A Short Breather

June 21, 2016

by Gracia Ventus

Issey Miyake Cocoon Cardigan
Wearing: Issey Miyake Pleats Please cardigan; Comme Comme skirt; Damir Doma creepers; Yves Saint Laurent bag

There are moments in one's life where the downs are deeper than the ups, where the toils of life overwhelm what little joy we have painstakingly build up over time. Everyday we are constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we are not successful enough for society, that we are not attractive enough for other people, that we are not good enough for ourselves. If you forgo your work for a decent amount of sleep, you feel guilty for being lazy. If you are not being photographed in drunken stupor surrounded by drunk people holding up some lit Moet on friday night, you are a lonely loser missing out on life.

Amongst all these self-imposed miseries, the tree of life decides to shed its lemons. Little ones, big ones, medium ones. And we are not quick enough to squeeze all of their juice as they fall upon us. Your terrible boss is being nasty as usual. Your cat gets run over by a car. Your loved one gets into a freak accident and is fighting for his/her life. You watch your relationship break apart in front of your very eyes like a train wreck you cannot stop. Shit always happens. Some of us have come up with various forms of coping mechanism; healthy ones like talking things over with friends and families, going on a relaxing retreat, picking up a sport, petting the other non-dead cat; or unhealthy ones like alcoholism, over-indulgence, violence, and drowning oneself in even more work. There's also religion, which can fall either way depending on your point of view. Despite all these methods humans have come up with, many still sink into anxiety and depression.

Issey Miyake Cocoon Cardigan

I love what I do, and I feel lucky that I am able to eke out a living in fashion. But nevertheless, there are moments where a sense of inadequacy, lack of motivation and fear of missing out creep into my head. There are days where I second guess the major decisions I've made in my life. There are days where lifting weights and meditation do nothing to alleviate the turmoils of my mental state.

But for now I take solace in being able to take a short breather in this cafe, sipping a cold coffee and enjoying the cool breeze from the rain, while a short distance away, a fat cat is napping on a pile of books.

Cat in CafeCat in Cafe


Your Clothes Should Bring You As Much Joy As A Box of Chocolates

June 16, 2016

by Gracia Ventus

I wrote this while craving for Oyakodon, a Japanese dish that consists of chicken and egg doused in sweet soy sauce served on a bowl of fluffy white rice. Unfortunately I had just had a full breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausage. I realised that my body probably doesn't need the extra bowl of rice, but the heart wants what the heart wants, especially when such a desire for comfort food is fuelled by the hormones of ovulation. That and the crippling obligations a person has to deal with on a daily basis. Comfort food ranks pretty high up in my books, alongside clothes one can lounge around in then run out of the door without the hassle of changing. I would go so far to assert that the Y's sarouels are so cozy, even a t-shirt might lose in a 'cozy garment competition'. It's like the box of chocolate one reaches out for to perk up a heavy day.

Issey Miyake Cardigan
Issey Miyake Pleats Please cardigan available here

Issey Miyake Cardigan
Issey Miyake APOC Inside cocoon cardigan available here

Yohji Yamamoto Y's with Rick Owens
Yohji Yamamoto Y's sarouels available here; Rick Owens OG Dunks available here

Shop for new items on ROSEN here. Shop for all items in store here.

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The Rise of Overpriced, Overhyped Streetwear

May 28, 2016

by Gracia Ventus
Wearing: Balenciaga aviator shearling coat; COS blouse; Issey Miyake blouse; Yohji Yamamoto trousers; Adidas tubular sneakers

Wearing: Balenciaga aviator shearling coat; COS blouse; Issey Miyake blouse; Yohji Yamamoto trousers; Adidas tubular sneakers; Alexander Wang bag

If you've been reading this blog for some time, you would be aware of my disdain for Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent, and how he has destroyed a reputable Maison in favour of pandering to commercial success by reproducing derivative stereotypes of youth culture. But there is a new zeitgeist that may have trumped Slimane's laziness. I call it faux luxe-streetwear, i.e., streetwear masquerading as high fashion.

