Behind the Ink: Fashion, Superheroes, and the Tattoos Between
Clothing matters. That’s a lesson Joe Jarvis learnt early as a kid. It was a lesson that stuck with him and led to his exploration of looking beyond the surface of style as his website Someone-Else explains. For Jarvis, his website is an endeavour to find out why people do what they do and why clothing matters. It’s about someone else’s divergence or as he puts it divergent fashion journalism.
“It’s popular for men to say “I don’t care about clothes, I just wear whatever. I don’t care – that’s feminine that’s whatever.”
But the only way you can communicate that to me is by the clothes you wear,” says Jarvis. The philosophy student in him jumps out as he points out, “It’s like Roland Barthes said “no one dresses innocently.”
But self-expression doesn’t start and stop with fashion for Jarvis. His arms and chest are covered in tattoos ranging from an upside down heart shaped ass aptly surrounded by a banner with the words “fat-bottomed girls” to the small French cat Jean Paul. For Jarvis, his tattoos are about taking something classic and changing it. At the same time, it’s about keeping it simple. “I just want to rearrange things. And if you take like this classic Valentine’s heart and turn it upside down, it feels good,” he says.
And while the writer in him itches to convey simplicity through design, the philosopher in Jarvis can’t help but make allusions through the art on his body. As a kid growing up, Jarvis was a big fan of the X-men series. His cyclops eye tattoo, however, isn’t an ode to the character but rather to the power that Scott Summers possessed. “He would basically keep his eyes closed because he would destroy whatever was in front of him. Then Professor X gives him this visor, these glasses and then he’s like Shiva – he’s now in control of the energy,” explains Jarvis. The tattoo isn’t some fanboy declaration of love but rather a potent warning to himself.
On a less metaphorical level, Jarvis’ philosophy steers him towards tattoos that really just look more like traditional tattoos. He believes that people who are more invested in traditional ways of doing things are more inclined to appreciate traditional tattoos. Since tattoos used to be associated with the rougher elements of society, Jarvis finds himself playing into that stereotype. “It doesn’t necessarily mean tattoos are dangerous. It’s just that traditional tattoos patched together look really cool.”
Ultimately, whether it’s about blue-collar fashion or tattoos of your cats or metaphor versus design, all these choices are ways of expressing oneself for Jarvis. He believes these choices put certain energies out there. The crucial thing to remember, as both Scott Summers and Shiva teach us, is to be in control of that energy.