Greetings, fellow ne’er-do-wells! As you’re reading this, I’m sitting in my office gazing upon the beautiful city-skyline, admiring the air quality; so bad that you can actually see it! The frightening part however, is it’s not the worst thing the city has to offer. Between the terrible traffic and rampaging serial-killers, one may occasionally ask themselves, “Is there anything good about living here?” And the answer is a resounding maybe!
If there’s one thing this city has, it’s self-expression. For better or worse, everyone has one way or another of showing off who they are on the inside. Sometimes, they’re a shining Phoenix that’s hot to the touch. Other times, they’re really greasy and gross and above all else, boring. Recently though, I’ve found myself admiring the outrageous looks that the average city-goer sports. Nearly everyone has their own distinct ‘look’. Well, excluding those who dress like their friends. But, to them I say, more power to you! Sometimes you just really connect with someone internally, and your inner auras perfectly align that way. Some of you do look a bit too similar though… maybe you should get a DNA test.
In any case, fashion has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and it is something universal. Even if you’ve never thought about it, you’ve got your own fashion sense already! Out of my own curiosity though, I decided to go visit local businesses to interview some people, seeing how they view fashion and other forms of self-expression. Some of them even have their own suggestions as for how you can improve upon your fashion sense!
The very first person I decided to interview was a pretty easy choice, as they’re one of the most outspoken Goth fanatics in all of social media: Sally Nailburry!
Sally: “I like the Goth visual, and big titty goth girls, they’re pretty great… One of my daughters is goth, so I do literally love goths. I like the people, and the looks. So much so that I make Goth-Boards.”
WN: “How would you describe your particular sense of fashion…?”
Sally: “I tend to wear a lot of bright colors. Neon colors. I’m on the bigger end of things. My fiance occasionally has goth outfits- My girlfriend as well. I don’t think either are particularly goths, but they do have that end of fashion.”
WN: “What is it that you feel you contribute to the present day fashion scene?”
Sally: “My swimsuits are very fresh. They’re something that’s different from what we have had these past couple of months. Much brighter. I’m personally happy about having an orange bikini that looks good.”
After finishing up with Sally, we turned our direction toward a different form of fashion that’s particularly prevalent in modern times: body modifications. We quickly set our sights on the nearby tattoo shop, “Wayward Tattoos”, which specializes both in tattoos and piercings. Very sexy. Upon arrival, we ran into a man who was interested in a “Blackout” Tattoo, a very popular ongoing trend. Expected to cost anywhere between twenty and thirty thousand dollars, the Blackout Tattoo is a process in which the customer has a limb (most commonly an arm) completely blacked out with ink. This is a lengthy process that usually is carried out through multiple sessions, we’re told. While looking very cool, it still can be very dangerous depending on the recipient, as it will essentially turn your limb into one big open wound. Certainly, it’s not an operation for the faint of heart.
Most of this information was given to us by tattoo artist “Norah”, age 19, who was willing to bless us with an interview.
WN: “How long have you been a tattoo artist?”
Norah: “I’ve been doing tattoos since I was 14.”
WN: “And what brought you into the world of tattooing?”
Norah: “I grew up in a closely-bonded biker community, and was around a biker tattoo shop quite a bit. My older brother learned how to do tattoos there, so I started going after school to learn how to do it myself. I’ve been around the tattoo scene my whole life.”
WN: “How much does the average tattoo cost?”
Norah: “750 per stencil. But, we work off tips and have a minimum wage in place. No labor fees. It’s still profitable, but it’s more of a passion project. We do piercings as well.”
WN: “Do people tend to get a tattoo that they simply think looks cool, or most of the time is there some sort of meaning behind it?”
Norah: “I ask everyone who gets a tattoo why they chose a specific one, and what it means. Usually there’s a story behind it. Whether they just like certain themes, or something else is special about it. More often than not, it holds some sort of special meaning.”
WN: “Do you see tattoos as a valid form of self expression?”
Norah: “Definitely. They’re meant to mark you as a way to place your status, wherever you live. It plays a very big part in fashion. This city’s very diverse with how people do their tattoos. Everyone works very hard, and all the artists are very good in this city. We put a lot of love into this kind of work.
Every tattoo shop in the city has a different style. We use older methods, and have older machines. Black Lotus has more professional tech, and is amazing with their tattoos. We can do tattoos like that as well, but some people prefer that less professional look.”
Interviewing Norah was very interesting, and parting ways was very somber, as I could tell she had a lot more to say about the subject matter. Maybe someday I will see about arranging another interview for a future article… Besides, the whole conversation convinced me I wanted to go back and get some piercings done eventually anyway.
