via businessinsider
Lately, I've been fascinated by the idea of anonymous. Maybe because I have grown up in the age of celebrity, arguably at its peak - hello sex tapes, paparazzi culture, and reality TV - and subsequently the age of social media where everyone and anyone can experience degrees of celebrity. On the latter, more than ever, has become easier to want to/overshare and the human condition to want to belong has become more public than ever. In Elle Canada, Cate Blanchett comments "Fame can be a fairly limiting, hollow achievement unless it’s backed up by ability and substance.” But for many the attention  that comes with recognition is enough and the meaning and purpose of it is not the point. I am also curious how the subject, the celebrity, can influence perception on the object, the work.

A significant factor as a point of differentiation has been one's personal brand. Having a p.o.v./ voice/look/sound/taste/message that resonate and is reliable consistently is what creates a following. People are drawn to things they can identify with, aspire to, or be entertained by. In 1971, Coca Cola created the 'I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke' ad and it repositioned Coke, as Coca Cola's creative director Bill Becker said, "Not as a liquid refresher...but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples." and also as an inclusive and globalized brand by featuring a diverse cast. Heartwarming and ingenious, Coke is still just a 'liquid refresher.'

I mention Coca Cola because it's an example of style over substance. This is how I often view/talk about pop culture: separating the substance from the style. By this I mean, I could give two fucks about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart dating (or not) but I'd gladly debate why she should/shouldn't have issued that apology as a discussion on infidelity/celebrity/role model(she shouldn't). But mostly I just want to talk about the work - the music, the film, the process of it - because we're not in the relationship, we're not in the addiction, or whatever scandal is written about. The facts are incomplete and too many things are alleged so why are we even discussing it. Escape in the work, it's a fantasy not in people's live, it's real. However surreal.

And this perhaps is why I'm most fascinated by anonymous: what if the subject is removed entirely and judgement is left solely on the object? Would Teenage Dream be as big a hit if it was Bonnie McKee singing it and not Katy Perry? Would Apple still shift record breaking numbers of its newest revolutionary product if it wasn't for the keynote or the iconic logo? Would you have given two shits about Picasso's work before he was dead and famous?  I'm not saying style is a bad thing: I bought LOVE because Miley Cyrus was on the cover and I bought INDUSTRIE because there were lengthy interviews with industry people talking about their careers - not because Cara Delevingne was on the cover.  I'm saying prestige/reputation can be upheld or cause complacency.

I'm also saying be conscious and recognize what you are actually buying into. I think it's important to indulge in shallowness (like the leather jacket that will change your life) and dwell on meaningful things (like life aspirations) because balance. The shallowest and deepest conversations after all, are the most interesting/worthwhile/memorable.
via billboard
Anonymous however still feels like the ultimate as success based purely on substance and not style and subsequently, success without the fame. There're the invisible Jeffrey Campbell and Martin Margiela, who are known as brands not people. "I get to sit at home with the dogs on the sofa, record in a closet in the office, send them off and, if I'm lucky, make a million dollars." says Sia whose words you've probably sang to through  Rihanna, Beyonce, or Katy Perry (she is releasing an album this spring and I've been listening to Chandelier nonstop and Breathe Me is a classic). “Anonymity is a word we talk about all the time, in life and in clothes.” Ashley Olsen said when talking about The Row, their high-end clothing line they once considered to ghost design. Sure, it's idealistic - to an extent - to think brands can be successful without marketing, explaining or contextualizing their work but it's something to keep in sight.

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