I miss the ocean.
I was born and raised in Cape Town and that means I was never more than a ten minute drive from the beach. When I was younger, I trained to be a lifesaver, spending most of my day every Sunday running on the sand or paddling out into the swell. Even after I stopped training, I was often on the beach with friends and family. Especially in December when my late uncle would fly back home from America for the summer and we’d spend all day every day on the beautiful beaches of Clifton, browning in the sun and falling asleep to the sound of the waves.
I’ll admit that as I grew older I began going to the beach less often. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that my local beach became polluted and unpleasant. But also I lost touch with natural things in general - something I was never particularly close to as a child growing up in the suburbs.
Last year I moved to Grahamstown to study at Rhodes University. Grahamstown is in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and is about fort-five minutes away from the nearest beach. That’s not super far but when you’re a car-less student, travel anywhere outside of this town isn’t always so easy to orchestrate. So in the past year and a half I’ve been to the beach a total of two times. Once in Cape Town in December and once at Kenton-on-Sea which is outside of Grahamstown.
Lately though I’ve been thinking about the ocean and my connection with it. I grew up with the ocean by my side and so many of my memories of my uncle are ones that were made on or near a beach. Yesterday I stumbled upon this quote by Victoria Erickson:
"Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy. I crave solitude yet also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self-care and go gently. I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate. This is the messiness of life - that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding.
Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open. Wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough. “
I really related to the first part and then the notion of being like water in the second part resonated in me in a really great way.
But aside from my personal connections with the ocean, I believe it also has a universal healing power. Water is one of the most valuable elements of the earth and the same water that washes against our beaches today is the water that was swirling around the world’s coasts millennia ago. It holds the collective energy of the ages and I think our bodies respond really positively to that whenever we’re around it.
That and the fact that the beach is just a really rad place to be full stop.
In my reflections on my relationship with the ocean, I’ve realized I really want to visit a beach again soon. My 20th birthday is coming up in about a month and I’ll be here in Grahamstown so I’m thinking I’d like to celebrate next to the ocean. I’d like that a lot.
So yeah, here are some pictures from my day at Kenton a few months ago.
What do you feel really connected with in your life?
Sissi Goetze Spring/Summer 2014
Where has Sissi Goetze been all my life? Can someone give me a rough guide to the truth of what my life is if I don’t own a piece from this collection? I feel like I could write a novel about the existential crisis these clothes have set me into.
Not really though. I just like being dramatic.
Um, Industrial Revolution chic? I think yes. Those shoes are so schoolboy I can positively smell the linoleum floors! I’m not the biggest fan of monochrome - though I have been known to dabble in the dark arts - but when its minimal, clean and chic like this you can punt me in for sure.
Of course my heart will always lie with airy, light and otherwise wonderful pastel. I love the cropped detail of the two white shirts above and the layers of the blue shorts. The collection reminds me quite a bit of the clothes from the movie Her, which is a really great movie that you should definitely watch!
Okay but anyway I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about this and I don’t think I really need to because it sort of totally speaks for itself.
Love and Light
I’m back in Grahamstown after one week in Cape Town for my mid year vacation.
It was actually really difficult for me to leave my room back home this time around. Its become this wonderful, all-white space of perfect bliss for me. My mom refurbished her late father’s old wooden tool chest and put it in my room. It goes so well with the rest of my fittings. I decided to put some crystals down on the lid and I love the energy they bring to the space.
We also got white sheets for my bed and can I just tell you that waking up in white sheets has to be THE best feeling ever. I also chanced across this adorable whale throw cushion. I slept with it next to me every night! I’m obsessed. Here are some pictures to give you a feel.
Also, the tree outside our house is looking lovely and full of life. which makes me happy.
I found this great designer, Sissi Goetze, whose s/s 14 collection is to die for! Look out for that post coming soon.
Love and Light
Pendavis is Burning
Shake the dice and steal the rice! Kim Pendavis is my absolute favourite subject from Paris is Burning. He and his protégée, Freddie, looked so great every time I saw them.
Kim is totally my idol for making all of his clothes. The tank top and head wrap are so great! and Freddie’s blue ensemble makes me so happy.
