“I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names….” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As designers and photographers we spend a lot of our time creating images for others. Photographs that suggest desirability, packaging that says ‘drink me’ and identities for companies and brands that shape the image the company wishes to portray.
But what do we say about ourselves and who is this statement aimed at? Not you. At least not in my case. Perhaps with age really does come wisdom or at least some semblance of understanding because I hit a point in my life when I stopped wondering what others thought of me and realised that the only thing they thought of me is, what was I thinking of them.
Sure I wear designer labels, I think about my image, I dress up to go out, but I do all these things for myself. Because I like to feel good about me, for me.
I wear a lot of skull rings and I do so because they are awesome. Tiny sculptures, pieces of art by Crazy Pig, Great Frog and King Baby that I get to carry around with me and admire any time I want. Adorning my body with art. I don’t have any tattoos. I’d like some but I am an obsessive compulsive perfectionist and I can’t bear the idea of a permanent mark on my skin that is slightly crooked, faded in one place more than another etc etc etc. You get the picture.
I wear the skeleton watch by Dreyfuss & Co because it tells me the time. But any watch would do that, right? Sure but this one has its guts on display, a beautiful fascinating mesmeric and hypnotic vision of cogs turning and springs activating.
I wear my Religion Clothing leather jacket because it is the most comfortable thing I have ever worn. Simply that. I’ve always worn leather jackets, some cheap and some expensive but this one is far and away the best fitting most comfortable of them all. Easy.
And I drive a Ford Mustang because when I drop the hammer in 2nd at 50mph the sound is like a thousand lovers screaming is ecstasy. I am a bloke after all. And us blokes love driving. We spend a lot of time doing it so why not do it in something that turns a trip in to an adventure. If you’re going to do it, then it might as well be pleasurable and brother let me tell you, driving a Mustang is one pleasurable way to get from A to B.
I guess what I’m saying here is, don’t believe the hype, but don’t disbelieve it either. Don’t adorn yourself with labels just because they tell you to, but don’t dismiss the label either. Find the ones that speak to you and go with them.
I started this piece by claiming to be one of these ‘shapers of thought’ these people that tell you what you want to hear in order to sell you the dream and in that regard I am guilty. Designers are the first stop for most consumers but there are only two reasons for them to come back. Firstly because they love the product and secondly because they love the hype. Don’t fall in to the trap of the second and don’t be afraid to embrace the first and if you find something that fits both, well then, love it, cherish it and wear the brand with pride.
Oh and don’t worry what others are thinking because they’re not thinking at all, they’re too busy trying to make you think about them.