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Joseph Cambells The Heros journey applied to fashion

The Hero’s journey is a well-known flow for how stories are told. I think something similar happens in fashion and more generally in life.

The Fashion/Life Journey

  1. No reason to change because nothing seems painful. I think many people are stuck in this phase in life. No matter how painful their reality is, they think that the way they cope with it is good enough. The first part of peoples resistance to change is a basic laziness that says that this good enough.
  2. Painful experience that normal coping process is ineffective to relax. Then I see that people have painful experiences and that the normal things they do to deal wit it don’t work. They start to look at other options.
  3. More costly options temporarily work but are unaffordable. Now they have found other options but they are too costly to continue long term. So this means either a change of lifestyle, or someone who can give them their current lifestyle without too much work.
  4. Unable to secure a way to continue their lifestyle they change their lifestyle. Sometimes this means giving things up, sometimes it means doing new things.

Ok at this point you are probably going, what in the world does this have to do with fashion? I will give you an example from my own life.

I was dressed in hand me downs in a small town. I never liked those clothes from the last decade and always felt self conscious about what I wore. I swore when I could afford nice clothes I would have them, and I do have very nice clothes now. I skipped past #1 because it was painful for me the first day I had hand me downs because they weren’t me. They didn’t represent who I was, and it wasn’t just the style, the fit didn’t work as well. So I would never do that to my children.

Now going to number #2. Wearing those clothes was embarrassing as I said and painful. I didn’t dress as the other kids did, and they noticed. I was never part of the cool kids, which I should have been because I was a cool kid. My clothes kept me separated from that experience. That was a painful experience, and I didn’t have an effective way to deal with that as a child and no money.

Now going to #3, I was teenager and had some very small part time income but the clothes I wanted were still out of reach. I went to thrift stores/consignment stores because only there could I afford the clothes. It helped to develop an appreciate for new styles and things and I loved what my closet started to become. It started to reflect who I was, and I developed more confidence in my appearance as my style developed.

I changed my lifestyle so that I could always have clothes that made me look professional and worthy of respect. I didn’t spend on things that most teenagers spent money on like movies and music. Sure I liked those things, but clothes seemed to me a better investment. They helped me get jobs and helped me move up the ladder of success.

I will continue this post in another one after I think more about what I want to share and say.

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