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Identity Cocktail

DUBLIN – When I first started brainstorming on topics for this column, my mind did a number of somersaults trying to come up with something different, unique but related to my city. I then realised, I don’t have a city as such, nor a single nationality for that matter. So at this point in time, some people might feel lost and be faced with some pretty tough existential questions, or at least that is how the “norm” wants us to react. Because “the norm” is to be from a certain place and inherit its culture, language, traditions and values. And if one does not have these ties, this so called “identity”, you can be left to wonder around like a lost puppy. But not me.

Many previous columns have addressed the topic of identity, but before I make my point and share with you how in turn it relates to Fashion and Style (and I promise there is one and it will), lets rewind about 20+ years back and tell you a bit more about myself.

In the late 80s, in Camden, North London, I arrived into the world. Born from an English father of Trinidadian descent and a French-Lebanese mother, hailing from Beirut, I was given a Spanish name, so you can see that from day one things were not going to be very clear cut for me. To make matters more complicated when I was only 4, we moved with my family to Madrid, where I spent all my formative years, and to this date, it remains the place that I call home. In Madrid I attended French School, but then decided to go to university in the UK, in the beautiful town of Bath. Add in a year-long exchange in Paris, plus a 10 year love affair with the city of New York, countless London summers and the last 4 years I have spent living in Dublin, and you can understand why people might think I am dealing with an identity crisis.

How could I decide what country or city deserved a bigger part of me than another? Why do I have to feel either French, or Spanish, or English? Faced with this eclectic mix, someone recently asked me “do you have a sense of identity” ? After an awkward 30 second silence, I replied very succinctly “Yes and No”. Cue in another uncomfortable silence and a couple of blank stares. I then realised I might need to elaborate further. I explained, hopefully very eloquently, that I felt like all and none of these things and that my sense of identity was the one that I had created for myself, mixing my own heritage, experiences and aspirations. I felt this summed me up in a nutshell but this might also be a sign of chronic indecision and greediness, I’ll let you be the judge.

In my opinion identity is within yourself, and the same goes for your sense of style and fashion. The same way I feel someone’s identity shouldn’t be fixed to a country or city, I think one’s attire and sense of fashion needn’t be limited to the trends of the season or the style buckets society has created. Bohemian, hipster, preppy, sporty, rocker or vintage should not be mutually exclusive to describe a person’s sartorial choices. Let your style be a story of you, rather than a style determine who you are. Personally, the story I want my fashion sense to tell is that of a cocktail of identities, taking the best of all worlds. The colourful Spanish fashion, mixed with a dash of London avant-garde cheek, stirred in with a dash of French timeless elegance and the whole concoction topped with the shoulder pads and sky-high heels of a NYC “Working Girl”. To be enjoyed responsibly on my blog Banana Closet (Soca/Caribbean Music soundtrack optional).

Ana Rosemin – Banana Closet