Recently the word “rebrand” has been popping up everywhere. In 2014 alone we saw Visa, Airbnb, PayPal, Marriott, American Airlines, Reebok, and even The Oscars rebrand their images. Some might wonder why all of these brands felt the need to change their images when none of them faced any significantly bad press or negative circumstances that might prompt an image overhaul, but rebranding doesn’t always mean fixing something that is bad. Rebranding can simply come as a result of a company wanting to update their old look and enter into a newer, better version of themselves. This leads me to the question I want to ask all of you: As you prepare to enter into a new school, environment and chapter of life, do you want to rebrand yourself?
Throughout my grade school years I constantly found myself submitting to the fashion habits of my peers. In elementary school I only wanted clothes from Limited Too and then it switched to Abercrombie and Hollister in middle school. High school offered a few more options as large department stores like Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford seemed to be the “it” places to shop, but still there wasn’t much room for individualism. My high school’s monotonous fashion sense meant that it wasn’t uncommon to show up to school in the same outfit as someone else, which always prompted a fashion emergency. In all honesty, it was tiring to follow these seemingly dead set rules that guided my fashion choices while still trying to have some sort of personal distinction and as I got closer and closer to graduation, my longing to breakout of my high school’s clothing bubble grew. I knew that the day I set foot on my university’s campus was the day that I was going to create a new and improved me, the me I had previously been too scared to be.
Creating my new fashion persona wasn’t as easy as I had hoped because, let’s be real, acquiring an entirely new wardrobe comes at a cost and, after footing the bill for my university tuition, my parents weren’t overly keen on taking me for a shopping spree. But I figured out one way to make it work. As I packed for school I ripped apart my entire closet and created three piles: pack, sell, and donate. I placed all of the pieces I wanted to keep into my various suitcases while I put the clothes I felt didn’t suit my actual fashion preferences into either the “sell” or “donate” pile. I knew that I could get a bit of money for some of my clothes from resale shops, while other’s didn’t have much value but I knew would benefit those in need. Normally I would have opted to donate all of my unwanted clothes, but in this instance it was different because I planned to use the money I earned from the resale shops to start to put together my new wardrobe. The other unexpected benefit of this process was that I ended up only bringing two suitcases to school with me while other students showed up with what I assume was every piece of luggage in their house. When I arrived at my new school in Boston I was able to start forming a strong wardrobe that I felt really reflected who I really was as a person. The most refreshing part of it was that I no longer felt pressured to shop at certain stores because the stores I had grown up with weren’t even in Boston and there were loads of different options. Everywhere I shopped was new to me and with that I was able to rebrand myself in a completely fresh way.
I encourage all of you who aren’t completely confident in your current style to branch out in your new life at university just like I did. Take some risks and buy a few pieces of clothing that you aren’t sure about, but caught your eye for some reason. Release any fear that someone might judge you or think you are weird because of something that you are wearing. People aren’t like that in college and you’ll probably find that when you put on that piece of clothing you would have been too scared to wear in high school, someone will come up to you and compliment it or ask where you got it. Rebrand yourself however you want because I promise you, just like any company who rebrands itself and regardless of how big or small the change is it will only help you grow and take a few steps closer to becoming your true self.