To Be Or Not To Be
A year ago, I purchased one of those Anello backpacks in navy and cream colorway. I loved it with all my heart because it’s one of the first things I got for myself with my first salary. It was a back-to-school kind of a deal for me and I didn’t want to haul around my stuff in one of those Swiss Army backpacks that frey at the shoulders a bit too quickly. (IMO, they look hella ugly too.) This was the time when Accessories Nepal did not have a strong Instagram game as they do now so a lot of people didn’t know about these Anello bags. I thought it looked great, did my research, found out that it’s a Japanese brand favored religiously by pregnant Japanese women, thought it was spacious, and made the plunge of Rs. 1900. (I bet they’re cheaper now.)
After a month or two of wear and fetching a butt load of compliments, I realized it wasn’t really authentic, just one of those “high copy” ones. But more than that, I saw a girl carrying the same backpack as I did. Now, yes I tend to be a little bit extra at times, but… How dare she!? There can be only one! And that one is ME!
And a day later, I saw another one with a camo colorway. The next day, a red one. Then a black one. It was within a week that these Anello backpacks were everywhere. In my school, in the alley, in the bus, and in my dreams, haunting with the mocking monotone of “We rule you. You are like everyone. We rule you. You are like everyone. We rule you. You are like everyone.”
I woke up in a pool of sweat. I looked in the mirror and saw my face morph into just a sheet of flat skin with no features. I was losing my identity. I was becoming like everyone.
After some time, I calmed down. I sat down, and I asked myself, is shampoo a body wash for dogs? Or is it the other way around? Do we even have body wash for dogs?
Also, what is so wrong about being like everyone?
Now, I’m someone who likes to have, or at least I like to think so, that I have a unique sense of style. But then again, the idea of being unique is hypocritical because it’s influenced by a lot of people on Instagram, Pinterest, and movies. It is influenced by things that already exist. That’s when the notion of being unique loses its meaning. In addition to that, being a student of literature, I have come to know that life itself is an imitation of events that have already take place. For instance, so many things we do in our daily lives, like the way we talk, are the unconscious act of replicating a scene we saw in a movie. That is kind of why we like to pretend out life is a movie, like there’s a camera following us and filing the trivial things that we do, so we make it as cinematic as we in pure pretence, regardless of it being just in our heads.
Coming back to topic, while I was doing a bit of research, I came across various blogs that give 10 or so points on why you should not follow fashion trends. They say stuff like trends don’t last, fashion is temporary, it is mass produced, and that the sun rises from the east. Well I have news for you Queen Ogbaje, Blogger and Freelance Writer for Huffington Post, I know all of that. Everyone knows that.
What I would like to draw the attention towards is the one point that every article has in common: It robs you from your identity. They argue how trendy clothes makes you look like everyone and you don’t have your own uniqueness. Then they often end with the point: wear things you’re comfortable in. Well, what if you’re comfortable in something that’s in trend? I mean, oversized hoodies are in trend right now and they’re mighty comfy. That’s a real fix ain’t it?
Let’s get away from this and divert to a memory of ours. You must remember having to put on a uniform when you went to school. Your shirt had to be a specific shade of white or blue, the trousers had to be pleated, the socks had to be grey, shoes black with laces, and your ties had to reach your belt and not past it. Everyone had to wear the same thing. The reason why schools have uniforms is because the students look smart in them. They look good in them. So, everyone was made to wear them. Same goes for the army and the whole purpose of high profile cocktail parties and red carpet events having a dress code; to ensure that you look. You don’t complain about looking like everyone then now, do you?
See, fashion houses are businesses. Furthermore, brands like H&M, Zara, Asos, Saint Laurent, and Kanye West are good businesses and they know what’s good for their business. The majority of the items in the collections they bring out are brought out because they look good on the general population and appeal to a lot. Then, people wear them, look good on them, more people see them, think they’ll look good wearing them, and eventually the number of people wearing them multiplies exponentially. That’s how the Stan Smiths came to be popular, a trend, and eventually a wardrobe staple. May I also add that such blogs that I mentioned recommend investing on staples, something everyone wears. So… yeah…
To wrap this up, just do whatever you want. Yes, people do judge you on the clothes you wear, but you have the liberty to do whatever you want. It’s okay if you follow the streetwear scene, the urban dandy look, or just the look-like-a-homeless-personfor-$1000 Yeezy trend, or none at all. It is completely okay. As long as you’re comfortable with what you wear and don’t mind the opinions of others, it is perfectly and completely okay. You do you, fam.