Would you agree that authenticity is hot right now? Everywhere you go it seems like people are proclaiming to be their authentic selves. Those same people encourage others to be authentic, too. You see it all the time in the fashion industry. But here is the thing: fashion authenticity may actually be unattainable.
The difficulty with fashion is that all of us wear clothing designed by someone else. We are also subject to fashion trends. Styles come and go, don’t they? And how many of us are slaves to the latest styles? With so many things influencing our clothing choices, it seems like being authentic is really just a mirage.
How You Define Authenticity
How a person defines authenticity could be key to understanding whether it is attainable in a fashion sense. For instance, perhaps you define it as being true to who you are as a person. Your definition includes not trying to be someone other people want you to be.
That is the whole idea behind the Plurawl clothing brand. Based in New York, Plurawl is a brand that targets the LatinX community. Their LatinX T-shirts and sweatshirts are a big hit among Latinas, Latinos, and others who appreciate the LatinX culture.
Can you be generally authentic by wearing the Plurawl brand? Perhaps. But what if, despite the fact that you appreciate the company’s messaging, they don’t produce any clothing that matches your style preferences? Wearing the brand simply because you appreciate the message isn’t necessarily a sign of being authentic.
Authenticity and Being Different
Authenticity is often coupled with a desire to be different. In the old days, we used to call it rebellion. Regardless of the term, it is all the same thing. But the desire to be different creates a quandary. Let us say a group of friends decides to embrace steam punk out of a desire to be different. And if not steam punk, maybe it’s goth. Here is the point: if they all dress the same way, how are they being different?
Human beings have an innate desire to be liked. We have an innate desire to be part of a group. To be so authentic as to be completely different is to also be isolated. Most of us do not want that. So instead, we find a group we feel most comfortable with and latch on. But how does that square with authenticity?
When we latch on to a particular group, we try to fit in. It is possible that one’s effort to fit in is a reflection of that person’s authenticity. But it is also quite possible that trying to fit in forces a person to deny who they really are. At that point, any efforts to be truly authentic have been thwarted.
We Care What We Look Like
All of this is made even more complicated by the fact that we all care what we look like. Rare is the person who knowingly leaves the house looking ratty and not caring. Even rarer is the person who goes out of their way to be completely unattractive on purpose.
The desire to look good causes us to adopt a certain way of dress. But once again, that way of dress is influenced by everything from current trends to the crowd one runs with. So in the end, how authentic is a person at any given time?
There are lots of ways to demonstrate authenticity. One of those ways may not be fashion. Like it or not, fashion authenticity may not be attainable due simply to how we choose the clothes we wear.