There is something special about firsts. There's the first time, and then there's every other time. Everything thereafter is some variation of the same that leaves little lasting memory.
And while each moment or thing may still be enjoyable or even somewhat memorable, they will all pale in comparison to the first.
It's true of fast cars, true of fine dining, true of fine wines and true of first dates. Rarely do the second, third and fourth experiences occupy the same mental real estate as the first…
Those of you who have held a finely crafted sartorial garment in your hands will recall the first time you did so. There is an extra appreciation for its sanctity at this moment as you admire the preciousness of the fibre, the fineness of the stitching and are palpably excited to wear it for the first time. So profound are these moments that they feel almost akin to when Neo first entered The Matrix.
Unfortunately, our predilection for first experiences has been borne out in an incessant need to reinvent the wheel - to appeal to our human desire for yet another 'first'. This paradigm touches every facet of modern life - we see it everywhere.
Eager to imprint upon us their work, writers, producers, and the director of James Bond could come up with no other solution than to abandon the legacy of Bond and kill him off in unprecedented fashion - etching this moment into our memories forevermore as the 'first' time this occurred. Similarly, BMW - in an effort to grab our attention - removed the iconic 'Hofmeister kink' from their new design language.
Exploiting our Infatuation With the First
Perhaps, though, the greatest exemplar of this 'first' paradigm is in fashion. Here, our fascination with the 'first' is exploited to the nth degree.
Alas, the circus of the fashion world, where the styles, agendas and ideas become more outlandish by the day - all because they are caught up in an endless competition for our attention. Historical significance, attention to craftsmanship and the underlying values of the brand are all abandoned in pursuit of our attention.
So absorbed in their mission of exploiting our infatuation with the first, the world's preeminent fashion houses have done irreparable damage to their DNA and legacy. More importantly, they have missed an opportunity to embark on a meaningful mission - to serve as custodians of culture and history. They have missed the opportunity to leverage their cultural and historical importance to capture and define the zeitgeist.
The Antidote to This Absurdity
It is indeed a sorry state of affairs. But despair not, gentlemen, for an antidote to the absurdity exists. It lies in an appreciation of timelessness. Being 'first' today is about being different. Adhering to timelessness, on the other hand, is about being better. It is about building upon the past and improving it.
It is not without reason that Michael Jondral's flagship brand, Cesare Attolini, attaches the slogan; ‘timeless elegance' to its brand.
They do so because they believe in the values of timelessness. The quality of craftsmanship underpins their brand, and they are in perpetual pursuit of improving this. They seek not to make clothes that are different but rather seek to make clothes that are better. For Attolini, being different is the byproduct of being better.
When it comes to clothing, the byproduct of being better is soul. Take a so-called 'luxury' handbag, for instance - too many are made of synthetic materials and are poorly pieced together. An Attolini suit, by contrast, is crafted from only the noblest materials and has been meticulously crafted by hand. Each stitch is ingrained with passion and generational expertise. Thus, it is defined by a palpable sense of soul.
To embrace something with soul shows that you harbour a specific set of values. It shows that not only are you discerning in taste, but that you care for craft, cherish historical significance and, most importantly, that you care for those who craft garments of beauty.
For without these artisans, creations of such beauty could not exist. Today's geopolitical landscape reminds us of just how integral upholding these values is and that now is the perfect time to speak and fight for your values - not just for clothing but for humanity.
Being Different is the Byproduct of Being Better
A man who embodied this concept and therefore inspired Michael Jondral's SS22 collection is Aristotle Onassis.
Aristotle excelled in both business and style, not because he was trying to be different, but because he sought to be better. He oozed business acumen, and he was always positively dripping in sartorial splendour. And because of this, his name has been etched into the annals of history.
So gentlemen, if you do anything this season, place less emphasis on the first experience - don't fuss over being different. Just be better…