The Art of Becoming
After my sophomore year of undergrad, I was fortunate enough to be in Japan doing an internship over the summer. One weekend, I found myself walking around the Harajuku District and noticed everyone's fashion style. Bold and unapologetic it demanded attention. A departure from the stereotype of Japanese people being conservative reserved.
It was an understatement to say I was inspired that day. All the style around me shifted the way I understood clothing and the way it can be a tool of self-expression. For the rest of the day, I made it my mission to find clothing that would allow me to express myself in is bold, unapologetic, and unique way.
After sometime walking around going in and out of shops one idea kept bothering me. Over and over again I would say to myself, "Even if I were to purchase these clothes, they were not completely unique to me.” Going deep into the rabbit hole I came to the conclusion; someone else could have bought the same thing as me and that disqualifies it from being unique. In that moment, I made the decision to customize clothing that I already owned. That was the only way it could be truly one of a kind.
You could say that my quest for uniqueness that day might have been over the top, but all that madness directed me toward a decision that would have a lasting effect over the coming years.
I just unknowingly made a promise to grow my artistry
Later that month, I would go to the fabric district in Tokyo with the intention of finding fabric I could customize my clothes with. After looking around I decided to pick up fabric with traditional Japanese patterns that I remember seeing growing up. Walking through rows of fabric with my heritage wrapped in long rolls was empowering. I found a way to reconnect to Japan and the ancient traditions the land held.
Returning back home to America, I wasted no time asking my mother if I could borrow her sewing machine. I was itching to work with the fabric I had purchased. Not having any experience with a sewing machine my excitement turned to frustration when a simple pocket square would not turn out the way I envisioned. This was not going to be an easy process. It took time but I eventually was able to put a couple pocket squares onto tee shirts. In the end, I loved going through the trial and error process of it all. Little by little I gain the skills I need to make even more elaborate designs.
That was three years ago and ever since then I have continued to use fabrics, paint, and simple embroidery to customize many other pieces in my wardrobe. As I move forward with my life, I am looking to grow my art and design skills personally and professionally in various disciplines.
Going through the creative process has challenged me in ways that academic courses did not. Not only do I develop concepts tackling ideas like perfectionism and authenticity, but I now have to find ways to bring that critique to life in a visual way. This extra layer of visual representation is where the challenge lies. The process is frustrating at time but similar to when I first used a sewing machine, I enjoy working through the process.
The satisfaction I get from creating is unmatched compared to anything else I do. I am determined to grow my art to a point where it is not just a side project but my profession.