Vaughn de Heart
Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done.
Coach Gary Gaines, Friday Night Lights
The life of creatives. The internet makes it so appealing doesn’t it? They live in big cities, own their own stores, run their own lives. They’re not bogged down with schedules, they make their own. They don’t have to deal with bosses, they are their own boss. The internet has become the perfect medium for them to share the perfect amount of their day to make their lives seem to be just that…perfect.
How many videos has the internet produced following creatives and showing how much better their lives are than ours?
I am a creative (Translated: I like to think I am sometimes). Not a full time one. I sped my day’s working a day job, and my nights trying to build a brand. I spend roughly 4 hours of my day trying to be a creative entreprenuer and those are most definitely the hardest hours of my day. Trying to find inspiration, connecting with my customers, trying to pack up orders. Trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Hypebeast won’t post about my brand even though I feel as though they’ve posted about many less developed and worse brands. I wrestle with this for about 4 hours every day. I can only imagine what wrestling with these issues for 8 hours a day or more can be like. These things stress me out when I know that I can still be ok tomorrow because I have another job. If this was my only job, how much more stressed would I be? I fall into the trap of thinking that if I could just figure out a way that I could support myself solely off of my creativity, that would fix my life. Not only my day job woes, but my family woes as well, my, maybe I should have gotten my masters degree woes, my I missed the game winner in last nights pickup basketball game woes. I feel as though it will solve everything. Like, “Ah man if I can just solve that one piece, everything else will fall into place.” Anything that comes my way in life I’ll cast aside with ease because I know that that I became successful off of my creativity. Somehow that is the idea that these creatives, that these videos have left me with. I need to realize once and for all that if I become “Successful” at this. That the other stresses in my life will either remain the same, or grow.
There is one instance that I feel the stress of the industry is shown. In a video interview that has since been removed from the internet (I scoured the internet to find it again but it is gone, alas) Rick Klotz from Warriors of Radness is discussing The buyout of Warriors of Radness by American Apparel. In the video Rick who is known for his brutal, sometimes too brutal honesty says something to the effect of, “I’m not saying that I’m ‘trying something new’ like most designers say. The industry is hard.” Which seems to shed a little light on the reason the deal went down is because financial reasons, and also that when designers stat another company to, “Try something new.” It may be in place of saying that their other brand failed. It is understandable that the backing of a multi million dollar company like American Apparel could help a smaller brand like Warriors of Radness. So Rick, the owner and founder of the now defunct Freshjive. One of the original brands heralded for it’s authenticity and stance against corporate America. Rick joins the fallen to assimilate and become part of the empire while Luke Han and the gang still battle for their rebel survival.
The piece that I am probably missing here is the art of “lifestyle branding.” Every brand tries to market a lifestyle, whether successful or not brands are trying to push a certain way of living upon you. They are either portraying a lifestyle displaying how you are currently living, or how you want to live. The creatives behind these brands are a part of this marketing as well. How these designers portray themselves in interviews is an extension of their lifestyle marketing. They have to be living the lifestyle they are portraying of relaxed, carefree lifestyle filled with luxurious products. This is at least part of the reason that Ralph Lauren has the Double RL ranch in the middle of nowhere with influences from the old west. It is an extension of his brand, his vision. He will let us in on only the pieces of his life that extend his marketing. This is something that I myself understand. When anyone asks me if I am making money from this brand (Which they often do) I always say the same thing, “Yes” and I will always say yes. The reason is because I realize that my answer to this question is marketing. People want to support a brand that is making money and that brings joy to people. If I said to people that the brand was failing and times are tough people don’t want to support that. They want their clothing to be a sign of prosperity, not a symbol of hardship.
It is for these reason that I believe that these brand owners and founders are not going to let you into their lives. Most of what you will see will be calculated, thought out, and only what they want you to see. You won’t see the dirt and the grime, you won’t see the sweat and the tears, you will only see the finished product, because it’s all about that just that…product.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture