Self-expression | How do you do it?

Self-expression. What exactly does this mean? Why is it important? And how do you actually do it? You can think of self-expression as expressing your personality in an authentic way. For example, by dancing, writing, wearing certain clothes, or following a specific diet. It reflects what you care about and feel good about. It is your authenticity. But how do you find your own unique blend of self-expression? We talked about it with Portuguese fashion designer Joana Figuieredo of antique c'est chic, and also wrote down some tips for you.  

The importance of self-expression  

In today's society, there are many expectations and standards that might confuse you. As a result, it is not always easy to feel what is important to you. Along with the continuous flow of information from our devices, it can be even more complicated to express yourself in an authentic way. But when you find your own unique blend of self-expression, it can be a liberating and positive experience.  

Being yourself: this is how Joana Figuieredo does it  

We spoke to Joana Figuieredo in Lisbon about how she has found and holds her self-expression in her daily life. Joana is a fashion designer and owner of clothing shop antique c'est chic in Lisbon. 

Joana has been working on her own self-expression from an early age. She has always felt comfortable being herself, regardless of what others thought of it. Her clothing style clearly reflects what she feels comfortable with. Joana: "I always dress in a tomboyish way in black oversized clothes, I like to use colours in a design, but I don't wear colour myself."  

A clear thread of her personality can also be found in Joana's work as a fashion designer. Her designs are therefore an important part of her self-expression. "The clothes I make are a reflection of both my personality and my values. They represent a duality between the masculine and feminine. Complex, but also simple. And made in the most sustainable way possible; from second-hand and vintage menswear." says Joana.  

Self-expression also appears to play an important role in her daily activities. Besides her love for non-fiction books and magazines, she also talks about the importance of her personal lifestyle. Indeed, by following a vegan diet, she hopes to create a better world little by little. Joana: "Veganism is a big part of who I am. My favourite hobby is to recreate my friends' popular dishes in a plant based way. It's my way of showing my love for them and for animals." In addition, Joana adds, "Human rights are also something I stand up for. I have two children, and the most important thing for me is to raise them to be loving people for the world and the people around them."  

Finally, Joana talks about her unique way of meditating. This happens during the design process: "I never know what the finalgarment is going to be. I find the whole process of silently draping clothes on my mannequins incredibly fulfilling. That's how I really unwind. That's my meditation."   

Joana's inspiring story speaks well to the theme of self-expression: after all, it can be practised in an infinite number of ways. Self-expression is always unique. What matters is that you find authentic ways to which you can connect your personality and important values with.    

Self-expression in steps    

Self-expression is a fundamental part of living an authentic life. By expressing yourself, you can share your emotions, thoughts, and ideas with others and express your personality. But it can be difficult to find your unique way of self-expression if you have not been aware of this before. It is therefore smart to start working step by step and most importantly: have fun in process.     

Slow down: In our fast-paced and rushed world, it is important to stop and slow down. Slowing down allows you to give yourself space to reflect on who you are, what you care about and what you want to express. This can help you find your own unique way of self-expression and get more in touch with yourself. Slow down, for example, by blocking weekly time for yourself in your diary. Above all, let go of the idea of having to do something at that time. Go to a yoga class, take a long walk, or read a book - but only if you feel like it.  

Experiment: Another way to discover your own authenticity is to experiment with different forms of self-expression. This could be anything. From painting to learning a foreign language, to trying out new sports or dances. It's about trying new things and discovering what works for you. Remember, it is good to step out of your comfort zone and there is no such thing as a wrong choice. After all, you learn something new from every experiment. Let it be an adventure. 

Writing: Write down your thoughts, feelings and ideas on a daily basis in a journal. This can help you gain more insight into who you are. If you monitor this for yourself for several weeks, you will get clarity on what is important to you.  

Going out solo: There is nothing more educational than going out alone and exploring the world. Discovering new cultures and styles of music, or meeting people outside your own circle of friends. It can just be a big eye-opener for yourself. It can be quite confronting, but also liberating. Solo travel can definitely contribute to getting to know yourself better and discovering your own unique way of self-expression. And do you find it a bit daunting? Then start with a weekend away in a city you already know. Visit a museum, go to the cinema or find a nice café where you can relax with a book.  

Take your time  

 It is important to take your time with this process. Finding your own unique way of self-expression can be challenging, but it is one hundred per cent worth it. After all, by doing so, you are giving yourself the opportunity to live a more authentic life. Also, it is additionally important to remember that finding your self-expression is a personal journey. It is not a bad thing to make mistakes. Instead, it is very important to experiment and learn about what does and does not work for you. Self-expression is a process of discovery and growth, and it is okay to stumble from time to time. The important thing is to stay true to yourself and keep looking for ways to express your unique voice. You’ve got this!