At some point, if you come to know enough about a fellow human, you can begin to see the ways that everyone is at least somewhat unique. Sartorial choices mean that differentiation is also around us all the time, when we come across other characters in the movies that are each of our lives.
Young Ryan used to aspire to own visibly branded clothes. Perhaps it gave a little boost to self-esteem that could be elusive back in middle school, what with how it is a complicated time for most of us. Personally, there has been a connection between my detachment from most labels today, growth of self-confidence, and a developing ability to filter out the irrelevant.
However, that’s not to say that clothing or other goods with labels are wrong to enjoy. It’s interesting to see how different branding is across a free market economy; some shops have huge logos on both their storefront and their clothing, and others have small or hidden labels.
I found this short paper on brand prominence and signaling to be quite interesting. To borrow terms from the paper, the way I present myself has slid to the left, from a mix of poseur and parvenu some twenty years ago to more of a patrician. Yes, citizens of the world, I absolutely am a have, and you might be too. I don’t think I have anything to prove to anyone through what logos I wear. Subconsciously, I suppose that mating is the oft-accused motivator of most ‘displays’, but that doesn’t cover many of the reasons consumers might buy something, and probably isn’t all that important either.
Let’s remember that consumers are in different camps on what messaging and branding they will respond to, making different approaches a necessity. Logos and branding have a power of instant communication, but if misused, can serve as an unhelpful obfuscation or repellant. While I sometimes actually do want that in public – maybe I’m not in a talking mood that day – I’m generally interested in getting to know the people around me. If our clothing fits relatively well to our human figure and daily life, we should don it proudly, and then think about the attitudes we wear.