Where have all the cowboys gone?
12 January 2019
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The December break is often a time for family, reflection and more recently, a time to "turn off" from the constant rat race. A lot easier said than done for most of us screen addicts looking for our next dopamine hit.

It was upon one of these dopamine treasure hunts, whilst finding myself digging deeper and deeper into Twitter that I began to pick up on the rising debate surrounding the rise of minimalism in 2018 with particular focus on the Fashion industry (please see image 1 below):
Fashion brandmarksSame same, but different hey? I think not... And although some may argue that "they're removing the shadow of the ego that they're stepping into, by removing the presence of the great legacy designer of the house", I support the argument that a massive void has opened up with this careless discard of heritage in an attempt to provide "a clean slate for the new designer; a chance to rewrite the house's heritage."

Honestly, what are we dealing with today! We live in a time where our past could not be more important to learn from, yet we are born with an expectation that the world owes us something, are determined to "live in the now" and "go away and find ourselves". WTF!

The frank reality is the world is a tough place and you need to work damned hard to make your mark... A concept that the fashion doyens of old understood well and demonstrated while building their own legacies. What type of creative environment are we building when we support "copycat" visual styles that absolutely lack differentiation, and worst of all promote "safe" creative thinking?

Challenging conventional thought and being rebellious are personality traits that make the misfits (to quote Apple) of this world stand out, get noticed and leave a legacy. Not this current sense of entitlement, where years of heritage are wiped out to accommodate a lack of self-belief in one's craft, certainly not this idea of being overshadowed by the brand. Come on, for goodness sake! Those whom so many of us look up to did not get there by being soft...They fought for what they believed in, and found a style that defined them.

I get it that a brand goes far beyond just a logo. To quote Brian Collins, "A brand is a promise performed consistently over time. It's delivered in 3 systems: communications, environments and products". The key word in that quote is 'consistently'. It is consistency together with the occasional spike of delight that builds trust, and trust at the end of the day is what defines branding. How, may I ask, do you build trust when you trade consistency for a popular, mundane fad?

Going into 2019 we need to force ourselves to get uncomfortable and to fight off the obvious. It's just too easy to follow! So, ask yourself three simple questions - Is it better? Is it different? Is it special?

By Nick Schilperoort
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