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Susan Sontag on taste

“For taste governs every free — as opposed to rote — human response. Nothing is more decisive. There is taste in people, visual taste, taste in emotion – and there is taste in acts, taste in morality. Intelligence, as well, is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”

— Susan Sontag

From the essay “Notes on Camp,” available in Against Interpretation: And Other Essays (1964)

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Two-Strapping

Smartphones fit in your pocket, as do pens and small notebooks.

But lately I’ve still been carrying around my backpack. It’s my purse, a place where I can carry extra stuff like bottled water, snacks, a rain jacket, and a laptop. I just pack enough to avoid straining my back like a college student carrying textbooks.

Wearing a backpack makes me feel adventurous, prepared, and free. Sometimes I dump everything in my backpack, wallet and phone included, so I can walk with empty pockets.

The backpack makes me feel like a nomad, with the freedom to work and walk everywhere. You can’t possibly feel liberated carrying around a briefcase.

The backpack is ultimately my survival kit, and I almost always wear it with two straps instead of one so I can keep moving ahead without feeling like it’s there.

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Hats

Hats protect us from the sun. They’re useful for sports like baseball so one can see the ball. Hats also cover up bad hair days and bald spots.

There are all types of hats: cowboy hats, sombreros, and baseball caps. Hats are just as much about protection as they are style.

Sometimes people wear to show support for a team or brand. Hats become a jersey for the head.

Wearing hats as advertisements is beyond what they were originally intended for. But the same can be said for just about any attire or material desire (e.g. car, house) that you dress up beyond its use.

It’s not just enough to own for reasons of utility. We want to express ourselves through specific products. And nothing signals louder than a hat. There’s a reason bugs fly around your head; your head is the first thing they see and how they ultimately evaluate you.

We all risk becoming products, flashing flyers of attention to show our wealth and style. The hat is your first line of expression.

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Lunch with Franca Sozzani

“I don’t think I’m a writer, though. In the same way I don’t call myself a humanitarian. I would never pretend to those labels. I’m like a normal person with curiosity. Here’s what I think: fashion isn’t really about clothes. It’s about life. Go into the street, and you see it: everyone can afford fashion on some level, everyone can talk about it. So what else can we say? We can’t always be writing about flowers and lace and aquamarine.”