“People get happy from the shirts I wear”

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We live in a time when clothing is becoming more personal. People are less willing to adapt to dress codes and even dress codes at work are also becoming increasingly flexible. The reason is a desire to remain true to ourselves. Ignar Rip, an international trainer in the field of music happiness, has a unique take on this. He sees clothing as a way of making those around him happy. I spoke to him about his work, way of thinking, and choice of clothing.

“People get happy from the shirts I wear”
Photos: private archive

Ignar, you are a music happiness trainer. What exactly does that mean?

“For years I took care of my mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. I noticed that I could reach her through music. That led me to delve deeper into this topic.

I am now an expert and trainer in the field of music happiness. Through my training and lectures, I teach people how music can contribute to feelings of happiness and also ease suffering. This training is for anyone who cares for someone with dementia, both informal carers, and professional carers, such as care institutions or university hospitals. I work in the Netherlands, Belgium, and England. ”

 

During your training sessions, you regularly wear striking shirts. How did that come about?

“I was never into this style of shirt. I always liked blue shirts with a stripe, neater, more formal clothing. One day I wandered into the Wolff Blitz store in Rotterdam. They sell shirts with striking prints. For a laugh, I tried on a shirt with pink flamingos, took a photo, and posted it on Twitter. I immediately received positive reactions, so I bought it. Even though it is not my taste at all.

 

“People get happy from the shirts I wear”
Photos: private archive

Then, in the summer of 2018, I made a video for AXchat, an organization dedicated to people with disabilities. Before the recording, they asked me if I wanted to wear the flamingo shirt in it. I thought why not! As the print is so striking, I had the idea to incorporate my shirt in the story I was telling. So, the video was about flamingos and how they can be an example of how to deal with a disability.

Next, I gave a training in England and afterward a lady gifted me a shirt with a sunflower design. Very sweet of her, she said I reminded her of sunflowers because I am so happy. I shared photos of the shirt on social media and the people organizing my next presentation asked if I would wear it. They thought it was such a cheerful shirt and were also very fond of sunflowers. That’s what got the ball rolling… ”

“People get happy from the shirts I wear”
Photos: Ruben Keestra

So from that moment on you started wearing more shirts with striking prints?

“Oh yeah. I now have several Wolff Blitz shirts hanging in my closet. They are all very cheerful: with flowers, musical instruments or birds. Plus, they are a great fit with high-quality fabric. Although it is not my personal taste, I love to wear them. Because I notice that it makes others happy. They really give people a boost. So why shouldn’t I wear them?

That is also what my work is about: how can you make others happy? It is not always about the big things, but often the simple things in life. Like a bright, cheerful shirt. ”

This interview was conducted before the Corona outbreak.

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