What we can learn from Karl Lagerfeld

When news broke last week of the sad passing of Karl Lagerfeld, his death reverberated throughout the fashion world and beyond. And yet, his legacy will continue to shine. Creative Director of French fashion house, Chanel – a position he held for over 35 years – together with Fendi and his own eponymous fashion label, Lagerfeld was revered for so much more.

For his distinctive appearance – a long white pony tail, starched high-collared shirt paired with a big black tie and fingerless gloves – his Birman cat, Choupette, and his, at times, rather controversial comments.

While some of these touched on his work ethic or the fashion industry, he acquired many enemies for his lack of political correctness and steadfastness when it came to more provocative subjects – from the #metoo movement to body image. However, many other comments – whether said in passing or with more thought – could be considered more insightful. 

“Personality begins where comparison ends”

A simple statement, yet one that sticks with me. Not only is it extremely topical, but it is far-reaching and thought-provoking. It is one that everyone should learn to follow – from teenagers to the middle-aged, men and women. Perhaps Lagerfeld himself intended it more for those working in the highly pressurised and competitive industry of fashion, but it can just as easily be attributed to all walks of life.

Especially in a world now dominated by social media, comparison really has become the thief of joy. If we spend all our time comparing our lives – both daily and more long-term – to that of others, we will never get anything done. We will never really be content or satisfied.

From where we are in our careers, to salaries and friendships, or even what’s currently hanging in our wardrobes, it’s so important to remember that everyone is different. Everyone has their own pace. It’s all too easy to be hard on ourselves, but only by being yourself and not comparing your life to that of friends or strangers, can your true self and personality shine through.

Photo credit: Karl Lagerfeld