Accidental Icon: Taking Advantage of Limits

When complaining about feeling stuck or uninspired people will most often respond to you with the refrain to try and “think outside the box”. This catch phrase, attributed to management consultants, means to try not thinking of the obvious and to come up with something that is unconventional and novel. It means transcending the limits of budget or other constraints.  As a professor teaching students about a profession that has many rules, constraints and is not especially innovative in practice, I more often have to teach my students how to pragmatically think “inside the box”. In other words how to be innovative within the constraints of what they are already doing and what they already know.

A wonderful example of creativity that comes from limits and staying “inside the box” is the work of the graphic designer Filip Pagowski. You may have noticed that I love to wear a pair of black and white Converse Chuck Taylor’s sporting a small red heart with a set of eyes.  If you were really sharp you caught sight of a T-shirt with the same logo in black. This endearing heart with eyes is the iconic logo for Play, one of the many lines that form the brand Comme des Garçons. One day while working on something that was not especially tied to anything, the artist got the idea of a red heart with eyes. He drew the first draft and that was it. Pagowski credits his unique ability to create something from nothing and to work within existing parameters to his growing up in Poland in the 1960’s and 70’s where he learned to “take advantage of limits, even to enjoy them”. The print on the CDG shirt below is also by Pagowski and to see more of his work visit his website.

Although many women are eagerly looking at the very heavy September issues of our favorite fashion magazines right now, these looks are often aspirational. In thinking about putting together new wardrobes for Fall, we often forced to deal with constraints and limits. Whether it is how much money one has available to spend, body size or shape, colors that flatter, the climate we live in or simply the individual “boxes” that form our lives, let’s challenge ourselves to not default to frustration but rather take this as a challenge to innovate and better yet…PLAY.

How are you going to PLAY with your Fall wardrobe?







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