The Importance of Being Yourself / by Didier Young

outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate
outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate

I recall growing up, how much I wanted to be exactly like everyone else. To blend in. To be one with the crowd. I hated my freckles, had body issues especially regarding my weight and I even disliked my name because it set me apart. I dressed in oversized tee-shirts in a shade of brown that was absolutely horrendous on my skin tone and in my own way, I was content whenever I was invisible. My reluctancy to be seen only made me more visible to a small group of bullies which further accentuated my personal issues. I was misunderstood because I was different and I was even mockingly given an award for “most social”. Little did they know that nine years later, I would make social media my full time occupation.

outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate

There is a certain irony to my field of work: it requires for you to set yourself apart from the crowd while still adapting a photographic and fashion style that is trendy and prevalent all over Instagram. Soon enough, you start noticing interchangeable photos and a certain redundancy in the visual appeal of the platform. My desire to be like everyone else almost came to completion and I realized that I should have been careful of what I wished for. Now that I have grown up, I have embraced who I am and what makes me different. Now that I finally had the chance to blend in, I wanted to rebel and be completely different from everyone else. It’s funny what a difference a few years can make, eh?

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The topic of this blog post came to mind after I made the acquaintance of a fellow Toronto creative named Myles Sexton. Myles has a unique fashion sense that bends gender rules and showcases a true form of expressive creativity when it comes to the way he dresses. It was so refreshing to see someone who was brave enough to be different, to truly showcase who they were while disregarding society’s norms when it comes to masculinity and how men have to dress. While he is far more adventurous than I am when it comes to fashion, I have also come to realize how similar we were. His bold choices made him different but also far more easily prone to people’s judgement. Despite the shining beacon of expressive freedom that he was, Myles also felt quite lonely. Being different makes him misunderstood which leads to people’s reluctancy to approach him. That is when I realized that my desire to be loved by all and my fear of loneliness was the Achille’s heel to my creative progress.

outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate
outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate

Having a mind of your own, stating your diverging opinions and expressing yourself differently from the norm always comes at a cost. The polarity of those choices will always scare people who are uncomfortable with change and difference and unfortunately, the majority of the world is populated with such human beings. However, it doesn’t mean that you should compromise who you truly are in their favour. It will be tough and it might be a lonely first part of your journey, but along the way you will end up finding your own cowardly lion, tin man and scarecrow. You will become the lighthouse that will bring similar minded individuals to you.

-Didier

outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate
outfit thom browne shark wooyoungmi fashion pirate

Sunglasses: Masunaga from Holly Eyewear //Polo shirt: Thom Browne // Pants: Wooyoungmi // Shoes: Gucci