We decided to head back to town and quickly stop by Hardcore Comics. I was interested in hearing discussions of fashion and self-expression coming from someone on the more casual side of things, such as your average joe. Luckily, I was able to score an interview with the store’s manager, Sane Terrace.
WN: “Even if you’re not someone particularly into the world of fashion, what is there that interests you about it?”
Sane: “I like seeing what people wear. It’s fun seeing what people bring to the table, even if it isn’t unique.”
WN: “And what do you feel it is that you bring to the table?”
Sane: “I’m more for casual wear, myself. My light up shoes, and this mask, all started as a joke. But, it’s sort of my identity now. I thought they looked goofy, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m kind of a ‘troll.’ That’s why I wear this tie. It’s my manager tie, but it looks unprofessional. I just wear what I think is funny. Some things stick, some stuff doesn’t.”
WN: “Do you think you’ve influenced anyone’s sense of fashion?”
Sane: “I don’t think I’ve seen too many people dress like me, but everyone has their own fashion style already, right? They dress as what they deem comfortable, or hilarious, you know?”
WN: ‘The mask you wear is very intentionally a reference to the cover of Watchmen (a popular graphic novel). Is that why you wear it?”
Sane: “I started wearing the mask to differentiate myself from Toby, because we looked so similar. I liked the mask, and didn’t even realize the connection between the two, even while working here at the comic shop. Now, it’s just what people know me by.”
WN: “What are some fashion trends you’ve noticed lately?”
Sane: “I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot more people dressing nicer. Suits, and stuff. It could just be because of all the weddings, and unfortunately, funerals that’ve been going on. But, lately I’ve just been seeing a lot of formal wear.”
WN: “Any particular kinds of clothing you’d suggest to people?”
Sane: “Looser clothing. It feels more comfortable, and freer in a sense.”
Unfortunately, the interview had to be cut short. We’d just received a weather alert, and figured it’d be best to call it there and hold off from doing any further interviews.
Later on once the storm had cleared, my partners and I decided to stop by the local BurgerShot to get something to eat before continuing on with any interviews. I’d never eaten there before, so I decided to go with something safe and chose the Bleeder-Burger meal. The man running the place, Bosco Murphy, was very kind and got the food to us right away. We took a seat before eating, which was probably a good thing, because the food quite literally knocked us out of our seats. It was delicious. The man who I presumed to be the owner rushed over upon hearing us discuss previous interactions with Rockford Records, a record label. He told us a bit about himself, and even showed us a sneak at some music he’s working on. His first song was titled “It Was Me,” and another was called “Allegedly.” From what we’d heard, Los Santos may have a new star shining in the night sky soon enough. So, keep a look out for that.
My partners and I, after finishing our hearty meal, marched onwards to find the next interviewee. We decided to think outside of the box in ways that people express their style not related to their own clothing or appearance. That’s when it hit us. We drove our way down to Full Send to meet with a novice cosmetic worker named Bjorn Erikson, asking him about the way people express themselves with the cosmetics they apply to their vehicles.
WN: “How long have you been working on cosmetics?”
Bjorn: “I’ve been working on vehicle cosmetics for about four weeks now, maybe.”
WN: “Do you think it’s a passion of yours?”
Bjorn: “I do like customizing cars, and doing the work on my own as well. To a small degree, it’s a passion.”
WN: “Is it more common for you to deal with working on re-paints, or fully decking out someone’s vehicle?”
Bjorn: “I mostly have to deal with repaints… Around 60% of the time. The rest of my time is spent fully decking them out.”
WN: “What do you tend to do more for your own vehicles?”
Bjorn: “Usually I go for full styling when it comes to my own cars, not just color.”
WN: “Do you value the way your cars look the same way you value how you look?”
Bjorn: “I value the way my cars look as much as how I look.”
WN: “Finally, do you think this is a job you’re going to continue doing for the foreseeable future?”
Bjorn: “I really enjoy this work, so, I’m in it for the long ride…”
And with that, my interviewing spree came to an end. I got to bond with my coworkers, ate some really yummy food, heard some banger unreleased music, and learned a bit about the people of this town. Though, really, I guess this is just the beginning of my interviews.
As for myself? I like to experiment with my clothes. Right now, my style is taking influence from Italian and Japanese fashion styles. It’s my own way of expressing my family heritage. Plus? It makes me look really, really cool…
And you know what? I bet you look really cool, too.
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