For years I have pondered a simple question – what is cool? It is a broad concept so let’s narrow it down to a practical, working example we can throw around: street fashion.
Is fashion loved or hated by every person on the planet?
I have mostly been a hater. The concept never held any appeal because from a distance it appeared to be a never ending attempt to grasp at what was truly cool. It was always reactive; driven more by a motivation to conform than create. So I opted out and observed.
But here is the thing that always challenged me: within any social circle there were always those who were clearly cool. But why were they cool?
This question drove my pondering. Was it a unique gift they possessed to see the future? Was it the magic X factor that gave them that special aura? Were they creative or did they diligently follow fashion?
After twenty years of consideration I present to you ‘Tom’s working model to define cool’:
I propose that the root of true ‘coolness’ is honesty, it is integrity. That is the magic ingredient we enjoy and yet find so hard to define.
See I think what we perceive as being ‘cool’ is simply an individual choosing to express themselves with integrity and then finding that special rhythm within themselves to just ‘be themselves.’ Sadly, it is the dishonesty of someone trying to be someone else that is not cool.
There is creativity and colour built into the fabric of every person's being. Many of us choose to mute who we are, to conform and follow the herd. But there are beacons of hope for all of us – people who courageously choose to let go and be who they are; The Rob Machado’s, Jack Parow’s and Bono’s of the world.
Comfortingly the reason this model works is because –
1. It caters for diversity
2. It cuts across personal preference by striking at the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’
3. It works in the real world and is easy to apply (any good model should be practical and have good fruit when applied)
In closing I have personally been liberated by Tom’s model to enjoy the limitless potential that fashion offers to express who I truly am …
Create, don’t conform.