I have always prided myself for my individualism.  I do not adhere to collectivism, group projects, morphous activities.  My stance, philosophy and outlook in life is to be unique and fluid.  I think different, eat different, dress different from most others-that is what I have been told on multiple occasions by many.

I am not lauding or commending my behavior, but simply stating a fact.  Many may even think of me as weird, eccentric or even an oddity.  Come to think of it, they may even be right!

I have always interpreted individualism as being unique, non-conformist and away from the herd.  A thing that is tested and tried is not for me.  I want to be the pioneer, the heralder, the leader.  Whether anyone wishes to follow me or not is a whole different issue!

I make tall tales and claims as to how I am so different, so unique, so exclusive.

Is that really true though? 

Yesterday, I was looking at a beautiful shot on the blog of my very dear friend Lee Oliveira.  It was a Vogue worthy, artistic shot of a man’s bottom half only, wearing Christian Louboutin shoes and a Burberry bag.  I was inspired enough to bring out my Loubies, wear the cropped pants and carry a monstrous tote.

I was inspired after seeing the photo shot by Lee Oliveira and the following question crossed my mind:  Do I adhere to individualism in the purest, truest, most uncontaminated sense?  Is the inception of my individualism truly from “My Self” or do I use inspiration to adapt to my individualism?

For instance take fashion, did the outfit that I put together truly originate from the inner being of my soul, never done before and unprecedented?  In stark honesty the answer is NO, of course not.  I was inspired from something, someone or somewhere consciously or sub-consciously.

The greatest artists, musicians and sculptors although fierce in their individualism, seek inspiration from outside.  For example, my favorite artist Henri Matisse was inspired by Gauguin and Van Gogh; John Lennon was inspired by the most unique  jazz singer Nina Simone; and in today’s times the controversial Lady Gaga is definitely inspired by Madonna!

So, the theory of stark individualism that I have adhered to all my life proves to be a fallacy.  It falls flat on its face.  Yes, there is individualism, we all have it and we all should develop it to be unique.  But we cannot take sole credit for our individualism, as in the shadows is always lurking inspiration.

  • Love this! I always tell my daughter not to be a cookie cutter but find her own style, voice and way. However, I think one can be an individual and yet outwardly inspired.

  • Last year I was also thinking on the same lines. One of my readers advocated that there is nothing called as ‘originally’ unless you were Einstein! Of course I strongly disagreed, but today I see what she meant! But I still stand by the thought that ‘originality’ or ‘individualusm’ is a by product of all that we see, read, hear. We process it and produce the results as per our sensibilities but definitely the seed was sown elsewhere :) Another great post!

    P.S. Lee, definitely is a prolific photographer and I’ll always be thankful to him, for he introduced me to you :)

  • When I first met you for the first time in San Francisco, I was like.. Girl!!! you have an amazing style and I never seen anyone like you before… Fashion love at the first sign!!! :D
    Bill Cunningham is my inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t mean I wanted to be him. I just create a different content and that I call individualism. “It’s still me”.
    But you and Vahni are one of the strongest women I ever met.
    Ps.. I love your outdoor photos!
    Lee x

  • Some very interesting thoughts – there is a fine line between ‘copying’ and ‘inspired’ as can be seen in many a high-street shop!

    That said, when you relate to the spirit of what someone has done and it inspires you to put your own spin on things; then I see that as a growth of your own individuality. And I see nothing wrong with that!

    PS: Loved Lee’s photos of you – A-MAZING!

  • I kind of think even though we are inspired by something or someone else our interaction with the same thing is soooo different that I think it’s still unique. The beauty of fashion and art actually in general to me is that no one experiences these things in exactly the same way. There’s a great line on writing about how most people have tasted an orange but no one on the planet will know how an orange tastes like to you. No one will experience you eating an orange but you. And I think that is kind of a beautiful thought. It’s great to recognize you your are completely you but inspired by so many things.

    As an aside, I LOVE your outfit. I have pink foiled kitten heels I haven’t broken out in a long while!!! See there you are inspiring me!

  • Albert:

    I love this discussion. The same thing happens in law. Sometimes a lawyer takes an argument that he or she heard in one area of law, tweaks it a little, and applies it to a completely different situation. I love the comments too. So intelligent.

  • Love this post! I think we are all individuals yet were are all influenced by our environment. They way we perceive our environment is what shapes our individuality.

    Love your style girl!


  • Okay, this is wonderful I knew that you had great taste, but I love it even more! I adore your style, and here the beautiful Loubies! And stop at Lennon, Matisse, and Simone! They are all amazing.
    I think as humans it’s inevitable to not be influenced by nature, surrounded by natural elements daily.
    I do believe that my style is truly inspired by countless elements, yet mostly from my diverse upbringing. I think though we all may be influenced by one thing, our execution, understanding, well mere interpretation of inspiration can look entirely different. It reminds me of an art professor telling his students to draw what they see as the live model sits in the center of the room, we take our view and present a completely different angle/perspective to the world, yet it’s still our own in a way – the style of it and the art. -xo

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