The New Silk Route An Early Inspiration


The colours of designers work inspired a young boy in childhood dreams, across the treeless plain, the desert sands with family and possessions, wrenched from the arms of beloved friends, cast nightmarishly into a strange land, a strange town, where men wore Bermuda shorts, knee high socks, short sleeved white shirts with crisp collars. Striped ties, Trilby hats and brief cases anchored to hands; Standard dress requirements, up and down the Terrace they marched on and off the production line, in searing heat, in cold wind and rain, in dark and light, morning, noon and night.

Never in life to wear such uniform I swore, never in life to conform to standard dress requirements I swore, trouble or no trouble. Never in life would age determine style I swore, never in life would I dress to please others before I pleased myself I swore. So began a life of swearing, (I know all the words but no longer use them), of non conforming, but from a base of principles as passed on by Mom and Dad, these, and, a will to conquer with in and with out, put teachers, bosses, family, friends, enemies and work mates to the test, to the brink of insanity. The rebel, the radical, quick witted, do it my way, wild imagining kid did it all, but even in the criminal years maintained a life of virtues, ?honesty is the best policy?, ?manners make man?, ?cleanliness is next to godliness?, a gentleman in the making, but a gentleman as defined by principles, not a door opener alone.

Principles strengthened with age and wisdom became most vocal. A word materialized in the regimental discipline applied to virtues and practiced every day, and reflected upon at the end of the day, and reminded at the beginning of the day. And in the quiet moments at work a conscious reminder of my foundation, never to be undermined. When just a boy, a dream is a compass to follow, a glint of hope, a ray of light guiding through the traumas of adolescence, realizing life and what lay ahead. The girls winking eyes, the innocent warmth of teenage love and the first kisses from warm wet lips, the frolics in long grass down by the river side, the secrets, the trouble, the heartbreaks, the inspiration.

Never in life to live in the past I swore, but to learn from it and plan better in the future, a journey to improve, succeed where failed, to win where lost, to gamble less and learn more, to understand, to be inspired.

All of these things gathered in travels become inspirational to life, in deliverance to fashion design for me, an intangible map embryonic to the fruition of goals, but not without devastating failures along the way too.

The black swan, Emu Bitter, Swan Lager, Swan River, Swan taxis, meat pies, Polony sandwiches, picnics at Leighton. The colours of Western beach sands and aqua waters, turned against the stark coastal plains across and Purple hills to the east. Millions of scenes, illusions, emotional highs and lows like snap shots etched into memory cells and recalled to inspire a desire to design, eclipse the past into an explosion of colour, dispelling the grays and blacks of sorrow, making worth of all the growing years, every experience a chance to learn and be inspired.

The decades removed from familiar shores.

On course to a life of non conformances: on this word, it seemed quite ironic that on a varied career path I was introduced to the concept of Quality Assurance (QA), which, in essence, documents non conformances in management processes and manufacturing etc a strategy for continuous improvement. In this unusual position I was logging things that did not conform. I was beating myself over the head with a stick; fortunately involvement in this mundane task was short lived. However the essential elements of value processes (QA) were well learned by me. Any weak link in a series of functions will impact back and forth. In the service industry it results effect at the point of sale (The customer). This must be diligently, consistently avoided because service is the first creation the product second.

There was a slight detour: A discovery made in 1968; The House of Tarvedus in Plaza Arcade, original and funky, the fruition of my love for colour, a way to individualize and live by all my swearing. There exhibited, Canary yellow crepe cotton shirts, tapered in the body, with balloon sleeves and Nehru collar; silver grey satin shirts with ruffle down the front just for the Dandy man; multi coloured shirts with white French collars and elaborate white French cuffs. Fabulous flairs, grossly exaggerated, flap down fronts with three buttons on each side. And then there were the coats and jackets, and the strings of love beads.

I was the peacock and this my plumage, women became attracted and men envious, but men found it easier and more satisfying to foster this state of mind rather than change and dress up for the girls pleasure, still the standard dress ruled the way. They remained more concerned about rebukes and condemnations from mates and less akin to the opposite gender. This strengthened my resolve to avert standard dress; so, I donned love beads, they worked like a magnet and were gifted randomly and won love but mostly for a single night, some times a week and far less times for a few months.

Advancing to more sophisticated plumage, the love beads made way for vivid silk ties, balloon sleeves were reincarnated as French cuffs adorned with timeless pieces of miniature jewellery (cufflinks). The Nehru collar for the French collar, and, then came the suit, standard as it is, but to avert standard dress; the tie, vivid, expression ate, a statement of individuality, rebellion, the epitome of male self expression, this is not standard dress.

But at the end of the day, the sun sets, the colours shine through, they rein true; a fervent quest to avoid standard dress (requirements)? What is required?

It is not so much living in the past, it is how you flavour it in the present, bitter or sweet; my past was very colourful in every aspect of the word; these intangibles are now materialized in the designs I create and produce, colourful, sweet and cheerful, par for the essence; ingredients of life.

So to bring the past to fruition sweetly a new silk route in the creation, from England, Italy, Korea, Laos, China to Australia to the wider world; Bow ties, Silk ties, pocket squares representing all the finer things that men wear as plumage. I carry on the tradition of averting standard dress modestly and humbly.

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