Taken out of context, this quote might give the impression that Elvis, one of our personal heroes here at DSNY, had it all figured out. As if he knew he was a bombastic, colorful entertainer right from the start and stayed true to that throughout his entire career. But let’s set the record straight. This quote only exists because Elvis and producer Steve Binder took a bold leap, going against the studio network's plan, and secretly created something Elvis desperately needed: the '68 Comeback Special. It marked his return to authenticity… and after countless years of letting others dictate his life and career, it was his triumphant comeback to rock 'n' roll. The performance was widely celebrated, hailed as "a spectacle of emotional grandeur and historical resonance." And to think the show was originally supposed to be a run-of-the-mill holiday special…
That's one of the many reasons why we hold Elvis in such high regard. He turned his setbacks into opportunities to break free from the mold and forge his own path. Take, for example, his first Vegas stint at the Frontier Hotel & Casino. Elvis bombed. His act received awkward, lukewarm applause from an unsure audience between every song. One writer said his show was "like a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party." Not the most flattering review, right? But without that challenging couple of weeks in Vegas, he would have never wandered the strip and heard Freddie Bell and the Bellboys performing a song called “Hound Dog.” Without "Hound Dog," who knows if he would have ever found his daring and controversial style? And without the confidence to be controversial and challenge the norm, who knows if he would have had the courage to use his voice for things like race equality and cultural inclusivity. See what we mean? Even the entertainment epicenter of the world, Las Vegas, wasn't quite ready for one of the greatest performers in history. But Elvis bided his time, kept true to himself, and allowed everyone else to catch up.
Here’s the thing: this sort of thinking isn’t just reserved for the greats. We are capable of it too, you know… of tearing down to rebuild. Of not changing who we are, but getting to know ourselves better. That might mean changing our name, our identity, and our values according to what resonates with us the most. At DSNY, we continue to shape and build ourselves and what we stand for… not in order to find “whatever works”, but rather to find what’s authentic. We’re steadfast on the pursuit of truth… whatever that may end up being.
For right now, that truth for us looks and feels a lot like entertainment and fashion focused on connecting people, not alienating them. We have a deep desire to share uplifting stories and people that promote the positive change we want to see in the world. Put simply, we believe that everyone could use a little more fun in their lives. So *raises glass* here’s to doing and failing. To the misfits and to finding ourselves again. Here’s to being ok if the world’s not quite ready for us. Here’s to breaking norms and paving your own path. Here’s to letting ourselves like things again. Here’s to taking what you know and making it your own. Here’s to enjoying the life you got, and changing it if you don’t quite yet.
Here’s to showing up as you are, with no reservations.