What is your brand? 

There is no greater feeling of inner peace than the one that comes from being in agreement with who we really are and not seeking anyone’s permission for it. Yet, it seems like the hardest thing to do in today’s world is to be ourselves.

We want to feel free to express who we are, to be accepted and to be understood. What we often do instead is try too hard to fit in, to the point that we become inauthentic. Even when we’re aware of this problem, we never become completely immune to it.

How does this relate to the ‘superficial’ world of fashion and our visual identity?

Besides our need to be part of a ‘tribe’, most of us also have a need to spice it up with a unique and stylish touch that at the same time makes us stand out from the crowd. When we focus too much on fitting in, what we actually do is tune down our own sense of style to highlight what we think is ‘fashionable’. And ‘fashionable’ becomes what society wants, what people around us expect, what influencers and the media suggest and promote. The problem is that many times we think we are choosing what we like and what represents us when, in fact, we’re just not aware of how biased and how conditioned we are by these influences.

We are being sold the illusion that if we buy whatever major brands are selling, we will get access to the life(style) being showcased as their brand. Thrilled to buy, we often accept to advertise them for free. We wear tags and we become walking billboards with big brand names on our clothes and bags. Or we wear a highly recognizable item that screams a particular brand out loud. Before we know it, instead of expressing our own personality and identity we become a faithful follower willing to promote others along with their missions and values. Sometimes we even give up all our value by acting as if our worth was on the outside, in those tags we wear.

I remember how excited I was when I thought of making a piece of jewelry for my best friend. At the time, I had started making my handmade script jewelry and I was receiving many orders. I thought my best friend should get one as a gift. Only her reaction was that she would feel like a dog with a name tag on. Completely respectable opinion. But this event triggered me to think about tags. How many of us are actually not wearing any tags and what’s the difference between wearing other people’s names and our own?

I truly believe we don’t need any tags or labels to define ourselves. Still, I do believe we should always exude confidence and show our own personality and values through our visual identity. We have to be able to comfortably wear who we are.

Thinking about tags and marketing, I realized I would happily promote other people’s ideas and brands but I was never comfortable with putting mine out there. So, to push all these thoughts into action I decided to make my own brand tag. I then took a purse that I love but wasn’t wearing anymore because the front part around the clip looked old and damaged. I used this tag to give the purse a new life, to remind myself that it’s ok to be me and that if I’m wearing any tags it should be my own.

What are you willing to advertise? Which values are embedded in that brand or product?

original bag by Purificacion Garcia

the new, handmade tag by Mili

Photos by Mili