The Dichotomy of Individuality and Fitting In
Lately, in my new jewelry business, I spend a bit of time reading fashion and fashion-related magazines. Trying to keep up with what's happening in the fashion worlds (Paris, Milan, New York, LA) and boil it down to the reality of the world in which many, if not most of us, live. What strikes me lately is my awareness, certainly over the past several years, of the tremendous proliferation of specialty stores combining now, finally, with a concomitant tremendous proliferation of designers of all kinds. I'm not actually trying to be dramatic, only observational. There are literally hundreds of webstores with particular specialties, retail stores -ditto, and designers that by hook or crook, manage to squeak out a small following in some of these venues. (Hopefully, I will not be in those footsteps) So here is my point. Most of the magazines spotlight differing "looks"; some spotlight "looks" that ought to look good on you; many feature interviews of happening people on the fashion scene talking about what's in their closet. It hit me last night, wading through an Elle mag, that just about everyone involved in these mags is wearing something else by somebody else, famous or about-to-be-famous. Very little overlap in designer or brand - maybe only Christian Louboutin, noticeable,(now that I think about it) a profound lack of Manolo mentioned. OK. So there is some unity there, somewhere. Otherwise, chaos. Really. Everyone is striving to be very individual, and reflect individuality in the choices of designers chosen. And yet, after all of the individual pieces are put together by all of these disparate designers on all of these disparate models, the end result really does look remarkably coherent from look to look. Not that different, after all. So, maybe we don't want to look thaaaat different? We want to stand out, we want our choices to be noted and respected, we of course want to look good, but at the end of the day (as they say) we don't want to be so different that we're really out there, alone, as it were. Those "out there" among us can wind up being really, really with-it and ahead of their time(but not too far ahead) or they might just be a little "kooky" (old word) or "nuts" (whatever fits). It's always just a little too difficult to know which way it will tip, so emulating them would be a bit risky. What is happening in our world now, more that ever before, thanks to the Internet, is an amazing ability to see what's going on all over the world and partake of it, directly and immediately. It's a dizzying thing, visiting places worldwide from a sitting position, having conversations, ordering things you like that you see, anywhere. Still, fitting in can be a good thing, while we assert our very individual essence. Somehow, we must yet find commonality, whether in choice of shoes, choice of world view, choice of leader, choice of living on the planet. Differences are a good thing, unity can very satisfying as well.