A growing trend of society not judging, assigning a name or pigeonholing an individual has stimulated those wishing to share their uniqueness.
Individuals are creating their own voice and are able to exercise self-love through the freedom of expression. Their looks, actions, additions by way of ink, hairstyles and clothing etc. offers them this platform.exclusively a punk or an emo subculture, or take how the acceptance of tattoos even in the formal workplace is progressively increasing. Out with the old and in with the new ‘Normal’ you have the right to express yourself how you see fit and this is ‘new’ trend where citizens unapologetically stake their claim to their individuality. #ThisIsMe
The jewellery we wear is amongst the most intimate items we possess. Initialled necklaces, picture lockets, family heirlooms and the wedding ring are all pieces symbolic of emotional attachment. Beyond the emotional attachment, some like to wear ostentatious and expensive jewellery seen worn by celebrity rappers and basketball stars, this is often representative of new or young wealth demanding to be noticed. New money pieces like grills have always been synonymous with hip-hop culture and in South Africa this is proudly represented by the Skhotane culture who wears gold chains and have gold grills embracing their teeth, this as it resonates with their culture and being uniquely African often rooted in Gauteng, the city of gold. Body jewellery in the form of piercings is huge amongst many subgroups, and is dramatically personal in comparison to, say, your great-great grandmother’s favourite pair of earrings.
In the last 13 years or so, the rise of the sneaker culture has given birth to an assortment of sneakerhead who spend exorbitant amounts of money on limited editions, some only to keep them in a box in a room never to be worn. Others spend their time sharing opinions on new sneaker drops and freely commenting around the hype. The popularity of footwear customisation is promoted by brands like Adidas, Nike and Converse to name a few. This is testament to the brands having recognised this trend in our need to express individuality and have provided platforms to do so. In its simplest terms, most often when you purchase a pair of sneakers, you get two different colours of shoe laces in the box, encouraging you to mix it up. The choice of colours, patterns and fabrications available to us adds further impetus to our ability to self-express and by wearing a pair of sneakers with a skirt and not a pair of track pants means the fashion rules of the past have given way to the wearers’ individuality.
Many fortune tellers believe our hands possess a unique series of codes that reveal certain things about us and our future. Whether or not that theory holds and truth is a handful, what is certain is that we have found a way to make our hands speak more so than many of our ancestors before us. Nail bars and besties alike are customising cuticles to truly enhance their personal style messages. It’s really like a renewable biological canvas for those looking for a form of individuality and a way to say, #ThisIsMe.
We are all creatives as we have our own voice as individuals. Knowing that we get to live forever through the work we leave behind, encourages those wishing to engage with strangers. For some, the work they put into the world translates as the cornerstone of their being. It calls for you to be brave, to take criticism and better still, compliments and fame. It’s as individuals or as collaborators that we get to make music, produce a film, design clothing, sculpt or paint. Just like the subculture surrounding graffiti, graffiti art has grown more to be passionate, community-oriented, and socially conscious in ways that contradict the way it was portrayed before. The CBD area of many cities enlist graffiti artists to ‘beautify’ the drab walls and even use this medium to post social messages.
It’s hugely evident amongst millennials that their ‘influencer’ or ‘influencers’ play a definite part in their life choices. These influencers have an opinion, dress sense, talent or skill we aspire to. Some of the things we say, wear and do may be as a direct result of these influencers. Some go so far as to copy their heroes’ tattoos and, even, tattoo their ‘current’ idols’ names or signatures on themselves. It is really quite ironic in some cases where we are so determined to be our own individual and yet we take from others to create our own identity. With our genetic make-up pre-determined, we do what we can to build the person we want to be – with mental strength and determination, we work on our persona and with creative flair and a few celebrity influencers, and we design our outer palette. So be it a character in your favourite movie, cartoon or book, parents, siblings or childhood friend, we chose what to present to the world, we are our own palette, simply titles #ThisIsMe.
My Body Art
We tend to express our inner most thoughts in collaboration with the tattoo artists we carefully seek out. The tattoos make statements about life, attitude, art, love or loss of loved ones. We wear it ‘on our sleeve’ as a conversation piece and a lifelong reminder to ourselves of a phase, person or experience we have chosen to keep with us – always. Gone are the days when only sailors, ex-Cons and gang members donned them, now anyone in society is free to have a tattoo without fear of judgement or prejudice; athletes and celebrities have made this an accepted practice.
My Own Palette
There are many more forms of personal expression and the bottom line is that it does not matter who you are, where you are from, what your financial situation is or how much talent you do or don’t have [opinion], you are your OWN BRAND. Celebrate the journey of your individuality, don’t be afraid to step out to show your true colours, however you chose to show them, you are free to express at your will. Aspire to be the best version of yourself, after all, there is only one of you!
Thank you to all the ellesse fans who heeded the call and submitted fantastic images of themselves wearing ellesse in the #ThisIsMe Campaign, you did yourselves proud and we love you.
Our contributor to this journey of discovery is most frequently referred to as Ted. Since 2010, when Ted was the tender age of 16, Ted was already exploring the word of fashion and entertainment and was a known sneaker re-seller amongst the local Northern Cape Schools and for being in a fashion crew that hosted parties. Since then, Ted has worked behind the scenes as a writer and style muse for brands such as Konica Minolta, Favelo, Camp Jeep, Tommy Hilfiger, adidas and Old Khaki.