September 11, 2012

Holier than most.

Today I wore my new Djellaba while spring cleaning my closet. Why? I like to say you can take the girl out of the desert, but you can't take the desert out of the girl. But maybe that is pretentious. I think I just wore it because it is comfy, I don't have to pull my stomach in (which is still in much need of pulling in after my share of the average annual 16kg/person of Moroccan sugar consumption), and it makes me feel happily nostalgic.
I also got nostalgic when I started to sort through my tank tops. Or vests as the South African would say. Or wife beater as I once called one in unfortunate incident with a black sales woman in New York. Whatever. For me they are my life and holy as well as holey.

I blame my old boss GC for the obsession and so does my credit card. He impregnated on us – his devoted ants squad – that only a holey tank top was a worthy tank top and the holier, the worthier it became. The same went for stains as they may have met Mick Jagger over a late night spilled whiskey, or tears which screamed of adventure while trekking through deserts and crossing oceans, and in general any demise fabric could show that looked the excitement of sex, drugs & rock'n roll. We rummaged through flea markets in the country, secondhand shops downtown, fancy vintage stores uptown, and sometimes even our own little NYC closets, realizing we might be sitting on stinky, ripped goldmines ourselves. You would be surprised what some people pay for dirty, old scraps of fabric.
Eventually designers caught on and our job became somewhat easier. Everybody was doing fancy jeans and unfancy tanks and tees. Sweat and blood came out of a bottle and a machine cut the holes to match. Not to make it too easy for us, these pieces was never good enough for GC. They needed to be real. Authentic. I hate the word. It made me spent hours scrubbing and rubbing, dusting and staining. We had an entire special stain kit with different shades of mud, dust, and street gravel. I remember a few jobs sitting on the pavement rubbing jeans on concrete as this gets the most authentic results of wear and tear. Just to be clear – I was wearing the jeans while doing this! The other trick was washing. Over and over and then once more. One time as it was late and I wanted to speed up the process I added bleach to it. I went to set the next morning shamefaced and with a load full of sample jeans looking like the Milka cow. Talk about starting new trends.
But however much work and money it took to either find the holy jersey grail or to make it thus, I have loved clothes looking old, worn, and full of stories ever since. My most favorite pieces are my most torn. Little surprise there that once again I didn't throw out any today except for a new t-shirt I bought last year at H&M. It's still all shiny and new and I don't like it because of it.
I think most people will think me a slop; I think I like holes, stains, and their sentiment. So when I come to your next dinner party in a top with holes, don't just judge; I'm sharing my love and appreciation for you by wearing it as my plus one.

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