Thursday, March 19, 2015

Refining my styling ethos

I've been thinking about the commercialisation of the world for several years, and in particular my creative ethos in regard to it all. I've done my training as a stylist and done a good number of excellent shoots; I've done theatre set design, film Art Director jobs and worked as a scenehand for the Beeb and all these have really been stepping stones to get by or to get somewhere else, but I've never been sure where that somewhere else actually is.

I've known just about all my life what my principals are, and pretty much kept to them - no souls have been sold/exchanged for anything - but progress as we know it in the modern world has been limited although interesting experiences and coming across wonderful people have been plentiful, and I wouldn't change that for anything.

The concept of fashion, image and styling seemed increasingly hollow to me in more recent years: it's all about being 'hot' and looking cool rather than what you think, feel and believe.  The celeb world, full of supposed role models is heavily into what they wear, and  clothing is becoming more representative of a person but it seems to be a very narrow way of defining a personality.  I'm finding what we wear is more important than what we think or feel in the media.  Although there are articles about many lifestyle topics, there are by far and away a much higher proportion of pages about fashion and looks.  I was much in support of #AskHerMore  - good for Reese Witherspoon.  Looking back at the bands I liked and the people who were inspirational to me, I found no reflection of them in the path of the Stylist or Image Consultant career and I didn't have much motivation to work hard to succeed in that field.  Costume design floated my boat as I could use costume to portray a character, often one developed as some concept to represent a view, much as I could use set design to convey the mood of a scene in a play or film.  It's the individual personality which I want to pursue, develop and evolve in myself and other people, and forward their open minded agenda.  I want to be changing attitudes not just image.

The figurehead character for Eris Events developed from that ideal; she represents the independent achiever. I want to encourage people away from commercial consumerism to independence, that is, not following a trend and being image conscious as an end in itself, but to take the confidence of feeling great and changing the world a bit more in the direction of creative thinking, self sufficiency.  I've decided that to be the type of inspirational Image Consultant I wish to be, I will be giving people confidence to believe in themselves, not in the Loreal "Because You're Worth It" way and buying into a commercial ideal, being a player in the media frenzy and aspiring to be some kind of KKK (Kardashian Klan Konsumer) - but to take that confidence and develop it to work their life beyond that most frequently portrayed to become successful outside the system that hinders most individual aspirational people.  To become a true personality and not just a poster girl.

At many points in our lives we need a bit of reminding we're more than worth 'it' and a lot more, we're worth being what our instincts say we should be, not what the commercials restrict us to.  What do the commercials actually say we should be?  It's all very vague, and can be interpreted by anyone but most often we stick to the parameters we are familiar with, which is reinforced by mainstream magazines and media day-in, day-out despite the odd article highlighting  someone with greater ambition.  People are sold the same old branding, just redesigned from time to time.  Do they really think about what a brand is, what is the concept behind a company, and does it represent themselves in any way, or is it all about being cool?

So, the plan now is to carry on developing characters in my shoots and convey a sense that the world outside the box is yours for the taking, and when I have communications with Image Consultancy clients I fully intend to pass on that wisdom to them as well   It's not good enough to look good but to develop a persona who can think great and feel fantastic and pass that on to others.

After reading an article in Grazia where writer Angela Buttolph wore the same outfit for 4 weeks and described the expeirence and spoke of John Haltiwanger's The Science Of Simplicity claiming that 'decision fatigue' over trivialities like what to wear means someone's 'productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions'.  I think people choosing different outfits daily is a pre-occupation to make life more interesting.  I do think using clothing to cheer yourself up is a distraction, an opportunity to have a bit of fun and carry that through every day, it's just a shame that lives are needing that daily injection of spark to amuse us, clothing is one of the ways we get to express ourselves.  It seems there are not enough ways for us to adequately express ourselves and clothing speaks for us.

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