the cult of originality that’s all the same

To paraphrase Gary Oldman’s devil character in the BMW Film Beat the Devil, “you creative types, you preach the cult of originality but at the end of the day you’re all the same. At the end of the day, what have you got? Trendy hair-do and an ironic t-shirt.”

ironic t-shirt

As with any group, standards of dress, of style and of personality are enforced by those up above, by those that have to be impressed by the young gums who want to be successful. It’s not unusual in the grand scheme of human interaction, but it’s also not all that creative either.

Advertising has a herd mentality masquerading and creativity and individuality.

Everyone is a hipster, wearing cool t-shirts and fashionably weathered jeans. The great act of rebellion for a creative in a typical ad agency is not to continue to dress down, but to dress up. That would be an act of true individuality, and not just that but individuality on a scale that transcends one who would further dress down because dressing up is just so counter-culture and different.

Perhaps the residue of the ’60s (appropriate as it is on the anniversary of May ’68 ) is that it has left true societal noncomformity to those that would go back to pre-’60s norms.

It is unlikely to happen, of course…and I am not better than those creatives that I needle for being unoriginal. But it would be fun if someone in the creative department turned up to work in a suit and tie (worn un-ironically, of course) , and you have to admit that you would admire them for their ballsy creativity.


4 responses to “the cult of originality that’s all the same

  1. eh. i did the suit and tie thing unironically. i even did the suit and tie thing ironically. i still don’t wear just jeans and tees. as with anything else, i think that it’s not about ‘originality’ because everything’s the same, even stories, just re-hashed and re-angled. i think the closest you can get to originality is self-expression (even with regards to clothing). even if that self-expression isn’t the most ‘original’ thing ever, at least you’re being true to yourself. i wear what i wear because i enjoy wearing it. i feel confident in it. regardless of how trendy (or not) it is. and let’s face it: the fact that creatives don’t -have- to dress up is a perk i’ve heard many proclaim from mountaintops. it’s a way to escape being “a suit” in a nonetheless corporate world; that small act of rebellion relishable when faced with the alternative of identifying overly much with indistinguishable three-piece people.

  2. Why must t-shirts be ironic? What is so wrong with a plain, solid color shirt? Ohh and everyone knows that the kids are wearing ‘raw’ jeans these days – not weathered jeans.

    But I think just about every creative owns a pair of Chucks… but I refuse to buy a pair. I’l stick with my almost equally cliche Dunks.

  3. don’t even try. it’s not worth it.

  4. What’s really sad DB, is when guys get too old for that look but don’t give it up. 40something, balding and paunchy and dressed like a college student. Ouch.

    At the beginning of my career I had to consciously adopt a somewhat trendier outfit than the usual preppy gear I wore all through school. Especially after the CD dubbed my partner and I “The Dead Poets Society” after we showed up for a client meeting in almost-matching blue blazers, khakis, button-downs and rep ties

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