357: Community?

1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

“Montreal’s Italian community”

synonyms: group, section, body, company, set, circle, clique, coterie, ring, band, faction; More

2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

“the sense of community that organized religion can provide”

I was trying to think of the trigger word for brands this year- being  basically unemployed for a while, selling quality t-shirts out of my Y-Reg Focus boot, I was struggling. Community suddenly springs to mind, every brand and most influencers are now about the community.

When I was looking for a job, Community Manager was one that popped up. Brands wanted to engage with the community, give back- document they had heart I guess. It maybe cynical and inevitable with youth programmes closing down all throughout my teenage years, someone had to step in and make some money… I mean help the community.

I remember being into nice clothes growing up, checking out The Hideout (Shout out Michael K) or that workwear shop on Endell Street (forgot the name) and buying some nice gear, some things never change. But I still hated shopping and would rather kick a ball around outside. We’d just hang out, sometimes up to no good, but all in good faith. Taking trips to central was done about 3 times a year max, plus being broke definitely played a part. Now we have a young generation where shopping is their way of hanging out. Which is fine or weird.

I started off with the definition of community. It seems the communities we have today still fit this meaning. However, instead of a social trait at the centre of it (not sure if that’s best word, but I never claimed to be a know it all), we see product or someone making money off it.

Quick one, a person has a platform, great. He/She decides to do something for the community where they throw a cool party or design a cool t-shirt and give donations to charity, sounds like a great start so far. Then you may even have a workshop for young talent. Brands dig it, so you do it again, and again. Now- brands have associated you as the people helping/speaking for the community, and now pump money into you- but the community you are collaborating with stays the same size or may even shrink depending on your success rate of getting free gear or lack of likes on Instagram.

To me that just doesn’t seem authentic, in terms of what society has led us to believe what community is. I’m not saying you have to work with every Tom, Dick (especially) or Harry. I just struggle to see how you can be about community but it stays the same size, the community involved doesn’t get bigger. Oh- and this is just an observation from the industry I just so happened to of ended up in; fashion/streetwear (hate that word).

Let’s end by going full circle and looking at the definition of community again. Scroll up and have a look. The more I read the meaning above, the more I see that what I’ve talked about prior with a hint of disappointment in what our communities have become, is exactly what a community is described as on the tin. Why would I think anything else from a society built on our values. – Damian Malontie