As you may have noticed, I've recently been focusing more on my Instagram content. Not that I post there every day, mind you. It's just I seem to post a bit more intentionally there and to be fair, I've already touched upon the topics below through my posts and stories there. I don't wish to repeat myself, but I do feel I need to expand a bit on what I already posted ...
On creativity and originality
As I mentioned on Instagram, I am the daughter of an artist and a dress maker. My childhood was formed in the appreciation of Craft and Creativity. As I grew up, I read for a Bachelors' Degree in English Literature at University and although I am far from being the next Artemisia Gentilleschi, Maria Grazia Chiuri or Virginia Woolf, creativity and originality both in the written or visual media are incredibly close to my heart.
I believe it is for this reason that, every time I see some’s creative output - be it a garment or make-up, an accessory, a text or anything really – being stolen and copied, my stomach turns.
And yes, of course, with clothes and ‘stuff’ there could be an issue of budget. I totally appreciate that not everyone can buy those trendy Balenciaga sneakers so if shop X have exact copies, then why spend €500 if you can spend €50 right? I do have to confess that in younger, less informed days, I did fall to the charms of a crazily good lookalike LV or two.
I've recently encountered posts which had chunks of text copied from other website without any proper sourcing. I know it’s difficult to churn out new content every single day. I know what a writing block is - believe me I've been through it during my academic years and it's still something that plagues me now that I'm trying to keep this blog alive. But never, in a million years, would I dare copy someone else's work without giving credit to them. It is lazy and disrespectful towards both original creator and the reader.
It's because now I know better.
I now know about the criminal rings that feed this counterfeit industry; I now know about the inhuman conditions workers have to suffer in shifty factories sewing these €5 tops which try to pass as the iconic Gucci tees; I now about intellectual property rights and the legal frameworks which protect patents, copyrights, industrial design … creativity in general.
I am not trying to belittle anyone who chooses dupes instead of the real thing – everyone is free to make that choice. But I would so love you to take a moment to consider what you are doing before buying that fake, appropriating that photo or text without so much as a nod to the original creator.
On consumption and consumerism
I’ll try not to be as long-winded on this, but I do feel the need to explain what’s eating me up here.
A few months ago now, I saw someone sing the praises of a particular garment that was so cheap they could happily wear, tear and throw away. The garment in question can be described as “not biodegradable, and will persist in the environment indefinitely” (source). Let that sink in. At least, I hope that thought does trigger something in you.
A few weeks after that post, I myself asked whether I should bite the bullet and buy myself a new pair of jeans before my old ones fully disintegrated. For the record and full disclosure, I have indeed bought the new pair of jeans before the others disintegrated but the purchase was made after a solid month of ruminating after I posted my poll. What really struck me was the amount of people who told me to ‘carpe diem’ and where the majority of them came from. I do not mean to shame my motherland, but I do feel that we have yet to become more woke when it comes to the consumption, consumerism and the effects on the environment all this incessant, whimsical buying can have.
I sometimes feel that we are drugged by the fact that we can afford something, that it’s just a few euros, and it’s in the latest colours or trends, and so we must have it so that our next Instagram post will show something new and that we haven’t worn before. And while I raise my hands at having fallen for the instant gratification a new purchase can give, I’ve found myself too many times weighed down and guilted by the clutter and the sheer amount of stuff I own, most of which has no real or perceivable value. I also feel troubled by the thought that anything I dispose of – unless it’s finding another home through a charity shop or pre-loved outlet – is going to harm the world you and I live in. And as the old adage goes, “We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children.” And wouldn’t you want your children to have a clean, healthy world to live in?
I don’t want to come across as having delusions of righteousness. I just want to share any lessons I learn on this low-buy / more intentional purchasing journey I’m on as I’m finding it goes deeper than the actual act of purchasing something. It’s a journey which is making me think deeply on what goes into every purchase I make – from the creative thought that conceived the item to where it will go once I’m done enjoying it.
Photography by UTOPIA PHOTO by Mariska Broersma www.utopiaphoto.be