Bristol doesn’t do ‘mainstream.’ It demands the edgy, it seeks the indie. Find them in the little known, find them in the just heard of. People expect a type of person when you tell them you go to Bristol University, thus creating a certain pressure. Everyone wants to be unique, but stylishly unique of course.
Yet, the problem is this - in pursuit of looking different, everyone ends up looking the same. There is a popular way to be different and, consequently, a look that goes with it. Think Adidas. Think Fila. It’s how we address Bristol’s cry for the ‘cool’. Think of the popularity of vintage shops. Their selling point is the offer of eccentric, nostalgia provoking pieces. Buyers are flattered into thinking they’re finding a gem that no one else possesses in their collection. Yet, nowadays they all look the same - millions of shirts made out of questionable patterns, oversized jumpers with slogans which mean legitimately nothing to the buyer, a few denim jackets with odd pockets. Individuality quickly turns to similarity.
I don’t claim to be immune from this. Far from it. In fact, I’m entering dangerous levels of hypocrisy with this article, but the point is that, within society today, there is enough pressure telling people who they should be and how they should be it. We shouldn't be adding another layer to that. The whole reason it was ‘cool’ to wear things and do things that others don’t was because it exemplified people being brave enough to genuinely embrace their individuality. It was daring, all whilst being natural. Difference becomes boring when it’s forced. If a huge majority of people in this city sincerely love the ‘Bristol’ look, then that’s great. It’s the nature of trends, something looks good and people copy. However, if that’s not who you are - if you listen solely to the top 40 UK and regularly keep up with the Kardashians, that’s great too. If people strive to be honest with their likes and dislikes, it will diversify difference again - make it less into a trend, losing its excitement, and more into what it’s meant to be - people doing what they want because they want to