When you present a new fashion line to the world and want it to succeed, it’s not about making it known. It’s about making it loved. Charging fashion items, or any other object, with emotions makes people feel for them, and it not only gives those people pleasure, it will give you influence over them…
If you want to create strong emotions for what you create, imitate life. How do our emotions for things (and people) come together? Through experience with them. Imagine you walk in the woods and see a snake right before you. It has a triangular head and it’s tail is raised into the air and it rattles. All you know about rattlesnakes shoots immediately into your mind in one clear emotion of fear and attention: rattlesnake, poison, deadly, can attack quickly, keep distance. All this is contained in that one jolt of feeling you get. You move backwards slowly, away from the snake.
Aura is the unique phenomenon of distance however close it may be.Walter Benjamin
A little later you come to a tree with red, oval shapes hanging from it. You remember Apple, the great taste, past experiences from past eating Apples together with Eve, you remember it’s your favorite fruit, that it’s healthy to eat… a strong signal that attracts you. Emotions for any object and person contain all the experiences we had with them, all the thoughts, all the feelings, all the rational explanations and how we felt ourselves. It comes like a flash, fast, and uncontrollable.
If you want to create such a response in someone, you also have to create the experience. It’s obvious that you can’t get everybody to have a direct experience with your fashion. But you can create the experience artificially and artistically through photography, film, books. This works just as well, and often better.
A story is a series of events that imitates life and gives you the experience as if you really had it – and sometimes even more intense than real life experiences.This is how we charge objects with emotions, and we charge them so strongly that they can give off an aura of the charge they have. It’s what art can do.
The aura of the object
The emotional charge is the aura of the object. The philosopher Walter Benjamin defined aura as “unique phenomenon of distance however close it may be”. You might get close to the physical object, but it will recede if you focus on the physical appearance. The aura of the object is not in the object itself. It is in our mind. And the more we approach the physical object, the farther we move away from the object we actually want to explore: the object we perceive – and its emotional charge.
We need personal objects with good emotions
We need objects in our lives that carry a strong, emotional charge. They keep us going on in our quest to realize our ideal, our mission in life.
Our emotions are volatile. We have bad moments and bad moods, phases of doubt and despair. An object, emotionally charged with our best emotions works like a reminder and can put us back on target. So we don’t lose our north star when we cross storms on our way to our destination in life.
Talismans, religious objects and symbols, relics, objects of personal experience like a favorite piece of clothing, objects of general history, lucky shirts, favorite bags are such things. And we can even buy pre-charged things, pre-charged with a very specific emotion: brand items.
As we get emotions from experience – even fictional ones – you charge your brand with emotions giving that experience. Branding is turning a dress into a Prada, a sneaker into a Nike. It’s one of the most profitable things you can do in business.
And it’s being done with the help of the arts.
The charging process: just like at the movies
The way a character in a movie is being created is the same an object or logo is being charged with emotion and meaning. A movie character starts out just someone on the screen. We know he’s not real, that the person moving on the screen is an actor, and we don’t care. Can it get any worse for a starting point than this absolute zero belief?
But then… then we watch the character get in situations. Our fantasy engages, and this engagement is the moment we start taking that person on the screen seriously.
That core moment is called suspension of disbelief. All the situations the character went through are stored in this character like an emotional charge. And we are taking him for real, sympathize, identify with him, feeling and wanting to be in his shoes.
People are easy to please if you give them a good story.Steven Spielberg
We made the step from looking at a meaningless person on a screen, that wasn’t even real, to reacting to him as if he were a living person, becoming maybe more important to the viewer than living people around him. Because it engaged our imagination. And it works every time as if it was an advanced, outer world technology. As if Captain Kirk said: “Mr. Sulu, engage imagination”.
Charging fashion with emotions
You don’t just get into a piece of clothing: you slip into a world. As if you had found a secret door into a fantasy world. As a fashion brand it is not just about the clothing, it is also about the world this clothing lives in.
Every human being is fighting to define his world in both an exciting and a romantic way, a world where he counts as an individual and does not disappear into the faceless masses of the era of overpopulation.
We no longer just buy products, we buy elements to piece and puzzle together a world of our liking, collect moments of meaning we want to give our lives. The more defined the world of a fashion brand is, the more an audience of customers can identify with it like with the characters in a movie: and literally buy into it.
The fictional fashion brand “Get Lucky”
Let’s take the fictional clothing company “Get Lucky”. They target the sophisticated and educated, the hip and the cool, and will also reach all those who admire the sophisticated, the educated, the cool and the hip and would like to be more like them.
You can charge your fashion just like a movie character: by showing it in situations directed and styled in a certain way. This could be wide open cities with few people in the street instead of the crowding masses, this could be by showing these cities in warm colors as if they had just been invented as the background for a romantic story.
The cast that acts in these cities and wide landscapes, that are filled with exotic animals like in an adventure story, that cast wears the “Get Lucky” clothing line. They are always full of energy without exaggerating it, they are passionate about what they are doing, and they have all jobs that are important and interesting. They are fulfilled with their lives, they are satisfied and thriving in their lives. They travel the wide landscapes as if it was an adventure laden open world in a video game.
Let’s see you stand in a subway train in New York, squeezed between an overweight man who hasn’t showered since Bill Clinton was president, and a woman whose hateful screams into her phone hurt your ears. You are going towards a job you don’t like and you are going crazy over all of this because this effing subway train just broke down and got stuck in a tunnel. Your mind needs release. You can hold novels between you and the world to have one realm of fantasy. But you need something more sensual.
The sensual body contact of your favorite clothing brand is like wearing that novel and story on your skin. You dress into the “Get Lucky” brand like into a golden armor. It gets you out of this hell and into those blessed lands of wide open spaces and important jobs and golden light where all people are slim and good looking and have showered just an hour ago and nobody is yelling in their cell phones and your boss just congratulated you for helping to save the ideal world.
Whenever you see an ad of “Get Lucky” you get another dose of that world, whenever you see another video on your smartphone or go into a “Get Lucky” store you are adding to it. And when you put on the “Get Lucky” clothing you are no longer part of what’s around you. You are in that other, better world, you feel it in the fabric on your body, the smell of the fabric, the color and texture that touches your eyes – your new clothing is transporting you there, and, sublimely transporting, shielding you against the “real world” that is no longer real: as if you were a cyber-traveler in “The Matrix”.
This is the power of charging fashion with emotions and showing a whole world connected to it. This is the story-building and emotion-creation that makes the difference between a company selling clothes – and a brand dressing people’s lives.