Watching Kim sew reminded me how much I want to learn to craft my own clothing. I think being able to alter and create your own clothes is such a liberating skill to have. You don’t have to rely on commercially-minded corporations to provide what they deem fashionable. You get to create what you want when you want to. I like that idea.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this little morsel of fashion with you.
Love and Light.
I went to a greek themed food party tonight with my good friends from the drama department. It was the perfect excuse to indulge my craving for an earthy, brown, wonderful flower/grass/twig crown.
I used an adjustable rope necklace as the base and added some stalks of wild grass, a twig or two and some golden shower from my warden’s garden. Here it is:
I really love it. I’ve been so drawn to nature and natural living lately. I think its something that was partly awoken by AfrikaBurn and the people I encountered there. Its always been something that’s interested me – the bohemian life – but only recently has it started becoming more and more prominent. Here are some things that inspire me:
Hanging off the side of a train somewhere in the world.
Parking a camper van next to the ocean for the night.
Hanging out of a window on the open road.
I don’t have credits for any of these but if you know who they belong to, please let me know.
Tell me about what’s inspiring you right now?
Love and Light.
One on One
I’m sorry things have been a little weird around here lately. And by weird I mean sporadic and a little (okay a lot) unsatisfying.
I’m reassessing my plans for the blog. Don’t kid your sweet self into thinking that I’m not going to be blogging about fashion anymore. Oh god, honey, no. What kind of a blogger do you think I am? (Mean Girls reference. If you didn’t get it, leave now.) All I’m saying is I’m thinking about diversifying and while I think, things have been a bit lame.
You’ll notice that the appearance of the Island has changed. Thats okay, just a little bit of surgery. Think Lana del Rey’s nose job…we’re definitely not going all Janice Dickinson on you. I’m learning to code and hopefully I’ll finally be able to give this puppy the look I’ve always wanted it to have in the not-too-distant future.
Please bear with me while I go through this little transitory wobble.
I’m not signing off. I’m just saying that streamlining my effort will take some time and that during that time things will remain weird.
as above so below
I guess, I don’t really have a lot to say about this outfit. The jeans are thrifted, the vest is old Cotton On and the cap and jacket are new Cotton On. The sandals you know well and the necklace used to be a rosary but I cut the cross off of it. We’ll call it teen angst.
I really like the silhouette the pants make. They sort-of round my legs in a weird way that I like. I don’t even know how to explain. It makes sense in my head.
As you can tell I’m not really succeeding at language today. Oops.
I think I’ll leave it there. Pray for me.
I did it. I went black.
Maybe now they’ll make a TV series about badass teenage boys with magical powers who dress in super chic black all the time. I volunteer as tribute for the role of lead!
Its kind of (read REALLY FRIGGEN) sad that there aren’t any shows with sassy, young guys in roles that are powerful outside of brute strength and…like… six packs. Is it too much to ask for an intelligent, emotional, slightly misunderstood and angst yet still totally independent and easy cool in a refined sort of way young guy to be shown on TV? Am I reaching for the stars here? No. I don’t think so.
Anyway, winter is totally setting in here in Grahamstown so I layered the shit out of this puppy:
My friend told me I look good from the back. Is that even a thing?
Either way, tights ARE a thing and I really don’t like it when people call them meggings. Like, can’t a guy wear something without having to change its name to sound more “manly”? That totally implies that leggings are just for women and why do women get to have all the fun? Sometimes I want to show off my legs in skin tight spandex too.
Tight spandex aside, I’m back at varsity and getting right back into it. I’m back at yoga after an extended hiatus (which came pretty soon after starting so basically I’m only really starting now) while I rehearsed for the show I was in and am working on a healthier diet. Not in a checking-the-amount-of-calories-and-cutting-all-sugar-and-fat-and-whatever-out-of-my-diet kind of way. I totally just ate a pizza right now but the point is not to be extremist about supposed health. To me, health is moderation and consideration. So I’m eating fast food and junk food a little less than before and trying to consider healthier options. But in no way am I being absolute. Like, you won’t see me eating just salad in an effort to be healthy. That’s not what its about. What you will see is more water, more yoga and more fresh food. And then maybe a pizza with double cheese on a Sunday.
