The Story So Far Part Two


April 22, 2018

by Gracia Ventus

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Everytime I plan and do the samples for a new collection, self-doubt creeps in.

ROSEN is now a solo project run by yours truly. There are two new capsule collections slated for release in May and June, both vastly different from each other.

Despite my excitement and optimism for the future - especially with these two upcoming collection - the fear that I may be making terrible designs rears its ugly head. What if the designs go so awry that I have to scrape the idea altogether? What if people hate it? The critical inner voices are always mild at first, but as time passes by while waiting for samples to be done, these voices grow louder, so much so that I have to direct more mental energy to quash the discouraging thoughts.

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I have a habit of waking up early, usually around six or seven am, to do my reading and writing before I get on with the day's work. Today was especially bad. I woke up at half past three to answer an email from someone dear to me, inducing a surge of oxytocin that carried me way past the act of pressing the 'send' button. My mind had lost the will to sleep, so I laid in bed finishing a Kurosawa movie - Stray Dog - I had fallen asleep to the night prior. Loved the suits, was amused by the awkwardness and sincerity of early cinema, hated the not-so-subtle misogyny. Welcome to Japan. At the back of my mind I kept reconfiguring the next iteration of ROSEN's Earhart jumpsuit for summer.

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Half past five. I felt more awake than ever. There was no point in trying to fall back asleep, so I washed up and got dressed. Looking like a PI, I made my way to Family Mart - my favourite convenience store in China and Japan. I thought I might camp here until Starbucks opens its doors at seven. I used to hate the coffee chain until I realised they'd let me modify their drinks any way I want so the coffee tastes less burnt, without resorting to any sugar nor syrup. Plus they open at seven. At Family Mart I picked out my favourite crisps - things I'd normally deny myself six days a week. Today, however, is Sunday. On Sundays all bets are off. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I wish, within reason. I tried being unreasonable once and by the time dinner came, I was so overfed that I spent my meal time dry heaving in the restroom when I was supposed to be enjoying a lovely Peking duck.

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I took a place by the corner with my crisps. Noone was here yet on Sunday at sunrise. I had just finished a Salman Rushdie after the aforementioned Kurosawa, so in a bid to discover new authors I started on Jorge Luis Borges's short stories. Not bad so far.

Writers often talk about their writing process, their personal thoughts, their daily lives and habits. But very little is documented by designers. I can only surmise that the visual nature of our profession does not warrant the need to pen our thoughts, or that the non-inclination to write is the reason for their chosen career. Not that I'm calling myself a designer. Rick Owens is a designer. Rei Kawakubo is a designer. I am merely a curator of ideas, putting together elements of garments into pieces that adhere to my vision.

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Half past six. I battled a gentle wave of drowsiness that was not unexpected considering I only had three of hours of sleep. And probably due to my body digesting sugar. Time flies a little slower when I'm not running around the fabric market - buying fabrics, relaying orders to my tailors, explaining new ideas to them in a half excited half apprehensive state because a lot of things can be misunderstood even when we're speaking the same language.

The only things keeping me awake now are Borges and scribbling on my notebook, which I will transcribe online when I'm done. I love the act of writing; of putting ink on paper and feeling the tip of the pen scratch smoothly on the surface. Céline Dion is playing in the background, bringing back vague memories from forgotten years. Soon I will be making my way to Starbucks to finish my writing, answer emails and interviews, hoping some coffee will wake me up. Sunday - another work day. The work doesn't stop unless I decide it stops, which usually doesn't happen because I've resigned myself to being a workaholic. At noon I will find myself in the fabric market again to make further adjustments to the new collection. Onwards to the next stage of ROSEN.

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All featured ROSEN garments are available on ROSEN-STORE.COM. Photographs are taken by me and Dylan Knight.


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