I'm in an apartment in Northern Spain, a simplistic but stylish apartment cleverly designed to host the basics needed for modern day travelers whilst minimal enough to not make me feel like I’m invading someone else’s home - ultimately it’s a functional blank canvas.
For the past few years I’ve put together a ‘Fuck-it’ list – a list of things to accomplish, directions to pursue, credits cards that really need to be paid off; in short, a list of ‘Actions’ which if completed will make me a happier, more ‘Together’ human being.
The idea itself does have the potential to work, having goals and ambitions are a good thing; the problem with the list I’ve scribbled down is that it’s designed mostly for other peoples benefit. I’ve spent the past decade curating a life to impress other people, from career goals to wardrobe choices – often trying to buy contentment without the funds to do so.
This year I turn 30. I’ve lived in dread of this moment since my first year at university when a guest speaker (ex Head of Menswear at Fred Perry) told a group of fresh faced 20-somthings that when you hit 30 you become (in her words not mine) irrelevant. I’ve since spent my entire 20’s trying, working - pushing myself to be ‘successful’ before 30.
In horoscopic astrology, Saturn every 29 years re-aligns to the same position in the sky that it occupied at the moment of a persons birth. This moment is said to be the time of reaching true adulthood, a time where you will face challenges and newfound responsibilities.
It has taken me 29 years but this year, finally, my perspective seems to be becoming clearer. I’m questioning everything. Lets call it an epiphany.
Sure, I earn a lot less than my friends, but do I really need to earn more? Do I really need a walk in wardrobe, a double wardrobe and countless vac-packed clothes bags stuffed into a floor to ceiling cupboard? Probably not.
Is less - more? The notion of minimalism denotes a visual mood board of clean lines, monochromatic palettes and brutalism architecture however the true meaning is not an aesthetic but to live with intent; Not to be owned by the objects we surround ourselves with. Do our possessions offer purpose? Is this the question we should be asking ourselves?
As I sit here, away from home, the reality of being without ‘stuff’ feels surprisingly comfortable. The well-planned, capsule collection of clothes I’ve brought with me serve their purpose whilst remaining true to the me of the past 29 years. Yes it’s simple but my style remains.
Am I owned by my current hoards of clothing? Maybe not, but I am owned by the credit cards that paid for them. On average I’m adding around 4-5 new pieces to my wardrobe every month - mostly purchased ‘for work’ to fulfill my need to impress the people around me.
Before this trip I’d heard of something known as ‘Project 333’, a minimalist fashion challenge by Courtney Carver of website ‘Be more with Less’.
Project 333 encourages people to dress for 3 months with a paired down wardrobe consisting of 33 items - underwear doesn’t count but all other items of clothing including shoes and accessories make up the 33 pieces.
On my return to England, straight out of the gate, I’ll be making some changes; starting with the 333 challenge. I know, and have known for some time that I need to spend less and place value on things which a truly important; relationships, health and for me design too.
I haven't put pen to paper or even considered new design work for over 2 years, I enjoy the process but the way I've previously defined 'success' has been somewhat unhealthy. Maybe success isn't defined by monetary value and is instead defined by having something to say, a point to make?
I’ll be documenting my (apologies) ‘Journey' as I reconsider my relationship with possessions and design. For now, I’m off to enjoy a few last rays of sun and finish ‘Everything that remains’, a memoir by The Minimalists…