Happy Sunday evening / early Monday morning Lizteners,
If you recall, I wrote a piece on finding self-love and embracing your inner weirdo a while back (to see the full article click here) and I’ve received such amazing feedback ever since. However, one question that I was asked on Facebook stuck out to me and required me to dig a little deeper. It asked me specifically how I manage to balance the societal pressures that are being put on me by the same industry I’m working in/intending to work in long-term, namely the fashion industry.
The majority of us have probably seen a scene, a meme or maybe the entirety of a little movie called ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Even if you haven’t, you may have heard how it betrayed the fashion industry as judgmental, highly competitive and rather hierarchical. Having been in the industry for over three years now, I can tell you that unfortunately, contrarily to a lot of other movies, this one isn’t too far fetched from reality (generally speaking). Especially with the rise of social media and its increasingly powerful reign of digital influencers who are making six figures with what seems to be living out every little girl’s fantasy, traveling the world, eating delicious food, all while being impeccably dressed in the latest designer gear.
Whether you have an established presence on social media or not, you’re essentially exposing yourself to judgment from strangers. Throwing fashion in the mix doesn’t make it better, as EVERYONE is going to have an opinion on your look. And trust me as I’m saying this as an ‘insider’, everyone in fashion wants to be unique and different than the next, especially in NYC where your outfit is a giveaway on how your present yourself and how you’re being perceived by others. So now we have social media, the fashion industry and New York City all in the same kettle. Is it merely a recipe for disaster or is there a way to ‘find happiness’ in this mesh of different ingredients?
I’ll keep the answer simple and short by saying ‘yes, there is a way to find happiness’. In my initial post, I was briefly displaying the meaning of happiness and how it’s a very subjective opinion. Nonetheless, one can generally conclude that judgment and constant comparison feed the opposite feeling of happiness. So the best advice I have to give is to simply recognize that you are unique, no one else shares the exact same DNA as you (with the exception of your identical twin that is lol) and that these widely successful digital fashion influencers have a ton of resources (whether it’s capital, additional labor or connections) that we, as a simply ‘follower’ do not possess. It is sooooo easy to compare your career or your physique to these individuals, but what’s helped me not to do so is a) to understand the extensive effort that was put into creating the final imagery we’re being exposed to b) to know my worth/my personal qualities that are independent of any type of social validation and c) to use social media as a tool to gain new knowledge and let it inspire me to create content I am proud of, without thinking of what the reaction of others may be.
We often opt to seek out validation from sources other than our own self. In reality however, if you’re proud of yourself and believe in your abilities to become the best version of ‘you’, it really shouldn’t bother you what anyone (and especially strangers) have to say. Taking it back to being in the fashion industry, confidence really goes a long way and it shows not merely in the way you dress, but how you present yourself and that’s how your personality can take you way further than the latest runway look.
So to simply recap my answer to the initial question: Your way to be happy is to exude confidence from within. Stop comparison. Stop negative judgment. Stop harming your own health and recognize that whatever it is you do, no one will ever be as great in that as you. Once you’ve come to terms with that, a huge pile of self suffocation will be lifted off your shoulders. And if you work in fashion, believe in your art and ultimately it’ll show.
ingI’m a big believer in remaining humble, being nice and kind to those around me and embrace everyone’s individuality. No digital platform, no element in the fashion industry can ever rob you off the vibes you give off in person. Personally, I’ll remain true to those and will continue to do what I love and do it MY WAY. And you should do it your way! That’s how I like to define happiness in today’s digital age.