Since the birth of fashion, generally agreed to be with King Louis XIV of France, it has been made for and admired by the elite. It’s a club for inter-mutual admiration. Massproduction, high street chains, blogs and social media has democratised fashion, but not enough for everyone to feel like they may take part, or even can part take.
Most designer collections are made for the fashion crowd, very skinny men and women who receive expensive, trendy fashion as gifts from designers to market the brand for them. After, only a small, rich percentage of the world’s population can buy the fashion.
No wonder people feel intimidated. I have previously dismissed friends who say “I don’t know anything about fashion”. But I’ve come to understand that fashion makes industry outsiders nervous. People should realise that fashion can bring joy, whether you’re one for looking beautiful or expressive.
Luckily, there are enthusiasts whose creativity and confidence is enough to make fashion happen. This is evident in up-and-coming fashion nations like South Africa, and on the streets of metropolitan cities like London. Here, some people explore their individual style, but for the masses fashion isn’t welcoming.
For a long time fashion’s exclusivity appealed to me, I liked that it wasn’t for the masses. The ‘those-who-know-know-mentality’ of high fashion, the competitiveness, that would prove that once you make it, you’re in and you’ve worked hard. But as a person whose on my way in to the industry and spend a big part of my day reading, thinking about, looking at and wearing fashion, I’ve come to realise that I want to share my work and joy with many people, not just a small club of fashion people.
I don’t want to share my work for likes and followers for personal gain. I just want people to enjoy fashion the way I do, and see its close interaction with all aspects of society: culture, economy, politics, technology and sociality. Not everyone has to care about fashion, but they should be aware.
When I write an article about fashion in a circular economy, I don’t expect all readers to finish wanting to wear rented Comme des Garçons every month. I hope readers will discover the circular economy concept, think about sustainability, or realise that designer fashion can be accessible, or open their eyes to an amazing start-up. The piece is written for readers to discover one or all of the above ideas. In terms of feedback on work, a comment is always more interesting than a like anyway.
During my life, I hope the fashion industry will open up, and that people will open their eyes to fashion. That’s what I aspire to achieve with my work in fashion.
It’s an exciting time to be in fashion, things happen everyday, and as a news junkie, that’s gold. There are new job opportunities, and opportunities to work with a mixed set of skills. Technology is giving media and publications new life. So what if print is less popular today? It’s better for the environment, and we can still create amazing things online (and there will always be nerds like me who buy print magazines).
Furthermore, the diversification of fashion and media is one of the most important things to happen in the last century. We’re finally seeing all types of races, genders, sizes, ethnicities, nationalities and religions represented in fashion. We have a LONG way to go, but things are happening. And those of you saying it’s a ‘trend’, work hard for it not be!
Recently my mum wondered, “Isn’t it strange that in fashion, such a quick-paced and young industry, that people in high positions (*Alexandra Shulman*) stay for so long?
It’s a fair thought, because people get dusty with age, look at Chanel, Vanity Fair and Vogue. In defence of long-time positions, I think people stay because of the industry’s competitive nature. Once you make it, you won’t let go. I also think that in an industry where ‘one day you’re in, the next day you’re out’ (Klum, H. 2004-present), the few people who remain in a position create stability.
However, things are changing rapidly as they should. Vogue UK with Enninful’s new team, is elevated – exciting even. I struggled to find a copy of the December issue as it was sold out in many places and I visit the website daily because of the good stories they publish. Living in the UK, I’m no longer annoyed when location services on my laptop automatically take me to the .co.uk domain. With pleasure!
Anna Wintour’s record tenure at Vogue US is truly unique. I’m not tired of her, the opposite, she’s growing in my eyes. Vogue.com is a go-to for fashion news and fashion week coverage. It’s not the most exciting when it comes to image making and cutting edge fashion, but there are other titles for that. Vogue’s expansion into politics is important, and, their ever growing curiosity for newer fashion weeks, e.g. Seoul and Tblisi is significant. I think Wintour becoming more available, featuring in Youtube videos and attending The Late Late Show with James Corden makes her appear slightly (just slightly) warmer. She has transitioned into the digital age well and taken her publication along to a stronger position.
As for Karl Lagerfeld, I would like him to retire. Partially because of his borderline fascist comments and undermining of Angela Merkel. He doesn’t represent a fresh outlook. Besides, he has nothing more to prove in terms of productivity and grandeur. I’m happy to leave his Chanel period with Grand Palais transformed into a waterfall. I want to see a younger designer at Chanel soon.
Demna Gvasalia and Balenciaga proved to the world that the young and less experienced can be a lucky draw. In addition, the streetwear revolution, with Virgil Abloh at the forefront, is placing fashion power into the hands of youth. Go to any fashion website, online store or magazine shop to see the amazing things coming from those directions.
To give you an example of inclusive fashion I would like to see more of, check out this i-D video about Gypsy Sport’s public fashion show on Place de la République in Paris.