Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our theme for this week’s blog is the idea of originality. We all like to think we're unique in some capacity and in many ways we are. We are all individuals shaped by our experiences, interactions, and opinions all at the mercy of our interpretations. It’s like when someone reminds you that everyone you know has a completely different perception of you in each of their heads. Kind of wild to think about in those terms. But have you ever found out something you liked was in fact very popular? Have you ever been on that mistake of a date with that guy who champions his self worth based on how many deep cuts are on his Spotify playlist? “No no no, babe, you’ve probably never heard of them.” That guy? How many of our interests or ideas are truly, truly original? Is anything really sacred?
The answer is…probably not.
Artists are praised for being obscure all the time, when really part of the duty of an artist (and contributes to her success) is how well they connect with their audience. Their throughline of commonality. Those things that we’re all thinking of inside our heads all the time, but praise the artist who decides to vocalize it. T.S. Eliot popularly said, “...bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”
People who can find inspiration and bring a fresh perspective among what is being fed host a fundamental trait of being an artist. They are creating collections that are inspired by stories that are most true and personal to that artist. However, those who find creativity in chaos are outnumbered by those who’d describe themselves as “chronically online”. If we were all finding our inspirations in the same corners of the internet, things might start to look similar. Therein, the idea of duping, mass production, and trend can only be so different from artist to artist. There is always a small thread of DNA that runs through every artist's collection that shows a cohesive (what we call) “trend” every season.
What does this mean in fashion? Duping is no foreign concept in fashion, in fact it was one of the biggest trends of 2022. Owning fakes became funny, and has been even praised in some cases for providing a more accessible alternative to the “original” version of the design. But what IS original? If fashion is cyclical and trends come with the changing winds, what can be considered a truly authentic design? The answer lies in the zeitgeist.
So…what is the Zeitgeist of 2023? In the case of the Dupe trend, maybe mass production. In the case of true popularity of the dupe, could be an overarching consequence of becoming used to the idea of a widening wealth gap. Are we looking too deep? Am I reaching? Maybe dupes are just funny. Who’s to say? A true mark of our current Zeitgeist is our connection with technology and algorithms. We all have muses. What happens if we have the same muse as everyone else on that one side of TikTok? Algorithms are a way for someone else to imprint their perceptions onto us. It’s no wonder that copies on copies of the same work are created every day. Are we duping, or are we living in a small, interconnected, overlapping world?
If you have been following us on Instagram, you might have seen us chatting about the similarity between a pant in the most recent Mugler collection and our X-Pant. The drama! Scandal! Just kidding. As we talked about before, basically: we have no idea what goes on in other people’s heads, much less our own. We might think we have a great idea, and find out later on that someone’s had that idea over and over again every so often over the last fifty years. How are we supposed to know? Everyone’s ideas could come completely different places, and end up in unexpectedly similar form at their finish. What do you think may have been the cause of this... is it algorithm, is it duping, is it shared creative DNA, or the artist's original inspiration ?We will never know! Damn, but really damn! Our thoughts are that he has been an amazing muse for the brand, and maybe great minds do think alike!
Our X-Pant is heavily inspired by the Peran tumban, a piece of Afghan men’s clothing traditionally worn under a long shirt dress. “Peran” refers to the top, and “tumban” are the pants worn as a more conservative and baggy piece. This men’s garment paired with the Afghani turban, for over 40 years, has become a symbol of power, masculinity, and exclusivity. The vision for this pant was to illustrate versatility in how women can claim their own individuality and express themselves confidently however they desire.
The first time Sabrina saw a woman wear pants was in the United States, by her adoptive mother. She wore pants, drove a car, and claimed power that Sabrina was not familiar with in Afghanistan. Then and once again now, the Taliban have implemented heavily restricted dress code when it comes to women. The X-Pant is the feminine expression of the Peran tubman.
We are all individuals in the way that our experiences and perceptions play into our lives. But lots of times, we share the same interests and frustrations. We love to connect with other people based on those commonalities, but where we differ is where it starts to get interesting. Among the shared creative DNA of muses, mentors and inspirations, there still exists our own unique spin on what we choose to create.