I recently watched an interview with Alex Banyan – a best-selling author, who promotes the idea of thinking outside the box. In this interview he said: “The difference between fearlessness and courage is that fearlessness is jumping off the cliff without thinking. Courage is acknowledging your fear, analysing the consequences, and deciding you still care so much about it, you’re gonna take one step forward anyway.”
This is a great definition of both terms, which can be applied to various things.
We live in interesting times of dynamic attitude shifts and turbulent changes. Being brave is important. Courage and fearlessness - as defined above, are great indicators of bravery. And yet so different. The word ‘fearless’ sounds bold, loud and even flamboyant. ‘Courageous’ inspires a calmer and effective approach, it provokes respect. In life we are faced with different situations and we can respond with courage or fearlessness, or neither.
So, can these terms be used within fashion context? How about ‘fearless fashion’ and ‘courageous fashion’? Don’t they sound a little dramatic? Well, bold times require bold measures. And bold terms.
I would define Fearless Fashion as thought provoking, demanding, even innovative. This viral video created by journalist Oobah Butler showcases fearless fashion attitude.
Oobah Butler is not a fashion practitioner and he doesn’t portray himself as a sustainable fashion advocate. But he creates his own boundaries through challenging the current state of fashion. Are catwalk pieces better than regular ‘value’ pieces bought at markets? I am not talking about ethical and sustainable practices but purely refer to visual impact. Does glamour distract from the object itself? Do things appear as they truly are and what is real? Even though I am sure that planning was involved in his very intelligent stunt of crashing into Paris Fashion Week, his video is about taking action. Things could have unravelled in various ways. His approach is colourful and refreshing and.. fearless!
Let’s explore the term ‘courageous fashion’. The more analytical approach. Courageous Fashion requires great self-assurance, certainty and belief in a cause. It is what I describe as true fashion activism. In recent years I have learnt about brands and organisations, individuals and communities that live as courageous fashion activists. They challenge the status quo of today’s rather fast paced, exploitative and damaging industry and take steps forward. Educating, doing good, living ethically, promoting courage - in fashion context. Brands like Elvis & Kresse and Birdsong, organisations like Fashion Revolution and campaign groups like Extinction Rebellion, individuals like Stella McCartney, communities such as the Slow Fashion Movement – they all take courageous steps towards a better world, where fashion nurtures and inspires innovation and creativity rather than exploitation of resources.
Today marks the beginning of a Global Climate Strike week. I know there are many people, who will go out and join the strike demonstrations. In fact this is already happening. For the rest - I really think that there are other ways to strike - with everyday actions. Small daily changes can go a long way - from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and the companies we support with our shopping habits.
We live in a world where being fearless and courageous is essential. Courageous Fashion and Fearless Fashion start conversations, enable changes, work towards a better world. And in this world – do you identify yourself as a Fearless Fashionista or a Courageous Fashion Activist?
Or perhaps something else?