#981 On inspiration

Image /The Sartorialist

I had a semi argument with a good friend the other day about inspiration – or in my opinion, my lack thereof. He was telling me that every idea or style or basically anything you can imagine is inspired by something or someone you’ve seen before; and I was arguing back that I come up with everything for myself by myself – i.e. pure original thought. Obviously, I was wrong.

That conversation inspired me to have a good think about the things that I’ve been inspired by – especially in regards to clothing. And I realised that I’ve been inspired by plenty of things and thus my argument was futile.

On my thought journey, I kept coming back to a few things, and the above photograph was one of them. I remember looking at that photo the day it came out (3 February, 2009), having just arrived back from Paris and European winter, and thinking, ‘this is exactly how I’d like to dress… if only it wasn’t 30 bloody degrees outside’. The glasses, sailor duffle coat, the blue blazer with gold buttons, fair isle crew neck sweater, light blue oxford shirt, cropped and cuffed pants, no socks.

But the outfit’s not the point. The point is, everybody is inspired by something. Even Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the students on the streets or the painters he loved. So don’t be so arrogant to think that everything you come up with is your own, and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others – so long as you make it your own.

My new flatmate Natalie just emailed me the above quote from Jim Jarmusch. That just about sums it up.


share on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter


  1. Anonymous says

    I’m glad you concluded with “so long as you make it your own.”

    There is a big difference between inspiration and imitation. And there is a very fine line between imitation and blantant copying.

    It concerns me that we have apparenlty developed an online culture where the majority of people think it’s perfectly acceptable to copy and re-distribute other people’s intellectual property (especially photographs and illustrations). More often than not this happens without the consent, or even acknowledgement, of the original artist.

  2. Kev says

    Who is Jim Jermusch and what makes his opinion the one to follow?

    I’m not saying I disagree, but I think that there are also some ‘pure imagination’ moments where nothing is being stolen but instead being creatively devised out of thin air.

  3. says

    Kev – he’s a fairly prominent and fairly pretentious film director.

    I think you’re right too – there have to be some moments when a purely original thought occurs. You’d hope right?

  4. says

    Concept & aesthetic.
    Chicken & egg.

    Very few people, from this generation especially, would be capable of pure thought due to how information saturated our lives have become. It depends on how you define ‘pure thought’, of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *