On Project Runway the statement was made “What we are selling is a dream, not a garment.” What strikes me about this is that the garments are symbols and components of the dream, and are added to the person. What if the person buys the garments in order to “be” who he senses inside that he is not? Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or of no consequence?
The statement has also been made that the garment makes the man (person). The Italians, I think, have a wise insight into clothing acquired to make oneself appear better than one really is. In an Italian village someone who is a no-one and who acts pretentiously is called a “cucuzza”… a squash, as in the saying “Dress it up anyway that you want, it’s still just squash!”
Without the development of our interior life, we are just squash. Add as many colors as you like, add as many layers as you like, but a life lived with a heavy emphasis on clothing and accessories leaves us little better than… well, cucuzza. Please remember that this critique of fashion is coming from a monk, so my dour view of it should not be such a surprise.
On the other hand, we all should have a dream, an inspiration which gives direction to our unfolding life. The question becomes: What is the quality of the life produced by that dream? Is it one of depth and fullness, or is it one of shallowness, as is implied by the word “cucuzza”?
I am not advocating that we should all walk around in tatters looking like madmen. I am not saying that nice-looking clothing has no place in life. But I am saying that the dream that we embrace should be one that fosters growth on the interior even while prettifying the exterior so that others don’t run from us in terror.
Do you have a dream or direction for your life? Does that dream require of you dedication and effort? Is your dream solely about you, or does it somehow give birth to life in others? Have you ever seriously asked yourself, when buying that new shirt, dress, or pants: Am I only a pretty cucuzza?