Playing The Game: The Power of Sensational Language

Playing The Game: The Power of Sensational Language - Prickly Thistle

“Petition to rename ‘outfit repeating’… wearing clothes”

This wee tweet from Maxine Bedat, Director of The New Standard Institute immediately made us think of our recent Instagram Reel posts – the ones about our ‘Pro Outfit-Repeating Challenge’ – where staff members wore a piece of Prickly every day for a month to promote #buylesslovemore and break down the stigma attached to re-wearing clothes.

It made us reflect on the power of language, and how the way things are framed has a hugely significant influence on the audience’s digestion and contextualisation of the content. By placing great emphasis on ‘Outfit Repeating’ and ‘Pro Outfit-Repeating’, we realised we were sensationalising a very basic concept.

We are simply telling people to wear clothes. That is all. Yet we felt it was necessary to frame it as this ground-breaking concept. The same can be said for so much of the dialogue put out there about sustainable living. The question is why?

Well as a small clothing brand, we can speak from experience that it is extremely difficult to get people to change their fashion habits. One reason is the sheer magnitude of what we are up against - we are a small boat in a gigantic roaring ocean, where big corporate fashion brands are relentless tidal waves.

Yes, it is just as simple as 'wearing clothes', but attention is hard to grab. To get through to folk in the middle of the storm, ethically focused brands feel pressure to dress up simple messages in ways that make them seem more spectacular… more sensational… because when you talk the same language as the capitalist marketers, people are more responsive to it. It is a matter of playing the game but for a very different outcome compared to our profit-driven competitors. For us it is life or death.

Today we have learned a bit more about how to reclaim that power, and not be so quick to sensationalise, and so we have gone back to those Instagram reels and changed the language in them. Instead of our team members “taking up the challenge” and becoming “Pro Outfit-Repeaters”, they now talk of embracing clothes for what they were made for… to be worn. They are like houses… best when lived in and loved. It’s that simple.

So thank you Maxine for igniting our critical thinking

Love Clare and the Team


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