What Is Authenticity?

‘speculative sartorialism: theoretical, rather than practical… an interest in matters of or relating to the tailoring of clothing’

I clearly have very different ideas of what authenticity is.  I was reading about this ‘phenomenon’ in fashion in The Drum last month. It’s not new. But it persists because it sells product. It’s become a gimmick.

I am wholly unconvinced that a large brand selling any kind of ‘authenticity’ really and truly is what it says it is because anything that large selling at such tiny prices cannot possibly be using authentic methods.

Unless the product exists because of the authenticity it projects, it cannot be a genuine message. So I cannot help but suspect foul play whenever I see a major brand selling under the guise recycle, upcycle or back to basics. It’s just another advertising hook to make money. I don’t believe it and I don’t think anyone else does either. 

‘Beer bottles made with hand-stamped labels are now made on a factory line to look old and distressed because it fits in with the codes of ‘authenticity’. What was once deemed authentic has become bastardised and devalued through over exposure. Style has superseded quality of content.’

The thing is, people are quite happy to buy into this ethos without asking for tangible proof, as if somehow it should be real because there is a big, and therefore honest, company behind it. But misrepresentation in advertising is commonplace. And all the time it works, it’ll keep happening.

If your authenticity as a business is geared around ‘Can I Make A Difference?‘ you may find it a never ending circle. The enormity of trying to get yourself heard as a genuinely authentic producer in an industry full of fake authenticity and the problem of pricetags is overwhelming. Whilst you might make a small different to the lives of your customers they are often the people who have already converted to your ideas and have specifically been looking for companies like yours.

Educating those who don’t know, don’t want to know or who believe the hype is the holy grail of consumer influence. Because change the customer and you change the industry. And that’s a big ask.

The concept of Normcore or ‘acting basic’, words designed to pair down fashion to honesty and good values weren’t as successful as might have been hoped. They in themselves became trend words soon adopted by less honest companies. But the core of what they meant still exists and at the heart of an honest company lies these basic ideals. These companies are the precious gems of industry.

In our age of huge consumer appetites and small desire to spend, authenticity will always be priced out of the market. Back to basics costs more than passing trends. Authentic is a way of life, not a fad for the summer. And that is what makes it honest.

For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk

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