on finding unicorns
I stumbled upon an interview of two years back. It results from an one hour discussion held at a commercial fashion-fair during Paris Fashion Week in September 2019. The following question and the answer I gave got me thinking again. Some parts of the text are direct citations from this original interview in 2019:
The question was: How not to go unnoticed today?
One of the most used words at the moment seems to be “transparency.” Unfortunately, this concept does not necessarily mean “sincerity” . I do still agree with this point. One absolutely needs to go beyond transparency, today. One should be sincere with oneself, with one’s abilities and limits. Being an artist, a designer or a creative is more than mentioning or writing it as a job-title on Instagram or LinkedIn. Being sincere with oneself and others does not always have to mean to be cool, to be liked or worse, needing to be liked. It can also mean to be sad, afraid, scared or in disagreement and most importantly to let it show.
Being different, why not?
In today’s world the obsession with being liked at all cost is highly overrated and deeply problematic. People usually like what they know and what is close to their already conceived ideas. Being convinced to be open minded, inclusive and innovative does not mean one is… While increasingly living in a filter-bubble, the needed sincerity is foremost found in the same-old-same, probably with a new package, rather than in what is radically new, challenging or pushing the boundaries. This «being different», for the lack of a better word, may be read, defined and named in various gardiants, going from underground, to ugly or to blatantly offensive. Words mentioned way too often without reasoning or argumentation.
In this day and age fashion seems so small, the image has been “flattened,” allowing mainstream visuals to take over. Covid may have shifted the images slightly by bringing some strongly needed diversity. But still, in their sometimes forced interest of being personal, different or unique, one thing becomes even more clear: people want to look alike within a group that itself can be perceived as different. It is nice to be one-self as a group, because being really unique and fully one-self is a freaking lonely and violent place to be in.
don’t tell your story, listen to the other’s
I am convinced that as managers or educators, as human beings, it is our duty to find and respect the unique creative facettes of each and everyone we meet. We do not have to agree, we do not have to like it at all costs. Our job is to create a stage for all these truly unique stories only others can tell. Let’s keep our story for ourself and start listening to the other’s.
Today I would surely give a shorter answer:
Why would or should I be interested in people or brands that desperately need to be noticed at all costs?
Isn’t it more intriguing, sensual and intellectually stimulating to be found, like a treasure at the end of a rainbow?
… and yes, I also believe in unicorns.
Who’s Next / Premiere Class, Fashion as Education, December 2019: link