It might have started off with Hood by Air (*shudder*) before it got overshadowed by the rise of Off White. Off White (full name: Off White c/o Virgil Abloh) is the product of Virgil Abloh aka Kanye's creative director aka glorified stylist. Virgil Abloh began his first foray into fashion manufacturing with Pyrex Vision (often known as Pyrex, confusing many homemakers and baking enthusiasts), whose designs could hardly be differentiated from HBA. Their main shtick was to stick on a tired logo done in a tired typeface onto as many typical streetwear clothing as possible. Pyrex's game was so strong it was basically screenprinting logos on deadstock Ralph Lauren shirts, which were then marked up to $500. The entitled attitude demanded by the price tag from these mediocre clothes is absolutely revolting. Despite the lack of design merit, Pyrex sold well because influential hip hop artists endorsed the clothes.

At around the same time, Kanye West decided that he would like to be a fashion god. When Antonio Banderas decided to make clothes, he enrolled himself into a fashion school. 'Ye on the other hand watched a lot of fashion shows and allegedly did some 'internships' with Fendi and quietly collaborated with Giuseppe Zanotti. His first proper foray into fashion was a womenswear collection in 2011 that flickered then died abruptly only to be revived in the form of Yeezy - an Adidas collab extravaganza dressed up as a runway show. One would hardly call leotards, bombers and sweatshirts groundbreaking even if they were presented in over-the-top format. While many media outlets slammed Kanye's fashion attempts, right down to the construction of the clothes, blinded fans were still lapping them up as evidenced by the high price that Yeezy Boosts commands on ebay. Despite the subpar quality of design, especially when compared to other sportswear collaborations from Y3 and Sacai, Kanye insists on being heralded as the next big thing in fashion. And it looks like he has finally made it in the industry because Zara has officially copied Yeezy.

Zara copies Yeezy

Yeeze (left) vs Zara (right)

Then there's Vetements which started off full of promise. Nondescript, logo-less clothes with the off-kilter tailoring style that referenced Margiela's greatest hits. Unfortunately somewhere along the way, money took over their design philosophy. Cheeky slogans and corny graphics became de rigueur. Eventually Vetements shifted from Margiela-ism to clothing for adults who are stuck in yoof culcha. It is no surprise that Vetements is now known for its highly visible design elements that make a lot of noise but lack imagination nor design merits. The people who were carrying Céline's Luggage tote are now wearing Vetements's Polizei raincoat. Sure it might make the wearer feels like he/she is a cool kid who keeps up to date with the upper echelon of the fashion circle. There is nothing inherently wrong with that - humans want validation after all, but it's ironic that they've regressed into a commercial one trick pony doling out statement t-shirts and oversized sleeves season after season. I mourn the energy and talent being wasted on another youth-centric label. Speaking of Vetements, I'd highly recommend listening to Dapper Kid's podcast who has articulated this issue in a far more articulate manner.

The rising prominence of slogans and loud branding is the reason why the 'Live Free Die Strong Comme des Garçons' jacket has become the hottest, most sought after biker these days. Recent theory suggests that wearing logos and recognisable iconography increase one's visibility on image-centric social media, subsequently increasing one's internet clout, which comes with quite a few perks including having one's ego stroked.

Despite all my rants, there are young designers out there who know how to put a creative spin on streetwear, such as Nasir Mazhar and Caitlin Price. Although Nasir's clothes are logo heavy, removing them do not detract from the overall design quality. If you do the same with HBA, Pyrex, or Vetements, the clothes would look no better than a pile of pitiful oversized deadstocks lying around in the XXXL section of TK Maxx. But none of them compares to Kanye who stomps his feet to demand respect simply because he made some clothes - derivative, boring clothes that would hardly stir up any excitement outside the circle of hypebeasts on a hypetrain to suckerville.

Balenciaga aviator shearling

Balenciaga aviator shearling


ROSEN’s DIY Issey Miyake Campaign

May 23, 2016

by Gracia Ventus

The witch chants and the witch dances
He glimpses, circumstances

Fear, yes, longing, awareness
Frozen, unsure what to do

The witch watches and the witch prances
The world is vast
It will all pass

Come home soon for the witch's brew

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