Richard Warfield Smith

Uniform Essay

by Richard Warfield Smith

As a person of mixed heritage I sometimes feel caught between two absurd worlds.  Like many others in my situation, I tend to identify with my more ‘exotic ‘side as something somehow more alluring because it is out of the norm. This sensation can be a good thing and a bad thing depending on the situation.

These ethnic identities to which I am attracted tend in the end to only be fictions. Uniforms into which I try to fit. There are many subtle social forces which over time can affect someone’s self-image. Of course skin color is a factor, or how others react to it.

That being said my particular appearance tends to mildly confound people. This is something I sometimes enjoy actually as it in a way allows me to move through many groups without causing too much stir. Though some groups are definitely not having me.  I guess everything is about context.  I have been identified as basically being part of any ethnic group with brown skin you can think of. Just the other day I was in an Indian Bookstore and was asked what part of India I am from. To these sorts of events I can only remark to myself “well that would be nice to be such and such or this or that.” I say that because really I think people tend to take for granted the group that they belong to. Whereas I often feel like I exist in some gray area. But then again I feel that way about basically everything.

So thinking along these lines I asked myself what would someone like me, a chronic outsider self-imposed or not choose as hs uniform.  Well with my Eurasian features and constant feeling of self-righteous alienation, and living in the most Eastern Block like city in America isn’t it obvious?  Telogreika! Something  to protect me from the cold weather and colder people, something Utilitarian and resilient. A new Uniform for the Militant man who rejects the present moment for the romance of times and lives unlived. Telogreika!


Photo by Alix Lambert

Artwork by Damon Locks, Pattern & Sewing  by Orchid Tailors


Sketch by Jamie Hayes

Telogreika Reference

Telogreika reference photo

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