We recently came across Professor Suzi Vaughan's reflection on how thinking as fashion designers can help everyone live their lives fiercely and in full and inspired by every single word she said we couldn't help ourselves but share these 9 lessons with you in an attempt to inspire everyone of you to become the best possible version of themselves.
As human beings we always lived in time of change but truth is that the rate of change and the level of disruption we are facing today is quite significant and there is nothing on the horizon suggesting that it's going to be different any time soon.
We are all constantly forced to react and adapt to change without even realising what that change is about and this often translates in stress and uncertainty, confusion and anxiety.
Fashion thrives on change. There is no other industry or discipline that thrives on change more than fashion does, and in fact fashion has always been good at creating a pleasant desire for change. Think of the last time you bought a new piece of clothing because the one you had was completely worn out. Rare, very rare. Fashion persuade our minds that it's time of change even if there is no need for it, yet it does it in an insanely pleasant way.
So what we want to share with you today is the idea that you can fashion your future by thinking more like a fashion designer and here are 9 ways you could use to start driving change in your life rather than unexpectedly wait for it.
Imagination is a fantastic thing; it’s completely free and it’s a limitless resource. Everyone of us has limitless resources of it. But if you think about how often you are creative and use your imagination you quickly realise that it’s definitely not enough. Most of us take the same route to work everyday, drink the same kind coffee, we eat the same diet and do the same things everyday. And we also try to take very similar approaches to the problem we encounter even though we know that it’s going to be totally fruitless.
The best fashion designers are insanely curious about everything and everybody. Whether it is science or technology, history, culture film, art or music, they want to know anything about everything. And that is because they are constantly inspired and reenergised to come up with new ideas. So next time you go to the movies why don’t you go and see a film that you would never consider seeing, next time you read a newspaper open it on a different page, next time you go online follow a different path… because whilst it’s never been easier to access information and connect with people, what we often do with that possibility its access information we know we are already interested in and connect with people who share similar passions and likes. So be more curious… next time you are in a social environment speak with someone you think you don’t have anything in common, maybe someone considerably older than you, or considerably younger, either way, be curious.
Fashion designers have to look for emerging trends. Like antenna… they have antenna on their heads because they are constantly striving to stay head of the curve, to think about things to try and imagine if it’s going to appeal you at a certain point in the future… so they are always watching for emerging trends. They are looking for patterns, suddenly everything is about Japan, architecture, exhibitions open, new movies, new restaurant. Think about your work life or community… see the patterns start to emerge… listen to the things people talk about and think about how you can become more involved in those things. Observe and learn.
You are sat at your desk or riding your train/car today and have probably been reading a few articles… some of them might have been confronting and inspiring, some others evocative or funny… yet they have all used the same language of English which contains 26 letters. If you use simple and familiar things well, you can create endlessly. And fashion designers do that all the time. Think about the simplest thing like a white t-shirt… it’s been around for absolutely decades, same for denim jeans, yet re-imagining them, making them relevant to your lives, thinking about them in a different way all the time, they go back to the simplest things and use them again.
It’s amazing how many times you hear people saying ‘I had an idea’… right… fashion designers have to have thousands of ideas and every ten you might see to come to fruition most of them they let go. Have lots of ideas but learn to let the majority of them go.
Fashion designers of course share their ideas all the times. But they share them right from the beginning because they often get inspired by quite abstract things and find ways to share those ideas through sketches, doodles and drawings that might just take moments to mock up but allow someone else in that idea. Let people in your thinking process, challenge it and be open to critics... you'll fail sooner and succeed easier.
We talk a lot about social media…. How many friends do you have, how many followers do you have… what we got to realise is that you might have a lot of friends and many followers but that doesn’t mean that you have any influence. And by influence we don’t mean power… we don’t mean people that are your bosses or any of these things. What fashion has realised in the last 50 to 30 years is that designers have moved from places of influence to being an influence… if you look at fashion magazines of the 60’s you realise they were instruction manuals… wear this glass, these shoes, these gloves if you want to get it right… but of course over that time people don’t want to get it right anymore…they want to develop their own look… they want to bring things together in their own way.. and that’s the same for fashion, as music as all those different things… they don’t want to be dictated to. And so fashion designers have moved one step up and started to set trends rather than following them.... they aim to create garments that speak the truth and can influence the right people to then gain that much desired ripple effect. So think about your tone of voice first, how you want to come out and how you want to be considered by the people around you... and then think about who the people are in your social groups who are often the outliers a little bit more courageous and influence people around you. And if you have an idea worth sharing then share it with them and your idea will probably get further.
Because most mistakes are really quite easy to remedy. And everything we know is that we cannot be secure in the way we do things.. its so hard to be vulnerable… it’s so hard to unlearn things and put yourself in places where you may fail, be humiliated. Nevertheless if we take fashion designers as an example, when they make mistakes they become soon very public and that can be very humiliating, yet they learn resilience they get back up, do it again and move on. So don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes... only people who don't try, don't fail.
No one knows what the future will bring and that can be scaring or exhilarating. We don’t’ know what happens in 5 minutes let alone 5 years from now so be optimistic. Fashion designers spend their whole time imagining future that don’t exists, imagining ways that we might be in the future yet they still take the leap collection by collection and with positivity and determination they prepare every show like it was the best and last one so far. So be optimistic, think like a fashion designer and fashion your future by using some of these principles.
To complete the list, we would humbly add the following to Suse's previous point:
It might sound a bit harsh at first, yet fashion designers go far beyond the mainstream concept of beauty and appearance. They use runways to challenge stereotypes and generally treat fashion as a nonverbal language of dissent to create social awakening and cultural evolution. Fashion designers are aware that in a world where individuality can be a crime, clothing must be the most innocent, silent and authentic form of protest. Think as a fashion designer and don't fashion your wardrobe based on the latest trends but exclusively on your personality and the image that best reflects your inner self.
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