Sometimes I wonder how fashion continues to fascinate me when in most of my present reality it merely frustrates me. Lately I’ve been in the most dreaded struggle of all, the one between my design aesthetic and my own personal style. To separate or not to separate the two? That is the question..
In all actuality I do feel I’ll never really beat the struggle and on constant and irritatingly mundane thought, I can plainly say that this is (or at least hopefully must be?) my own version of growth. Trying to figure out and solve this problem is what I’m hoping will keep me, and Somerset Jane, fresh and somewhat relevant.
My personal style as well as the label’s approach have always overlapped and meshed together. Recently though I’ve had a growth spurt professionally speaking and this can now, no longer be. My business world has become more focused and during the time of developing said focus, (round about the last 6 months) I had adopted a minimalist, monotone approach to dressing. That conversation with myself ended abruptly when a trip to the fabric store left me harbouring more floral and stripes than my studio had ever seen! Could be the onset of Summer or could be a severely suppressed appetite for colour and fun and being free! Somerset Jane can keep her ‘black, navy, grey is everything’ policy.. She’s comfortable and happy playing in that space, but my word it was time for Melissa to have a say. Yes, speaking about yourself in the third person is a wonderfully heightened experience – do give it a bash.
I justified my recent colour splurge on the fact that I’ll soon be a honeymooner and wanted to reflect the love and joy and feminine soul of that experience in the most literal way possible, just because I can! It did start to make me worry though. Is this true to me? Is it ok if I don’t always look like the clothes and brand that is my life’s work? And then I told myself, ‘cos sometimes you just have to, YES. It is ok. It is actually the luckiest situation to be in. I can be the experimental socks and sandals wearing, pink haired professor to my malleable little student – Somerset Jane. I’ll dress up and relay all the fashionable stories to her and she’ll mould them to her reality in her wonderfully clean and appealing way. We’ll both be happier for it and also, if I’m honest, never too far apart that we’re unrecognisable anyway.
What my little stint in monochromatic jail did teach me, was the value of quality and detail. That plain fabrics need to be great fabrics and that simplicity in a garment isn’t actually all that simple. I also spent time throwing out all the uselessness that clouded my otherwise well nourished wardrobe. This in my opinion is just about the most freeing feeling ever. It also got me thinking, as I am designing a small capsule collection for a new store in Parkhurst set to launch in November, (stay tuned you’ll get the news) that I need to have Somerset Jane stay in the ‘Keep’ pile in my customers lives. And one little gem that I bore from that thought is this..
I’m wearing this with the SJ Jackson pants which have become my everything! They are available online now from Spring/Summer 2016 at spree.co.za