I guess health is a bit of a weird issue for guys. I don’t know. Before, the only time I thought of anything health related was when I considered going to the gym to try and get myself a six pack. And I think that a lot of guys my age and younger think that the only sort of physical/health related thing they should aspire to is being muscular or good at team sports in school. But why? I have never been either of those things and for a long time that bothered me. But like I’ve said before, I think that when you aspire to those things it often comes from a place of wanting to be accepted/respected/thought well of by others as opposed to a place of self-respect or self-motivation. I’ve found that my desire to be healthy is a far better motivation to exercise and eat right than the desire to have a certain type of body ever was. And I just think thats an important idea to share.
I don’t know how we got to health issues from my new outfit but okay.
Lets stare at Matt Healy who I totally adore these days.
Imagine Matt Healy as a character in that TV show I mentioned/fantasized about earlier. Yeah, he’d totally fit the criteria for a sassy male witch. YES!
Things are getting weird so I’m going to leave now.
It’s been a while. Here’s what’s been happening since we last spoke.
We closed the show last night. It was a really great experience for me as an actor. Every production I perform in makes me love the craft more and more and I feel weirdly affirmed knowing that I could one day turn performance into a career. I even got one of those vanity mirrors in my dressing room. It was the best!
I finally finished watching American Horrror Story: Coven . I think a part of me wanted to drag out the experience for as long as possible because I couldn’t get enough of their outfits. Never before have witches been so stylish. My favourite looks are Zoe’s dungarees and Fiona’s turbaned-and-ready-for-death do. This is what I did:
I’m really into this whole turban thing right now. It’s so handy for when my hair gets crazy (which is a lot of the time these days) and it makes me feel like every classic hollywood actress ever…albeit when they’re old. I mean, I’m talking Jane Fonda here. Chiiiiiiiic.
I’m excited to get back to Cape Town next weekend. I have a bunch of things I’m hoping to get done while I’m there and more likely than not, they’ll find their way onto here soon enough.
Okay. I like your faces. I’ll be back soon.
Music and Stuff
I’ve just got to tell you before I forget, that I got cast in the drama department’s term production. I’m pretty stoked to be working with a bunch of the honours students and a third year student. Also, our director, Liz Mills is from Cape Town and has such a great vision and style. I’m so excited to perform the final product. My character is the creepiest. Basically he’s a 60 year old scriptwriter with a tendency to watch people during their “intimate moments”. I’m having so much fun exploring his pervy side. Plus, his costume is totally banging. We did a publicity photo shoot yesterday and maybe when the pictures are ready I can put them up on here.
To give you an idea though, take a look at these pictures of Harold from a movie I recently watched called Harold & Maude. He’s basically the epitome of teen angst and keeps staging elaborate suicides. His exasperated mother just rolls her eyes and suggests he gets married. Then he meets an old lady, Maude, who likes to crash funerals. Right?
Harold is in fact a much nicer (and younger) person than my character but the way he dresses makes me think of my character, Clifford. Watch the movie. Its a total gem.
Anyway, in the last 24 hours I’ve stumbled on a bunch of musical stuff that you should TOTALLY see. So here:
There are several things we need to talk about here, like that Ankh necklace and the fact that James’ hair knows no gravity. Also, these boys look like the kind of guys who would totally take you under their wing and teach you everything you need to know about like disco and stuff. Which is weird because their sound makes me think on the Beatles.
Also,the sequined/shiny/need-in-my-life shirt James has on. Yeah, lets talk about Glitter and stuff for a sec: I think shiny stuff should really be a lot more prominent in menswear. Like these pants:
They’re from a Vogue Hommes International s/s 2011 editorial called “Le Cri” photographed by Willy Vanderperre featuring model Jonathan Marquez. In fact, its the same Vogue you saw in my post about my room.
Also, rainbow glitter is a cool thing which I like and am therefore putting here.
Then there’s this band, called Men, who make cool stuff and have a TOTAL babe of a lead singer in JD Samson. Besides looking like a really hunky Frida Kahlo (especially in the illustration below) JD has this weirdly iconic bad boy look. Think Francois from Youth in Revolt. Okay now look.
I see a lot of Frida in here. This is an illustration by Jory Dayne. His work is so great. Look.
