I’m not a fashion buff, but whenever I get bored, I like to go to the local fabric store in suburban Chicago. I’m not someone who needs absolutely many options when I go to a store, but it’s the idea of browsing that I need variety in. It’s not so much about what I’m buying, even if I’m not buying anything. A fabric store, and the arts and crafts store right next to it, actually stimulate my creativity. All I need to stimulate my mind are two elements: color or texture. It doesn’t have to have any particular shape or size. Just a sample. 30 minutes in a fabric store might be one of the most boring places you can find yourself. But that’s what makes it a perfect escape from the more “exciting” world out there. Needless to say, I visited the fabric store today. I browsed at what was there, including picture frames and sewing machines. It’s the closest thing in the legal world to what William Blake (& Aldous Huxley) calls, the Doors of Perception. There is more than one reference to fabric. I have never taken the substance in that book; not that it matters much. An excerpt from Wikipedia:
“Temporarily leaving the chronological flow, he mentions that four or five hours into the experience he was taken to the World’s Biggest Drug Store (WBDS), where he was presented with books on art. In one book, the dress in Botticelli’s Judith provokes a reflection on drapery as a major artistic theme as it allows painters to include the abstract in representational art, to create mood, and also to represent the mystery of pure being. Huxley feels that human affairs are somewhat irrelevant whilst on mescaline and attempts to shed light on this by reflecting on paintings featuring people. Cézanne’s [sic: it’s Van Gogh] Self-portrait with a straw hat seems incredibly pretentious, while Vermeer’s human still lifes (also, the Le Nain brothers and Vuillard) are the nearest to reflecting this not-self state.”
I spot a sign hanging from the ceiling, in the middle of the store, that reads, “Discover the Designer in You” Needless to say, I was reminded of The Doors of Perception, because life is about discovery and not regrets. The options in front of us are only available if we seek them out. In full view, at the fabric store, is naked fabric. The only door one has to open is the entrance to the store. It is a store that is a single, colorful book, that needs no explanation or instruction, unless of course, you’re there to pick up a book like Sewing 101 or Knitting for Beginners. A fabric store is like a book store- lots of delicate materials of fashionable demand. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to buy anything today; just a browsing was all I needed. In the creative entertainment industries of LA and NYC, the garment districts which are larger than any other cities in the U.S. most likely, are the source of much creativity for costume design. Again, it’s not my forte or a deep interest of mine, but I find it most interesting when everything else on a cloudy Saturday morning didn’t gain my attention as much as a designer’s store.