I was reading an interesting interview with JAY Z, and discovered something super fascinating to me. The basic idea is that the reason why a lot of people in the hood wore baggy pants and puffy jackets were to conceal drugs and weapons. And Timberland work boots because they would be hustling on the streets of New York late until the night during the winter — so the purpose was to stay warm.
Which gave me a thought:
Do all fashion or design trends begin from the functional purpose first?
Why do Leica rangefinders look the way they do?
The original Leica rangefinders were designed and built that way out of necessity. Autofocusing technology didn’t exist, and to fit the 36 frames of a 35mm roll of film (derived from cinema film), the camera had to be designed this way.
The design of a classic Leica M rangefinder has thus become iconic, because out of necessity!
But does that old school design still need to exist for new cameras, if the function no longer is necessary?
Jeans and denim: sturdy and resilient clothing for 49 miners. Do we really need to wear jeans in today’s white collar and air conditioned world?
Wrist watches were first an innovation from having the watch always in your pocket, to putting it on your wrist to always easily check the time. But in today’s world where we have smartphones, do we really need a wrist watch to tell the time?
Or if you desire to live a life where your life is NOT dictated by the clock, is having a clock or watch even desirable or necessary?
In Praise of Sneakers and Yoga pants
Sneakers and yoga pants — the ability to workout anytime, anywhere! My favorite innovation recently is being able to buy super stretchy jeans— which I’ve even done yoga in before, or even taken to the gym!
If your desire is to walk much, and be athletic anywhere you want, of course it seems that stiff leather shoes are undesirable, unless you’re trying to dress the part for something.
Also a new favorite thing of mine — wearing black merino wool leggings paired with black athletic shorts. Good way to hide the junk, have pockets, while ultimate stretchy functionality. Also the upside of merino wool.
Sports cars aren’t race cars
Lesson from my friend Don Dillion:
If you want to drive fast, buy a race car and race it at a race track, not a sports car.
Why do race cars and sports cars look the way they do, or why are they designed this way? To be raced against other race cars on a track, to be the fastest! To perform at the apex level of turning, handling, acceleration, etc. It makes no practical sense to drive a sports car as a commuter vehicle. Better to commute with a Prius or an electric vehicle like Tesla, than to daydream of buying a sports car to “improve” your monotonous daily commute. Or better yet, commute with bus or subway.
Perhaps we should optimize our lives first for function, and don’t get suckered by the fashion. Strive to master your own personal aesthetics in accordance with how you live your own life. Then let that become a fashion!