Here’s JD with MEN.
Yeah, I mean. There’s not much more I can say.
Also, take a look at this music video for their song, Make Him Pay, which is a wonderful trip mix up of sex-ed and self defense and beach massage. There’s LITERALLY nothing more you could want from a music video.
Then there’s Bertie Gilbert, who you might know from Youtube, and his really great, Wes Anderson-like short films. Take a look at these screenshots which I love.
They’re from his little video called, We’re So Lucky. You should definitely go see it and his two short films. I’m a big fan of his. I like Bertie’s all black everything look in the first and second shots and the way he distorted the colors in the film.
So yeah, thats about it for just now. I like your face.
you make fashion make sense@growingirons
Thank you so much for saying that. All I want to do really is offer an alternative perspective on menswear and how men think about fashion.
Back to Grinding (work, that is)
Maybe you know, maybe you don’t but either way I’m back at uni in Grahamstown. Back at uni means unlimited interwebs again and that means I’ve been kind of sort of majorly distracted. But, I mean, I can say with a really straight face that I’ve actually been quite productive in spite of myself. I attribute that productivity to my recent acquisition of a daily planner. Life lesson: daily planners will change you. I used to tell myself that oh sure I’ll remember all the readings my lecturer mentions and of course I’ll remember that I need to go buy water before my tutorial. Needless to say, I was wrong. I lost control, so I bought a daily planner. Its a Moleskine. Star Wars edition. Yoda is on the front. Yes.
I signed up for yoga. I’m really enjoying it even though it is exercise (I know right?) and I think the key to that enjoyment of exercise comes from the fact that this time, I’m doing it because I want to be healthy and not because I want my body to look a certain way or to have people approve of me somehow. I’m learning that, in all aspects of life, it is always best to do something because it is what you feel is right for you and it will essentially make you happy. I believe quite strongly that no-one will be satisfied with you until you are satisfied with yourself. And even then some people are pretty messed up and will never be satisfied with anything anyway which is why I say never mind them and just DO IT FOR YOU.
I think its equally important to apply that principle to the way you dress. For me, the clothes I put on my back are an extension of who I am. If I deny myself the pleasure of wearing what represents the way I feel about myself on a particular day, then I am denying myself.
I guess all of the above really comes down to TRUST. Trusting yourself and your instincts, trusting that you know what is right for you. Trusting that even though what you feel is right for you might not be what people expect of you, you should still go ahead with it. For instance, the pants above. Men aren’t supposed to accentuate their waists, their bums, their hips. But when I have pants tight up around my waist, I feel good. I feel empowered by a silhouette that is now alien on the male body. So I wear it, even though men are supposed to wear their pants on their hips. And it feels good.
Going back to trust, its funny because when I found these shorts in a hospice shop, I wasn’t sure if they would fit me. There wasn’t anywhere to try them on but I wanted them so badly (some of you might recall my desperate search for anything high-waisted). I was with Jess and we had been talking all morning about trust. So I took them and said: trust. When I got home, they fit perfectly.
Anyway, let me not get carried away. Here are some other things that I think are cool and that you should see:
Surfers are cool. Also, beaches are best when they’re cloudy.
I’m told this is Dior Homme. Also, hats are a thing.
This is apparently an ad for Montgomery Ward menswear from 1943. The outfit on the left kills me. Long legs, short torso. YES.
Also, I may or may not be posting too many mirror selfies on instagram or Facebook but after a conversation with a friend, I have come to the realization that you HAVE to document those days when you look exactly the way you wish you did 100% of the time. So don’t think of it as a selfie. Think of it as a immortalization of the moment the appearance cosmos converged in your favour. Here, let us celebrate:
I still adore my Sorbonne shirt. Also, I bought a new pair of the same pair of pants. The old ones started to tear but I loved them so I bought new ones.
My hair is still getting longer. My looking-down-with-incidental-pout pose is also getting stronger.
There’s this one as well which I think is kind of cool because it shows the sort of stuff I keep with me and that’s pretty telling.
Okay. So, I mean, basically what I want you to get out of this is to learn to care a little less. Do what you need and what is good for you and celebrate when you look good. And even when you don’t.