Enter the anti-brand!

Stuff! We’re surrounded by so much stuff! We’ve gained it, bought it, stashed it and now we’re stuck with it. It’s time for a change.

“Less is more” is an idea that fits in with eco-friendly lifestyles, focusing on minimising waste and only buying what you really need. For shopaholics and fashion lovers out there, though, it’s not always an easy mantra to follow.

But Ben Davis has a cool idea that’s sure to motivate you. As the founder of JoinLess, the world’s first open source brand, Davis developed a symbolic movement to remind people that less is more. The cool thing about his trademark (<) is that anyone is allowed to use it on anything they want. JoinLess reminds us that we don’t need a lot to be happy. This brand is owned by no one and the hope is that its symbol will become internationally recognised and adopted as a sign for those who are focused on sustainability.

It might seem a little strange to think of a brand that’s motivating you not to buy anything, but it’s a powerful idea focused on three principles:

  1. Minimal beauty. Set your sights on having less things and you will be surrounded by things that possess real beauty and significance. You’ll be surprised by how much you can do with a lot less than you think!
  2. Less is more. When you consume less, you can gain more time, money and energy. These resources can be placed on others so that you start living a life of purpose.
  3. No money changes hands! “Items marked with (<) are never to be bought or sold. (<) seeks to transcend the power and limits of money in solving the problem of over-consumption,” it states on the JoinLess website.

Slap on the symbol

You can use the trademark on anything to remind to you use less, and it might come in handy in specific areas of your house, such as your closet where many of us are prone to stashing away clothing and accessories that cost a lot and never see the light of day. Every time you see that (<) symbol, you’ll be reminded that you should focus on having fewer items that really mean something instead of lots of clutter that causes waste while requiring a lot of energy, space and money in the process.

Stop the spending

In an interview with ecouterre.com, Ben Davis stated that buying things provides a rush of happiness, however it quickly fades. Although we’re addicted to that rush, the excess of things in our lives is really a sad reminder that we’re addicted to momentary happiness. So how does one get the (<) message across, in a world that is filled with money-making advertisements? With the guise of a brand, Davis tells ecouterre.com. “Our (<) tribe, united around shared beliefs, is inherently more powerful than the false tribes that are cleverly duped out of their money by savvy marketers,” he states.

Wardrobe wipe-out

So jump on the bandwagon and use (<). When it comes to your fashion closet, make “less is more” your fashion motto. You might worry if having less means that your style and fashion will take a backseat, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Rather, you will be fine-tuning your image and paying more conscious thought into what you own and how you present yourself to the world.

Clinch the capsule

You don’t need a large amount of clothing in order to look your best. What makes a prized wardrobe is a capsule closet: having items that you can mix ‘n match; items that can be combined for the best effect. Start with basics, such as a crisp white shirt, a pair of black jeans, well-fitting and asset-flaunting jeans, a sexy little black dress that never goes out of style, and so on.

More of what you need

Take your lifestyle and likes into consideration. Don’t splurge on a flashy dress that you know is not your style and will just collect dust in your closet. Don’t splurge on a brand item that you know can’t be justified because it’s that expensive. Ask yourself “Do I really need this?” when you go shopping and answer truthfully, instead of being swayed by your emotions. In a survey on female economic behaviour and the emotion regulatory role of spending (published on www.sheconomics.com), Professor Karen J Pine from the University of Hertfordshire found that 79% women agreed that they shop when they need cheering up. You might feel good now, but later you’ll be stuck with a lot of clutter that you don’t like one bit. Talk about a low!

Go back to what you have

Often we forget what we already own in our wardrobes, and instead we end up looking externally for something great to wear. It’s time to go back to your closet and slowly work your way through your belongings. There are probably treasures lurking there that you have forgotten about. Chances are you will see that you already have stunning things and don’t need to go out and buy more. If there are some items that you like but they don’t fit well, rather get them tailored instead of replacing them with new stuff.

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