"Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It's not about brands. It's about something else that comes from within you." -Ralph Lauren
The other day I went to an art museum in Arkansas wearing this outfit. Whilst looking at all the beautiful art, the inspiration for this post hit me like a sculptor chiseling a statue.
Before I go on my little rant, let me make an example for you. In the year 1874 an independent art show was held in Paris by 55 artists. These artists would later become known as Impressionists. For the sake of the story let us compare anyone in the fashion world as parallels to these Impressionists. The original reaction to the art by these men (and one woman) was not positive. Though some people appreciated these paintings, most ridiculed them. Let us now compare modern society to anyone other than the 55 impressionists. Many believed that Impressionistic paintings broke every rule that the French Academy of Fine Arts taught. The colors had no likeness to the real world, the short brushstrokes made the paintings almost illegible, et cetera. The problem was, it was different. I will now take the liberty to make an assumption on society's view on fashion based on my own encounters. Though some people outside the fashion world appreciate the ensembles these men and women wear, most people call them ridiculous. That man has his hair up in a top knot, his pants are too short, et cetera. The problem is, he dresses and looks different.
Now, I know the parallels aren't perfect, and I'm sure you could pick them apart for hours, but you get the idea right? Society doesn't immediately (or in some cases, ever) accept things that are different because they are exactly that, different. When I see someone dressing in their own personal style, I almost always go to that person and compliment them. Sometimes I don't even like what that person is wearing, but I compliment them because they are expressing creative freedom in the way they dress. If the world gave out more compliments and less ridicule we would ultimately have a more creative and expressive society. There is a difference, however, between someone making fun of what you are wearing, and someone giving you constructive criticism. You should ignore the former, but listen to the latter. The person giving constructive criticism may actually have valid points that should be listened to.
Young people especially have to deal with a lot of ridicule, and because of that I only know a few high school aged people who express themselves through the way they dress. There is a lot of peer pressure in high school, and most people fall into the flock of sheep behavior so they don't stand out. This is ridiculous! People shouldn't have to dress the same as their peers out of fear of ridicule. However, I don't necessarily think that people should dress the way they do because it's different; I think that people should dress the way they do because they like it. If people give you crap because of the way you dress, politely tell them that they have the right to their own opinion, but nothing they say can change the way you dress, because you like it.
Just remember this: Back in 1874, I doubt the artists could have sold their art for anything, but nowadays they are worth millions. Paintings by the original 55 artists are sought after for every art museum and gallery all over the world. The most expensive piece of art ever sold was The Card Players by Paul Cezanne, which has Impressionistic qualities. It sold for between $250-300 million dollars.
Just some food for thought.
(Photo courtesy of my mom.)