"If you don't like fashion magazines, don't buy them. Don't buy them and then bitch about them."- Cindy Crawford
The article outlines why the writer has been forever plagued by the ridiculously high expectations of the fashion industry and it's ever changing trends. It ostracizes fashion wholly as an industry and waxes eloquent about the uselessness of fashion media and the talentless-ness of designers.
Everything about that article is what I detest about people who know nothing of fashion and choose to believe that what Hayden Penetierre wore to the Golden Globes or what Jenifer Lopez stocks her closet with is the crux of the idea of style. Never mind that the people who spend hours at nondescript thrift or vintage stores, trying to find something unique, something that screams their name when worn. Fashion, as a way to express your individuality may not be what you see translated into the consumerism of Topshop and Selfridges but for many of us, it's an art form that we swear by. That inspires us and makes us want to spend hours dissecting Rodarte's inspiration of Japanese horror movies in making cardigans and Balenciaga's novel idea of lego shoes!
Yes, admittedly, there is a shallow, superficial side to fashion but as Robin Givhan once said, fashion isn't innately superficial, the way it is portrayed is.
And why just fashion? Doesn't Vodafone tell you to snag the latest phone minutes contract, LG urges you to buy a new flatscreen, Peugot wants you to purchase a new car, Fox tells you that this particular movie is a must watch, Penguin wants you to read the work of a best seller and you're obligated to do so, just to sound relevant and informed, The Pussycat Dolls want you to buy their new album, food critics want you to buy some kind of lettuce and another kind of grapes and the list is endless! The fact remains that the fashion industry has always been an easy target because, at the end of the day, the overriding fact remains that fashion is what you make of it.
If YOU choose to be influenced so deeply by advertisements of Coco Rocha in Chanel sequined hot pants and then brood that you don't have endless giraffe legs or such a captivating face, then that just goes to show your weakness of character and hidden insecurities.
Go to Paris and Madrid and Tokyo and New Delhi, even and see the men and women who take out time from their busy schedules to put together a creative outfit! Who's accesssorizing is so individualistic, you know them slightly just by seeing what they wear! They're real people; people with jobs, school, colleges, parents, children, siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, grandparents, pets, hopes, wishes and dreams. To say that fashion is only for the frivolous is outright disrespecting people who take it as a true art form and to those who's bread and butter comes from it.
Fashion, much like everything else, really is up to YOU. Indulge or don't, love it or hate it, ignore it or don't, enjoy it or don't. But don't generalize and say that everybody who believes in fashion as a cause, is heading towards their own execution and is thoroughly unhappy inside. I'm a US size 2 and only 5 feet 4 inches. I am, by no means, the "ideal" height or even size to an extent that a multitude of digitally modified fashion magazines depict. But it doesn't bother me. I will still obsessively worship Lacroix and McQueen and I will still wear tartan with plaid and look like an idiot but you can't change that. And you can't influence it and you can't make me feel any less capable of having a smart conversation.
It's sad that Tania, who is a good writer but is completely misguiding the hundreds who read her column, is continuing to reiterate the tired old myth that fashion is for the stupid and intellectually devoid. I have friends who are physics majors and still love Haider Ackerman! I am interested in art history and love Tolstoy (R.I.P Daul Kim) but fashion is, and will remain, a passion. I want to work in the industry someday. I have hopes and dreams and wishes. Something the Tanias of the world cannot take away from me.
"Fashion is, perhaps by necessity, in a world of its own – one that only rarely overlaps with anything resembling real life. This fantasy and exoticism is part of its appeal, of course."- Vince Aletti
To people such as her, I say: Go read some Robin Givhan, some Suzy Menkes, some Cathy Horyn and more recently, even some Tavi Gevinson. Watch a Gareth Pugh and Rad Hourani show. Read Pigeons and Peacocks and i-D and V and Pop. See the work Avedon did not solely for the fashion industry, but for photography as an art. How he introduced movement into still life! Buy a pair of Louboutins. Read about Coco Chanel's feminist advent of breaking into an otherwise male dominated industry. Read about the Mulleavy sisters' completely unglamorous background. And if you still think that fashion is for the brainless, then you are just that and more.
And since when did style and feeling good about yourselves and fashion become about appealing to a guy or a girl? If that's what you think fashion is all about, then I suggest you don't judge the book by it's cover. This may seem a bit simplistic but it's the glaring truth.
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn."- Gore Vidal
I read a comment somewhere that said-
"Fashion is teated too much as news, rather than what it is, what it does and how it performs."- Geoffrey Beene
I find it pretty silly that the very same people who talk about fashion being a consumerist evil, designed to bring people to their knees, broke and insecure are the ones who refuse to understand fashion in it's more alternative forms. To invalidate the work of Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Rei K, Yohji Y, and suchlike is to insult their undeniable artistic talent.
I was born into the century in which novels lost their stories, poems their rhymes, paintings their form, and music its beauty, but that does not mean I have to like that trend or go along with it. - Pat Conroy
Nobody who spent a truckload on a Botticelli or a Monet would be deemed stupid, but someone who does so on a Chanel or YSL piece is undeniably so?
Let's take a more common, everyday example. Lots spend thousands on "season tickets" for sports. But if I spend the same amount on shoes, then I am frivolous and materialistic.
This ideology that everyone interested in fashion is doing the designers' bidding of the season is exactly the kind of inverse snobbery that pisses the hell out of me. Everyone has some form of fashion incorporated in their lives. Heck, Meryl Streep as the icy editor in chief of Devil Wears Prada (entertaining movie but totally misguiding, again) summed it just about right:
"This...stuff? Oh, so you think this has nothing to do with you? You...you, go to your closet and pick out, let's say that lumpy blue sweater because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know that that blue is not just blue, it's not turquoise or lapis, it is in fact cerulean. You are also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn't it, who did cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry, when, in fact you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you from the people in this very room. From a pile of...stuff."
People who wear combats when clogs are the "it" shoes and carry pale pink bags when studs are all the rage represent the radical chic, truly interesting side of fashion that these people are sadly, unaware of.
I also noticed, after going through some of Tania's archives for the Guardian, that she has declared a war of sorts on...beautiful people? Don't hate because you're insecure!
And the masses of chick lit books produced everyday may come across as hideous to many, but you don't see people running around screaming "OMG literature is the root of all that is wrong with the world!".
It's insane that people continue to say that consumerist fashion is worse than other commercial capitalist industry.
It's hugely unfeminist to condemn something that has helped women across the world take massive strides in society, as well.
Another interesting comment: