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The Well of Originality

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Fashion is a strange business. 

At what point does a design become “original”? Clearly not all fashion, whether dresses, shirts, shoes or jewelry is original, or requires massive amounts of creativity. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having a “better” black t-shirt than anyone else.

Sometimes though, there’s more to it.

Stores and websites and social media are filled with a staggering amount of creativity. More than any one of us can possibly see or amass. I marvel at what some of the insanely talented designers among us envision, and then manage to bring to life. I strive very had to be not only one of those wells of originality, but also someone who brings you pieces that last, and are worth the money you pay. It’s been my passion for over 25 years to refine and perfect what we do, and we have a healthy design catalog and client list to show for it.

It hasn’t been easy though. It’s taken every bit of those 25 years, and many of the ones before.

Technique, the often forgotten part the equation, is a bear to master; it can take years of “almost there” before you finally get things right consistently. Jewelry that feels as good as it looks, and looks as good next year as the day you bought it, that elicits a gasp when the box is opened. Without technique, none of that happens.

Continually pouring out creativity can be a soul sucking thing. As I used to tell my students and still tell my artisans, “if you’re not unhappy with what you made 5 years ago, you’re not progressing.”

After all, it’s impossible to know what you don’t know until you know it.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying often used about a life in the theatre, “If you’d be happy doing anything else, do that. Acting is a hard life.” The same can quite safely be said about design and craft.

Competition is vital to creativity; keeps all of us sharp, drives us to be better, to keep learning, to continually outdo ourselves. It’s an essential component of creativity.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend recently of taking the easy route, and borrowing creativity from others while passing it off as one’s own, often without even bothering with technique. 

This has so many ripple effects that the creativity thieves likely haven’t even considered. I’d like to speak to them for a moment.

Have you considered that while you’re stealing the work of others, you’re also stealing from yourself? You’re stealing from your own growth as an artist, your own future in the business. It takes years to perfect your voice – but when you waste these precious years speaking someone else’s words, what have you learned? You add nothing to the chorus, not even a weak echo.

You also set your reputation early among those who know. You may think yourself clever to have found such a handy shortcut, but it’s not a sustainable path. If you don’t see that now, you will. In time.

To the many who are… inspired by my design, I challenge you: seek your own voice. Find your own muse, your own way. Why would you want to be an imitation of anyone, when you could be your own magnificent self, the one and only you, and truly add your unique voice to the beautiful symphony of creativity?

Don’t be a mirror of me, or anyone else. Let us see what’s inside of you. 

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Stefanie
Author: Stefanie

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