WHEN TALKING TO RUDYARD YAP EARLY JANUARY HE TOLD US THAT HE MADE THE NEW YEARS RESOLUTION OF CUTTING PROCRASTINATION. AND IN THE SAME BREATH HE FOLLOWED THAT STATEMENT BY CLAIMING HE WHIPPED HIS ARSE BY DOING SOME WORK, FOLLOWED BY SOME GENUINE LAUGHTER. SO WHEN HE THAN PROMISED TO SEND US HIS SWANNIES AND GUMMIES, WE WERE A LITTLE BIT AFRAID. AS IT TURNED OUT, WE HAD NO REASON TO BE.
Englishman William Broome (1873-1942) became so frustrated with the persistently wet New Zealand weather, that he decided to create a special garment that would protect against the ever pouring rain. Made of heavy wool in a traditional dark tartan pattern, Broome created a bush shirt that allowed the rain to literally run off the back of the garment, just as it does on a swan. In 1913 he registered his Swanndri trademark and the outdoor garment was an instant success with the farmers community on the island in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. In recent years the “swanny”, as it is often dubbed, has gained popularity and has even become something of a fashion item.
Another popular item in the New Zealand fashion scene is the Wellington Boot, named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. The boot, which is fashioned after the leather Hessian boots, is often manufactured out of rubber and became extremely popular with the early 19th century British aristocracy before entering the more common world of farmers, butchers and fishermen. Indeed, the almost knee-high Wellingtons are essential for working in muddy and wet environments and protects its wearer against heavy showers. In New Zealand, where, as said before, the weather isn’t always that pleasant, the boot is among the popular shoe wear and has happily been adapted to the more ubiquitos name gumboot or gummie.
Now you might want to ask yourself what this doubtless interesting lesson in fashion history has to do with Rudyard Yap’s well-intended New Years resolutions. At first glance absolutely nothing. If it wasn’t for the fact that Rudyard decided to temporarily put on the hat of wardrobe stylist and fashioned new outfits from old Swanndri bush shirts, which he nicely accessorized with gummies. The New Zealand photographer then got quite creative with the garments and after he was finished there was little left of the traditional swanny. Instead, he crafted a whole range of tartan jockstraps, midriff-baring shirts, waistcoats, pajama shorts, undies, gloves and – yes – a kilt. And when he was done with his needlework, he went out to find himself a handful of very appetizing men who were most willing to wear his creations, and shot a nice series of sexy photographs with them.
Currently Rudyard Yap is in the process of creating a calendar with his blokes in gumboots and little else, which will be completed by March 2011. Neither William Broome nor Duke Arthur Wellesley could ever have imagined their products to be displayed in such an interesting fashion. And what makes it even more attractive is that the calendar will benefit Body Positive Women, which is an all-around support organization for HIV-positive women in New Zealand. The calendar will be available for purchase through Rudyard Yap’s website by May 2011. Swannies and gummies can be bought all year long. –BM-
RUDYARD YAP | BEAUTIFULMAG