*Dosage may vary.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, the fashion industry beat Taylor Swift to it: it had a reputation. And a fairly snafu one at that. One that left fashion students murmuring their subject choice when asked what degree they’re studying. One that left it an impossible mission of explaining to relatives “yes, I work in fashion, but no, I’m not a designer. And no, I’m not a model either.” And one that tainted our self esteem to the point of us wearing the most outgoing thing our wardrobes have to offer yet simultaneously fixating our gazes along the pavement as we walk. In an industry of creative energy and intense passion, we’ve been riffled with the notion that we should be embarrassed by our involvement. That it’s nothing but narcissism and superficiality.
The superficiality of fashion partly resolves around the construction of it being a predominantly femme-accepting interest. It becomes a trivialised subject from the sheer stereotype that women enjoy and consume in more fashion than men - something we only assume because we like to oppress women’s intelligence and fashion’s already been dubbed as child’s play, right? Although every industry has ideals that attach jobs to be inferred as either masculine or feminine, the frustration around fashion being trivialised because of it’s female-dominated attraction is that the industry is ruled and dictated by men. So it’s women’s fault the industry has a reputation of superficiality yet we’re still contained under a vomit-worthy hierarchal system that runs off headstrong masculine power.
But maybe we’re finally ready to shake off the vanity-fuelled reputation of the industry and lead fashion into a new dimension. In the week following the release of Edward Enninful’s iconic first issue for British Vogue hitting the newsstands, the waves of celebration haven’t been limited to the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief’s debut, they've circulated a buzz that teases a new era for fashion, period. The last 18 months (at least) have been soaked in frantic unease towards the industry’s future. The reconstruction of society as a result of social media has left us with shocking departures, consumerism overload, every other person donned an “influencer” and a general distaste for the remains (or ruins) of the industry. From a build up of excessive morality debates and a cultural landscape that could be considered a dystopia, enough is enough. We are bored of being overthrown with the unpredictability of tomorrow’s face of fashion and are reclaiming our industry. We’ve learnt to get on with our shit and face the questions with a light rather than a shovel. We’re looking for something deeper and more meaningful than ever before; we’re ready to send curveballs to anyone that tries to deny our united power. We are here to celebrate fashion.
I have met some of the most courageous, intelligent and fascinating individuals through a mutual fidelity to fashion. I continue in awe of the infinite opportunity for academia exploration and the sempiternal depth it brings to our cultural understanding of the world we live in. It can be a way of fathoming who we are and who we will be and it can tantalise what governs our daydreams. On the surface, the gist of fashion revolves around what you look like, but underneath, it’s so so much more. It’s a lens of psychology and a language to be reckoned with.
If you've ever felt a little lost or alone, fashion will truly grab you by your inner goddess and shake you into a new dimension of consciousness. If you've ever felt unsure of who you are, fashion will guide you on a path of understanding what identity truly means; behind all the makeup and dress up. Where people may disappear and disappoint, the catwalk will be there, season after season; a sanctuary you can forever count on to direct your feelings and attention towards. I've fallen in and out of love with fashion more times than I'd often like to admit, but there's beauty in that. Fashion is always changing but the heart of it remains the same. In a world of unrest and an uncomfortable ease around fashion's rightful place, all it needs is your faith and for you to take a taste whenever you need a little medicine.
Because you see, we in the fashion industry are stronger and tougher than our faux-fur-cushioned skin looks. To be daring in style is the concoction of a brave mind. The medicinal value of fashion and it’s powers of shaking you into life can often be silenced through the attention it itself can bring you. The stares and the comments and the onslaught of attention in dressing creatively when your mental health is dwindling is a whole new ball game to strength. Where self-esteem falls short, your presentation becomes vital to your sense of expression and showing the world how you want to feel when you can't. There’s no surprise that there’s correlation between creativity and those with mental health problems. It’s a downfall but it’s also what gives us potency to rise from the ashes.
The truth is, everything is fashion. Until the day that we as a collective human race overcome consumerism (aka, never), fashion will be omnipresent. It’s inescapable. And the more you try to hide from it or insist it’s a place for uneducated and unintelligent little girls, the harder you’ll fall when your wife wants Vera over your Wang.