that much more impressed with my “style.”

            Hanging around and observing many people who describe themselves as interested in fashion made me realize what it is we’re actually putting forth in this magazine.  People have asked me what makes us different from GQ or Esquire, and the answer I think goes far deeper than the fact we are not targeting 28+ year old white guys who need guidance on literally every aspect of their lives. We are trying to put forth the importance of design, the importance of celebrating life, the importance of realizing that we are all from one source and are subsequently simple varied expressions of that ultimate creator.

            Is that answer to be found in recklessly pursuing material possessions? Does something have to be emblazed with a brand to be worth something? I say no. Do I wish for everyone to have perfectly fitted suits on? No. I am not asking for the person without the money to dress up, nor would I ask someone without the interest to dress up either. I am saying that as enthusiasts of personal style we should truly understand what we want rather than “the want” generated from outside. The difference between fashion and style is simple: fashion can be bought, style cannot.

By: Osama Eisa- Editor-In-Chief

*Photo courtesy of IreneS’ Flickr account.


2 Responses to “Thoughts from the Editor”

  1. 1 Alex August 16, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  1. 1 Thoughts from the Editor | Eleven Magazine Trackback on August 12, 2008 at 7:44 pm

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