Features, FashionDuke FORM

In the Eye of The Needle

Features, FashionDuke FORM
In the Eye of The Needle

Feeling naked is a phrase not meaning that one feels without clothes, but that one feels vulnerable, and susceptible to the world.  Clothing is a place of safety and comfort - the hold of a favorite piece of clothing, better than home; the hold of any piece of clothing, a necessity. 

We take up this extra layer naturally and make it part of our own narrative.  We build who we are, and how we are identified through our choices every morning.  To show identification with an idea or group, we choose brands, and proudly wear miniaturized animals and symbols on our left breast.  In these few centimeters, social status, hobbies, and aspirations are communicated. In these few centimeters, the identity of the wearer is given up, and laid at the knees of the brand, which supplants it with an identity crafted with intent for years, to fill niches and appease demographics – no, to create these demographics. In this industrialized world, every action has a doubled reaction, and every identification has doubled implications.


We take up our second skins and hide our own narrative. We feel comfortable because agency is removed, and the narratives we present are already written and out of our control. We feel a naïve complacency, shielding our hearts behind these symbols, knowing that a million others have hidden their hearts behind it as well.  A boxed and cornered identity takes out the uncertainty; the masses take away what too many see as loneliness – individuality.

We must take up our own identities and learn to feel comfortable in our own skin. Each of us have a unique story to tell, views to share, and perspective to enlighten others with.  To hide our hearts and give away every opportunity for self-expression which clothing provides is to deny yourself.


In the Eye of the Needle is a visual essay about breaking free from the confines of branded clothing, by taking it back to the source: fabric.  Covered in Denim, Linen, Cotton, Tweed, Seersucker, and Velvet, the models' beauties are accentuated by pure cloth. Their identity is highlighted and brought to the forefront with no strings attached.

Pick up your copy of FORM Vol. XXI at the Release Party at The Landing from 5:00-6:30 pm on Thursday, December 6th.

This piece was made in collaboration with the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Words by Bryan Rusch

Photos by Tommaso Babucci

Models: Emily Chang, Henrik Cox, Olalla Duato, Daniel Fawcett, Haeryn Kim, and Liya Wu