With Six You Get Eggroll
Tonight’s contest was “Styling Asian” which opens the door to a lot of possibilities for creativity. For the geographically challenged, Asia stretches from Istanbul to Tokyo. It includes India, Russia, China, Japan, and about 30 other countries. “Styling Asia” is a big canvas upon which to work so the results from tonight are curious.
Before I get the cart and horse confused, here’s my entry for this event.
My assumption (valid it turns out) was that most people would pick kimonos for “Asian.” That seemed rather boringly uncreative, and keeping recent lessons of ‘fashion over performance’ in mind, I picked a different interpretation of “Asian.” I looked at a lot of RL contemporary Japanese fashion and discovered that it has a flair and flavor that’s colored by Western influence but still maintains a look that’s unique. So, I picked a current Asian designer in SL whom I thought represented that look the best and put together an outfit based on contemporary Japanese pop culture.
Everything in this outfit except the sneakers is from risey Arai and I got it at the :sey main store. The challenge was finding the right shirt to set the stage. I was really looking for something more “otaku” looking with layers and a sense of nerdiness, but soon realized I liked this look much better in terms of bringing contemporary Japanese fashion to the stage. The red silk shirt has some great iconography printed on it and it went great with the red-striped soft jeans. The belt is actually from a pair of leather pants I bought during the same trip but didn’t really have what I wanted to go with them. The hat with hair combination was the perfect finishing touch to the base outfit. After that I needed to accessorize so I added a very nice jade-disk and crystal necklace, a turquoise leather bangle, and a fanny pack. Keeping Coco Chanel’s admonition about accessories in mind, I took off the fanny pack.
Keep in mind that the models who participate in these competitions are regularly told, “You need to be more creative in your outfits.” The management places great store in talking about creativity. I’ve written before about how little creativity seems to count when it comes to the actual competition, however, and tonight was no exception. In a field of fifteen models who were tasked with “Styling Asian,” at least 10 were in kimono. They ranged from very elaborate and very expensive to something less expensive but still elaborate. A couple of models wore qi-pao style Chinese dress, one was dressed as an oriental character from a video game, and one was dressed in an Indian saree. So, creativity points should have gone to the woman in the saree, and me. The qi-pao dresses looked more like b-girls than fashion and the kimono clad people were quite lovely but hardly what anybody could call “creative” when it comes to the broad canvas of Asia. The video game character is up for grabs. It’s an Asian style stereotype, but I’m not sure it’s based on a real Asian game. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt.
Who won? The two most elaborate kimonos and one of the b-girls. That’s nothing against the winners. They were all very nice. The first and second place winners did good solid performances on the stage, but I didn’t see the third place run, so I can’t comment. I assume it was similar. In all honesty, however, I just do not understand the results. Feedback from the organizer had me with a very respectable score and the note that I’d done very well on stage. Nothing more. The score was not sufficient to place, so maybe I had another fourth place finish. I just don’t get it. It was a good look. It was fashionable. It was “Asian” and tied RL fashion to Grid fashion and honored one of the premier designers. I hit my marks. The poses were good. It wasn’t a cliche. It should have placed. I’m not claiming a win here, but I’m extremely confused as to why this didn’t make it into the top three, considering the competition.
These “near misses” are very costly because of the rules change that means that every time I get a contest place, my position in the pageant is improved by participating in the end of month styling show. Missing even one means cash out of my pocket to recover that position, not to mention the amount of money I spend to put the contest outfits together. If the results were more evenly distributed, this would be less important, but when we have one person who places in better than two-thirds of the competitions, that skews the field in a major way. It’s good for her, but tough on the rest of us.
So, I’m left in a quandry. The results of the contest did not match the criteria going in. Again. This isn’t the first time, and I’m pretty certain it won’t be the last. (Having the winner of Wednesday’s contest succeed by doing exactly what the contest organizers told us not to do was an amazing slap in the face to the models who were trying to follow the theme.) Looking ahead to the contests next week, I see “Styling Goth,” “Styling Vampire,” “Styling Devil,” and “Styling Short in Blue Jeans.” I’m left scratching my head over what those might mean. What’s the difference between goth and vamp – other than fangs? And does styling devil mean “Styling Satan” or “Styling Anything Devilish like a Demon?” And what is “Styling Short in Blue Jeans” mean? We’ve been told we have to be at least 7’6″ tall, so do we have to shrink to 5′ and put on jeans? Or are we talking “Daisy Duke” territory?
More troubling, if we ask, will we get a straight answer, or will we be mislead again?
What Would I Do Differently?
I could have added some glasses. Some kind of shoulder bag is as much a part of the style as the billed cap, perhaps more so, so that would have been a great addition, too.
In hindsight? I’d find the most cliched ninja/samurai outfit I could find. It seems apparent that, while the stated theme was “Asian,” the unstated reality was “Style Classic Japan.” Unfortunately that doesn’t help in deciding what to do next time because I don’t know if this interpretation of theme is coming from the judge or from the organizer. I have to assume it’s the judge because the organizer has repeatedly told us that she has to respect the wishes of the judge when it comes to scoring and that the judge is the final arbiter of the standings. I’m not sure I believe it, but I have no way to dispute it because the judging process is blind to participants.
On the other hand, one significant factor that fed my choice to go with contemporary Japanese fashion is that I’m getting tired of buying stuff that I’ll never wear again. At least tonight, I got more than the two votes and a major league case of frustration.
I got a nice addition to my wardrobe, too.
Shirt: “aoi”shirt [enji] – red silk – :sey
Jeans: Soft Jeans-[A] – :sey
Shoes: Hocs Sneakers – Male – HOC
Hat/Hair: :Sey x FA=B mesh=[Neo Black]
Belt: :sey CLP.belt[no fur]=medium=
Bangle: :sey leather bangle “turquoise” [Guys] XSmall