Losing your reference pointsPosted: March 26, 2012
Ozwald Boateng, the Savile Row tailor and fashion designer, has a film out about his life so is popping up all over the place giving interviews. In this week’s Big Issue magazine, when explaining how and why he first turned to fashion, he says “there weren’t any reference points in fashion for me”.
Normally one might expect that not having reference points would be a disadvantage. If you don’t know what has gone before or what perceived wisdom or best practice, is how do you know if what you are doing is right or correct or what people want? Clearly in Boateng’s case this was not a problem. Not only did he open his first fashion studio when he was 24 but he had his first shop in Savile Row when he was 28!
Sometimes a reference point just encourages us to keep our worldview, our biases, our grudges and our affections. The truth is though that doing what you’ve always been doing and conforming to known reference points is just going to get you what you’ve always been getting, and probably give everyone else that as well. Sometimes reference points inhibit us from breaking out and going against the grain. Maybe not having a reference point, or losing the ones you have, is actually a good thing.