Accidental Icon: Living Small in a Large and Fast World

As the men’s fashion shows blow by in a flurry of visual madness, there are yet more interviews with designers around the question, “Is fashion too fast?”  Not surprisingly to those who espouse the both/and way of looking at life there are those who find the pace stimulating and others who find it stressful. I would have to say this is a both/and situation for me.

There are certain things that catch my eye as I peruse massive amounts of images and text on social media every day and live in a city that is constantly in motion. Being trained in the art of qualitative research I cannot help but notice the themes and patterns of what I am drawn to. In the midst of such sensory extravagance simple beauty and elegant designs that solve problems in new ways are what will always catch my eye. Don’t get me wrong I love all the noise and color that surround me; in fact I would probably not have my breath taken away by the pleasing lines of an ingenious design if speed was not the back drop. In other words it would not be so beautiful to me if taken out of its current historical context.

As you may have gleaned by now I am rather enamored with Japanese design. Rather than the grand American admonition “the sky is the limit”, because of it’s geography, culture and history, Japanese innovators from all disciplines have had to think creatively within boundaries and limits. Somehow it is never about fixing old problems in new ways but thinking in new ways about the problem itself. It is looking up out of the small, dense space into the sky of endless possibility and then returning and adapting elegantly to the context you live in. It is big thinking that fits in small places and small geographies. Perhaps this could help us re-frame the fast fashion debate and not see it only as a problem to be fixed.

Despite the global reach that social media gives me as the Accidental Icon, I still physically live kind of a small life, so that explains the appeal.  Over my break, I had to figure out how to re-design and de-clutter my rather small New York City apartment so the sky could come in and we could have sense of space in the midst of the clothing and photographic equipment Accidental Icon has brought into our lives (thank you Marie Kondo for your fabulous book that gave me graceful solutions).

Large performances and spectacles are going on in all the fashion capitals of the world, right now for menswear, stirring debates about the fastness of fashion and the impact of that on creativity. In the meantime for Accidental Icon, fashion is an event I attend every day through the choice I make to think about the clothes I chose to wear. Fashion lets me see the sky and is what allows me to experience the best of small living in a large, fast and media saturated world.

Are you stressed or stimulated or both/and by fashion, social media and the pace of the system?