My favorite part of my job is working with customers in the store. It is the moment when I peek into someone’s dressing room and they are looking in the mirror at themselves with wonder, awe, excitement and fear. They are not sure if they like what they see. Then comes a story, some person from their past or maybe in their present is part of this story and their attention shifts away from them and onto a story of what it was like as a kid and how clothes, their body, the relationship they had to their growing body was or maybe the story is of now of how they can’t wear something because their husband won’t like it, or they just can’t imagine where they would wear it, or it is too loud or too tight or just “not them” or how it reminds them of this woman who they admire but don’t like…or whatever it is. I notice the moment when the shift goes from their own inner world to the outer one, when they stop hearing their own voice and they hear all the ones around them.
This looking inward is a practice and it is where creativity lies. It is a practice because we are all the time taught to look outward. We are taught to look at numbers - scales, sizes, profits, money and we are taught to compare - compare to others, to our former and future selves.
One of the most fundamental practices of yoga is the practice of looking inward. It is to bring your attention onto the space between the four corners of your mat. Then you focus on your breath, the in and out and then the practice of shifting your gaze inward. It is really the same with clothes, with getting dressed, with expression and with creativity.
I am very curious about creative processes and especially about people who are able to quiet down the outside and to create from the inside. To me, this is the most exciting and inspiring art. In business just as in life, there is so much competition, so much looking around, so much copying and then claiming it as our own - we imitate and then label it ours.
When we pause and quiet down, we get to look inward and tap into something so unique and individual that it inspires us, it gives us a sense of confidence, of elation. No one can give us that, only we can in a quiet moment when all the noise is still.
This is what we are attempting to do inside these small walls. We are trying to create a space that you, me and all of us can feel safe to go inwards, to try something on, to not be judged or criticized or talked out of your own inklings. We are opening up conversations around creativity, giving people a chance to share their creativity. We are also trying in the business space to remain competitive but not at the expense of our neighbors, our friends and our community. We don’t win by hurting someone else or taking away their business. We win by looking inward and creating something beautiful, genuine and real.
It’s a practice. A really hard practice.