In a world where everyone is quietly trying to impress each other, it dawned on me when I recently spotted five young girls dotting the streets of Melbourne all in the exact same shearling jacket, only in different colours… While I’m all about girls (people) doing whatever they want, I questioned if that was really a group of girls doing whatever they wanted which led me to wonder if fashion was an expression of one’s self or is staying on ‘trend’ purely a way to fit in among peers so as to feel accepted and part of the group.
I also questioned if it even mattered. It is just fashion after all. Surely it’s all just a bit of fun and there are bigger problems to worry about. But as the second biggest global polluting industry, fashion today is indeed fast and furious and if it’s not brands copying and ripping off each other’s designs, which we’ve seen an unforeseeable amount of times, it’s that classic butterfly effect of the copy cat syndrome on the streets among girls.
Everybody wants what they can’t have, well so I thought, so when does that change to everybody wants what she has. And who is she? Who are the modern day muses of today? The ones being allegedly copied. Well if you’re not living in 2018, the new modern day muse is indeed the wave of Instagram influencers.
Incredibly stylish (and my personal favourite artist and style muse) Kiri-Una Brito Meumann whose artwork even graces the walls of ‘A$AP Rocky’ home. Known on Instagram as @Kiribirii told me that,
“there’s always going to be the trend-makers and the followers, there’s just more saturation these days”.
“I think that with social media it’s so hard to find a unique voice or aesthetic. In regards to fashion, there are a few people who clearly pave the wave for others who copy. I think copying has been around forever but it seems so much more nowadays with Instagram etc.”
So why are we doing this? I spoke to the lovely Australian street photographer formerly known as @StreetSmith who has now had an online brand revamp as herself, @LizSunshine. Liz told me that depending where you look ultimately “style comes down to personal preference and is very much linked to your own level of self confidence”.
“If you are seeing girls dressed all the same same, maybe you are looking at people who have all cottoned onto the trend 3 seasons past, while the rule breakers have moved on.”
And that’s exactly what I saw. Girls wearing that same I AM GIA ‘Pixie Jacket’, only in different colours likely from brands copying each other.
So how to be a rule breaker?
“There is nothing wrong with girls who wear the same clothes. wear what makes you feel good. and if that is dressing like your friend that is totally ok with me… not everyone can be a rule breaker. and not everyone feels liberated by clothing… some feel immense pressure… and sometimes it’s the girls who seem to have it all.
- What you wear everyday is a representation of you and what you’re putting out into the world. We should dress for ourselves in what makes us feel our best version of ourselves. Whether that’s wearing all basics, or extreme colour, the importance of being yourself is up to you and not caring what others think.
- Having the confidence to love/be yourself. Don’t be afraid to grab something from your grandma’s wardrobe and mix it with something current. Try and steer clear of fast fashion chains although they are cheap and ‘on trend’ they are environmentally damaging and generally copy designers. Take a look at Instagram @diet_prada for “ppl knocking each other off”. The new and old works a treat. Think quality over quantity. Same goes with vintage op shopping. Play around and don’t be afraid to do whatever you want.
- Gain inspiration but do something different. Make it yours and copy no one, life is too short to be a copycat.
- Trends and friends don’t go together. Be your unique self among your friends instead. Let them get inspired by you!
However, Liz notices Australian girls are pretty unique which is refreshing to hear in general. “Would I like more diversity in fashion…yes. But in real life on the streets of Melbourne, very rarely are people dressed based on a trend.”
All in all, just like anything, fashion is there to experiment with and not to be taken too seriously. “Right now, I am super keen to wear my blazer and bike shorts combo, after seeing Centenera rock it at fashion week. Will I wear it in a different way, maybe, but it’s just a little bit of fun,” says Liz.
And that’s the take-away: have some fun with fashion and do your own thing. Life is too short to be a copycat.
With Melbourne’s upcoming Fashion Week (August 31 – September 7) it’s a great time to start: embrace your individuality, hone in on your personal style and most importantly wear a smile.