READING 6 ︎︎︎ The Sensory Qualities of Hair & Makeup

My goal for this text is to encourage a detached awareness of the ubiquitous materials and modalities utilized by westernized humans to construct their respected characters.

Without these “skins,” a person’s Self is akin to a ghost— existing in an invisible realm until their form is revealed by the application of politicized material: shapes, colors and textures. Every morning, these variables are encoded to produce some form of visual identity.

A wisely chosen and crafted selection of wardrobe pieces has the power to shape narratives and conjure archetypal qualities fundamentally necessary for your personal character’s success (based on your own guidelines for what success looks like to you).

Professionally, this process of encoding is accomplished by fashion designers, costume designers, stylists, makeup artists and hair stylists. These professions are all extremely vital in the field of show business, since they are experts in the alchemy, craft and production of character construction. What we can learn from them is not just how to effectively implement successful costuming, but the fact that we can.

It would be foolish not to mention the value system so closely embedded in the market of fashion— at all levels. Many individuals rely on the spectrum of this value system, luxury being at the higher-end, as a key ingredient in their personal codification of character choices. Brand presence in itself can speak volumes to the nature of the character, and role, one wishes to play. But even more importantly, this is where the notion of play and imagination makes a meaningful appearance, as even the most sought out and influential designers glean from the same universal pool of referents— the equally accessible zeitgeist of history, politics and symbolism— in the craft of their creations.

With this knowing— the matrix of stylistic variables of wearable aesthetics— we can respect the art of the “professionals,” while also relinquishing the intimidating power of the value systems (which they rely on.) More importantly, we can be personally hyper-aware of this daily creative form of alchemy, more courageous and more proactive in an effort to independently engage purely in the craft of costuming.

It is wise to know that, at the core, our true Selves are unattached to the materials which we choose to cloak them with. And from this place of knowing, we can playfully engage in our own codified costuming, for the sake of our personal character and the movements and actions which our individual avatars execute as we aspire toward a successful state of being.

© A.G.