In todays society, or perhaps all society in history, there are those who think freely and those who are slightly mentally imprisoned. No they aren't mentally ill, or even unintelligent, but they lack the willingness to make up their own minds without external validation. Perhaps we are all subject to this in one way or another.
This mentality goes from anything from musical taste, cars, clothes, and even politics and religion. For our discussion we will be speaking on fashion.
In Malcolm Gladwell's famous book, The Tipping Point, he explains how a group of New York hipsters managed to revive Hush Puppies shoes from near extinction and make them hot enough to rock during fashion week on the runway. Who decided to grab Champion from Costco and revive the brand? It's the same brand it's always been. A free thinker. Someone saw it and decided they thought it was fresh, and others followed until the brand now has a large table at Zumiez, is regularly featured on Hypebeast and is selling for 4 or 5 times the price it used to.
As the Creative Director here at Artform, I am faced with the conundrum of what the brand actually is, and how people perceive it or want it to be. I am well versed in all aspects of business and have read every book I can find on branding and marketing. But I'm also an artist, and artists don't change based on popular opinion. In branding they tell you to 'create a story', and sell that story to those who will buy in. The story of Artform is what it is, I can't (or refuse) to change it. It is for those who think freely and can read our blogs, look at our photographs, watch our videos, and see our clothes, and decide yes I like this, or no I don't.
Do you like Champion now? Did you like it when hoodies were $15.00 at Costco? What changed? *(replace Champion with any other brand that was plucked from obscurity to gain mainstream hype, by the time you read this there will likely be a more relevant example, no disrespect to Champion, I did buy it at Costco)
As humans we all feel a need to be accepted, or validated by our peers. But this is a slippery, and quite unoriginal slope. When you get a group of people together, all with a need to be validated by each other, you are extremely vulnerable. You are in essence sheep without a shepherd. And many choose to make 'influencers' or 'hype brands' their shepherd.
Our philosophy as co founder Tim Martinez puts it is Create-Present. We make it, and put it out there. If you rock with it great, if not that's cool too. Just make up your own mind. We choose not to pay famous people to wear our clothes. Some do anyway and that's great. But the people we really respect are those of you who saw it online and said yes I like it, free shipping, sounds good I'll take it. Those free thinkers. The world needs more of you.
You'll see the brand go through phases, just as people and artists do. It will evolve, grow, seek it's roots again, and repeat. I used to love the short, colorful dashed can strokes of artist Retna and his unique and detailed approach to lettering. Now I love his calligraphy work that he's probably most famous for. It's all part of the process, the evolution, the regression. That's what anything real is.
Retna calligraphy spotted in Beverly Hills
At Artform it's more important to us that we encourage free thought than we get hype and sell more clothes, so if you are waiting for someone to validate us first, you might be waiting for a while. For those of you who like what you see, we do this for you. We respect you and thank you for joining us on this journey.