Clothing as a Catalyst for New Friendships


The other day I had a realization. It was at Whole Foods in Berkeley (probably not an uncommon occurrence). I was having my lunch outside in the eating area, and I see an older man walk up to a couple who was sitting at a table. The older man noticed the guy's T-shirt which was of a baseball team championship (I don't recall the team's name, pardon my non-sports nerd memory fail) and went right up to him and started right in excitedly talking loudly about one of the MVP's extreme batting performance in one of the games. "He knocked it all the way out of the park!!" They both smiled and became highly animated with joy when they talked about the team and the player. 

Ten minutes in, they exchanged names and shook hands, smiling and ended with, "See you around!." Ah ha, instant friendship made based on a common passion and interest.

Being the over analyzer that I am, I couldn't help but read deep meaning into this very common everyday event that happened right before my eyes. The fact is, those two men never would have met if it hadn't been for that T-shirt!

Sparking new social connections can be a challenge, especially as you get older.  How often do most of us spark up conversations with random strangers? It helps tremendously to break the ice to have something to talk about. This is where what we wear can really make all the difference. It is the first thing people see, and communicates a social message about how we view ourselves: the role we play, what we value, how we wish to appear and be known. Our clothes speak before we do. Once I started thinking about it, I realized there have been so many instances in my life where I've met interesting people based solely on a "fashion introduction".

This is one of the main reasons I believe so strongly in making efforts to wear your passions on the outside. If you're a person who really loves science, or anything for that matter, why not show that to the world?

This is truly the power of dress: it can be the sole catalyst for creating meaningful, lasting relationships.

These relationships are almost always started based on sharing common interests, hence why going to themed events and conventions is a fantastic way to meet people. You know that the attendees are most certainly fans of the same thing you are- instant social filtering! Since there aren't always events or conventions going on, wearing easily recognizable themed-clothing related to our interests can serve as a social attractant. 

The irony to me is that "fashion" is seen as being nothing but "shallow and superficial"- but I think we have this all wrong.

If what we wear can be that one reason for introducing us to a very special person in our lives who loves the same things we do, it is in fact truly something worth putting in some effort?

Have you ever had an experience where you've met someone because of what you're wearing? Comments much appreciated :)







Holly R
Holly R


Holly is the founder of Shenova Fashion. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA she now runs her studio in the San Francisco Bay Area where she combines her passion for the STEM fields and making clothes.

1 Response

Anna Hall
Anna Hall

October 05, 2015

Holly, I knew your mother years ago. Our mutual friend is Thea Minske. I love your STEM themed fashions. I have had that experience of meeting someone because of their theme oriented clothing and I have been delighted and surprised. I recently saw a t-shirt with the periodic table excerpt of “ah”: the element of surprise. This weeks Christian Science Monitor has an article about logo t-shirts you might find amusing. Thanks for your stimulating clothes. Hello to Bonnie.

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