photography by Vivian Dunger
and a text from March 2015, which never got to be published elsewhere
Man repellin’ in Eastern Europe
Living in Eastern Europe is not easy for various reasons. Fashion-wise, it gets even harder, especially if you had already lived for almost a year in NY. Having barely bitten the Big Apple, you still remember its taste and the promise of a juiciness you will most likely never encounter ever again; unless you move back to New York.
Growing up in a small town in Romania before moving to its capital city, I learnt a few valuable lessons. The first one is that the best clothes are in the second hand stores: no vintage stores around, no H&M or Zara. Secondly, it’s always easier to repell than to compel. Third: never be surprised if you find a gorgeous pair of checkered green and purple Lacoste pants at 17 that you would still be wearing at 25.
I remember being in high school and wearing a pair of boyfriend jeans and a green cotton T-shirt and my best friend literally saying something about how I can and should be wearing “normal outfits”. Don’t get me wrong, I love comfort and that is the main reason behind the fact that I almost never wear high heels. At the same time, for me comfortable means wearing skirts and dresses with jeans and boots, silk and velvet at the same time and lots of layers: a shirt, a jumper, a T-shirt, a skirt, some flared jeans and so on. I also always loved mixing patterns and prints and I am no stranger of “colors of the rainbow” outfits or color blocking as they call it today.
My relationships and my whole life for that matter have been revolving around clothes ever since I got into the first second hand store and realized that those things on the hangers could become meaningful once someone actually bought them and wore them. I also noticed that my favorite outfits pass either as unnoticed or disapproved by the people around me. My least favorite, on the other hand, get compliments precisely because they compel.
Moving to New York to study Philosophy proved to be a challenge when it came to clothes as well. I had to choose and fit my best ones in only three suitcases, which I bravely managed to. It also made my fashion dream come true: no restrains when it came to “dressing up”. I could wear anything and I got smiles instead of frowns: be it pink pajama pants with doggie prints or silver glittery flatforms with orange hats and fluffy green sweaters. Missing New York has been a constant in my life since June 2014, when I had to leave. I left some clothes there, by selling or donating them. I brought some clothes here.
I never bumped into Leandra Medine on the street, as I did not in the case of Sarah Jessica Parker, although I was living on the Upper East Side and spending most of my time in Manhattan. These are only two of my regrets. At the same time, Leandra gave a talk in the building I was living, which I missed. Sarah Jessica Parker was present when they inaugurated a new building for The New School. I missed that too. I was somewhere else in Manhattan, probably browsing through unaffordable vintage pieces and dreaming of a friendship with both of them