The Cool Formula

Fashion is in the Air

Men that flash their Versace blazers and their Armani watches for sport are doing the fashion world a great disservice. Fashion is not defined by brands, economic status or any other superficial standard, but rather by the measure of one’s aptitude to global culture. Style and iconography are truly defined by one’s ability to adapt and to stay current in a changing society. You can almost feel fashion in the air and in a crowd of people. It is the ideas of social norms, trends, attitudes and change that circulate through a civilization. Think of the great fashion icons throughout history: Madonna, Elvis and Princess Diana. Did they become fashion icons because of their preference for a certain brand? They instead became staples in modern aesthetic because of a profound understanding of culture. They were able to use their knowledge of the ebb and flow to influence society. They had an understanding of something that I call the “cool formula”, which is a skill in absorbing the sociology of the time and translating it into clothing.

The Royal Families

Before the 1800’s, the forces of democracy and of the middle classes were not yet present in the world. The power of fashion and the alchemy of cool lied in the hands of royal families. Only members of monarchies in countries such as Great Britain and France could access the information and ideas that could empower one to be fashionable. Being wealthy, they had enough time and resources to fine tune deep thoughts that inspire creative clothing. Many people in society were relatively poor, thus spending their time and energy on survival instincts. In addition, these affluent bloodlines had access to global commerce which gave them connections to the exchange of ideas and expansive thoughts. Communities from lower strata’s of society only had access to domestic products, which stifled their knowledge. The “cool formula” and innovative fashion was limited to small pockets of society.

Democracy and Technology

However, something occurred in the late 1700’s that propelled the world of fashion. First, the rise of democracy in the west and its spread to the rest of the world transferred the power of society to the working class. Now, everyday workers and artisans were given the ability to influence society. With this sense of importance and significance, people began to mold their own ideas and aesthetics in society. Fashion and the ability to be “cool” expanded to the masses. Another global phenomenon that accelerated fashion was the industrial revolution and the subsequent boom in technology. In the late 1800’s, industry arose and gave the world access to intercontinental exchange of information. As technology elevated from telegraphs, radio, television and the internet, ideas and information spread all over the world. Democracy and technology empowered the rest of the world to influence society and to have a sense of importance.

Cool in 2013

What does cool mean in the year 2013? The definition of cool started at a finite level, and has since expanded exponentially through the centuries. Today, one attribute of cool is multiculturalism. In order to be in the top stratosphere of society, one needs to have an understanding of diverse cultures. Today’s cosmopolitan cities are full of. It is essential to be conscience of other customs and ideas in order to have social advantage. Another attribute of cool in today’s world is proficiency in the World Wide Web. The internet has become the most powerful force in the world. In order to have social power, you need to master this tool. Knowing how to use the trendiest social media outlets is a necessity. Using YOUTUBE and other video sharing mediums is an important way to gather current information. Knowing how to make the most out of the internet will allow you access to current events, the newest technologies and the most helpful information. The most important attribute of cool is to keep up with current events and cultural trends. Knowing vital information about the decade long war, the entertainment industry and youth culture keeps you in a modern mindset.

The Cool Magnet

In the words of the late Coco Chanel : “ Fashion is always the time in which you live. It is not something standing alone. But the grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young, then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.” You might be thinking, “How am I supposed to learn how to be fashionable by learning about culture”? But that is precisely where you should be at! It is not the expensive coat the makes the man, but rather the man that makes the coat. The knowledge, the social power and the confidence is what makes an entire aesthetic fashionable. It doesn’t start from material possessions but rather, on the inside, having “cool formula”.