I am scared to look at myself one day and find out that I am a shadow, a copy of somebody else’s perception. Isn’t it fear we are all facing time after time? As much as it applies to an artist learning by copying from old masters, as much it should concern a young girl who selects a few fashion icons on Instagram and duplicates their looks religiously.
Hear me out, I believe there is no better way to find your voice or style than to begin with copying those who have already found it. However, the danger here is to get stuck, to stop progressing. Finally, to feel so comfortable in opening favourite muses’ recent posts and copy-pasting all they wear. It is comfortable and addictive too. I do not suggest that by wearing sweatpants with coats and sneakers we lose our identity. Such a look, along with many others, is copied for a good reason: it is versatile and wearable. It does not require much effort. Yet, when that becomes the core of one’s style, prove me wrong, but at that critical point, she turns from being herself into being like the majority.
What I hear a lot from industry experts and stylists lately is how diverse fashion has finally become. There is no longer shame in self-expression. Yet, what I see is a continuous repetition of outfits. They blend and I can no longer separate one from another.
Another side of social media is access to inspiration and knowledge of combinations, street styles, and new trends. It is all within the reach of one click. In that sense Instagram is a huge favour to our generation. Moreover, a multimillion platform with a vast range of creators and fashion influencers of all kinds, offers paths where, if one knows what to look for, she or he can find a way to their true style. Not to lose oneself. How trivial! How truthful. That is all I am asking of myself when I get inspired by another Insta diva.
When we assign too much power to any source, it can take us astray or turn us into a mere reflection of that source. However, when we use its power for guiding our imagination towards understanding what’s right and what’s not, it serves as a benefit. If you ever had a chance to read "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon you can transmit the same idea to a personal style. As human beings we are made of things we consume and that includes visual resources. "Stealing" like an artist from that photographed person during a Fashion Week means only one thing: taking in portions and adapting. Adapting and revising. Revising and implementing. Yet, the ability to implement certain details, allowing a purse that many others have to look novel, rather than banal, requires understanding of your inner desires and ideas of who you truly are.
Look at this. As a person who pays much of her attention to fashion, style and the overall idea that clothes do so much more than just cover bodies, I know I can pull off pretty much any trendy or vintage item. The real question is whether I have to. The reason that my style icon is wearing those jeans or heels is not valid enough. What became important is whether that piece of clothes reflects my personality, resonates with what I wish to say without speaking, and, well you probably guessed it, makes me feel good.
To return to the question of whether social media ruins the whole idea of a personal style, the answer is no. With one condition: I must take time to pick and choose what works for me solely, instead of allowing it to reform me into another product of marketing craftsmanship.