we know we haven’t really introduced ourselves yet. it was obvious that we needed to change that — who ARE these disembodied voices talking at me out of this screen? WHY do they care about these things?? so we took some time to think about how to do it (that’s code for “sry we haven’t posted in so long…”), and came up with something we’re really excited about! this week and next, we’ll be introducing ourselves to you with 2 (!) posts about each of our styles/aesthetics: the first will be photos from a shoot we did, and the next will be one of us interviewing the other about how we think about/are influenced by/use style and fashion in our lives. you’ll get a peek @ helena’s style first! if u recall, helena is a poet and aspiring midwife/dance therapist who id’s as trans and hard femme. kyr current favorite things include radical PLAY, augusto boal’s theater games, all kinds of movement-healing work, and cooking up foods for the people kye loves. scroll through this photo set to see helena put kyr body in all kinds of strange positions and you’ll also find a couple of kyr thoughts on ~aesthetic worlds~
Ele: Mimi Thi Nguyen (world’s most badass academic) asks her students to do an exercise in which they write about why they decided to wear what they are wearing that day. How did you decide what to wear for this shoot?
Helena: Let’s see. I’ve been having intense gender anxiety about my “breasts” or tits or whatever, and so I’ve been trying to wear things that make them less of an event, or change my relation to that event in some way. So wearing this bright-ass button up with a sports bra does that in a way that still says “look at me.” And it also works towards the way I’m trying to change my relation to color, which used to be one of fear — the fear that people would look at me and be able to say “that doesn’t work, you look bad,” or “you’re too much/that’s too loud,” or “maybe not with *your* shape,” and that those words would then shatter me. This has been changing though, I think because being in my community at this university gives me space to try out things and not be shattered (it’s a space of immense privilege). So anyway the jean jacket in the other outfit is also a form of binding, I think. But the shirt under it I just wear braless and it’s fine. I wore both of these tops with a more “neutral” (lol, nothing’s neutral, but I mean black or blue) culotte, I’m realizing now. The culotte is my favorite version of pant — they’re baggy in a way that lets you dance, high-waisted in a flattering way, leave enough blank space at the ankle to look really good with sneakers, and allow for a lot of play with different lengths of shirts, coats, etc. They’re really flexible and sort of a confusing garment in a way that I like — they don’t immediately say “femme” or “butch” or whatever, and are a bit more open to personal manipulation. I like playing in intensely sedimented forms as well, like the mini skirt or the letterman jacket, (and I’m sure culottes are sedimented in ways/historical forms I just don’t know), but they’re good for when I’m exhausted by the idea of going out the door or when I want to try out an idea of an outfit that makes me nervous. Culottes are protective for me.
Ele: What do you do that’s not “looking at style pics” that still influences your style? Books, aesthetic worlds, art, etc?
Helena: I think I take a lot of notes from food, honestly. I really like eating, and I really like cooking, and I think that the process of cooking is similar to the process of choosing an outfit: there are all of these different objects that you’ve collected and put into a closet/pantry/fridge (things that you have different relationships to that have developed over time, and with their own distinct properties) that you hold together and combine in your head, and then try out materially. And sometimes that combinatorial process goes really badly. But when it works — when all of the elements are combined in ways that you haven’t tasted before, and include different textures and flavors — it’s SO pleasurable! That’s one of the most important things to me. Based on your historical experience of things, you can shift a repetitive daily activity to be something surprising and pleasurable by referencing other experiences (outfits, meals) that you sense as important. So these processes are operating on a lot of levels and types of pressure, all at the same time. I also think you can sense how an outfit “tastes,” and there’s certain foods that I definitely want to taste like depending on my mood (pineapple is the thing I’m going for today).
you have reached the end of this installment, but tune in real soon to catch more of helena’s investments in the world through the entry point of style! and please let us know if you want to play with us on any shoots, or have any ideas for sites where we can climb/hang/ otherwise get weird together.
<3 <3 <3
e + h
ps. these photos were taken at the hyde park art center. check out the exhibit ‘who cares for the sky’ and let us know what you think.