Distinguishing between connection and identity is one of the primary directives that pushed me towards minimalism in the first place. I was tired of wearing a t shirt in hopes that I would fit into some kind of social group, or that by wearing a particular brand I was depicted lower on the social ladder.
The difference between connection and identity is often confused.
Growing up, I never had any sense of fashion or really cared about what I wore. Being the first born son in my house, my mom and I were always out at the mall, picking up cool clothes to wear to school the next week. I was obsessed with dragons and sports, so largely a great deal of my wardrobe was tailored towards those aesthetics. I soon became synonymous with wearing dragon t shirts to school. That almost became my own version of a personal brand when I was in elementary school. As primitive as it seemed, people had connected dragon t shirts with my identity.
As we age, connection and identity become more and more important.
Especially in this modern age of fast fashion, clothing styles are coming in just as quick as they are going out. With expensive luxury brands now becoming commonplace on people’s bodies, the social stigma to keep up with the ‘brand aesthetic’ has never been stronger.
It’s just not something I see value in. Why would you spend $400 on a T-shirt? Is it to fit into a social class, is it to connect with that brand, or do you want people to perceive that as a part of your identity? It’s a complicated battle, pushing back and forth between consumption and intentionality.
I was tired of trying to fit in and conform to one style or another.
So I ditched it all. This wasn’t to fit into a particular minimalist aesthetic, but I didn’t feel the need to associate myself with any one particular brand. Largely, a great deal of my clothes are unbranded, with no visible logos and that’s the way I like it. I don’t need someone looking at me and wondering why I’m not wearing ‘insert brand name here’ instead of ‘insert better brand name here’.
It doesn’t make sense!
I want people to know me for the work I do and the kind of person I am, not the clothes and brands that I wear. Those are superficial, they mean nothing to me. It could be a $4 T shirt or a $400 T shirt, odds are I couldn’t tell you the difference. At the end of the day, people are more likely to connect with you on a personal level rather than acknowledging the fact that your T shirt costs half the price of an iPhone.
No one cares!
Even if you think they do, they don’t. It’s simply not on their radar. They’re to busy worrying and caring about their own image and their own identity to connect with yours. So why bother? Why try?
Focus on your own identity and personality, the connection will follow.