I was recently chatting to a Fashion Friend of mine (Fashion Friend = friend who works in fashion/ is obsessed with fashion/ lives on two minute noodles due to the fact that they are flat broke. Because fashion) so my FF mentioned to me that she often feels compelled to justify her life choices, namely her career choices, to friends and family because said career is in fashion. To make matters worse her younger brother is about to commence study for his PhD and her older sister is a practicing psychologist who had graduated with honours. This situation would make anyone feel slightly inferior but, like my dear FF, I’ve found that no matter who you’re speaking to, if the career path you’ve chosen is anything fashion related you had better bloody prepare yourself for a lifetime of justifying your life choices.
You see there is an unshakeable stigma that the fashion industry is a superficial beast and that its army of “fashionistas” are all shallow, unintelligent fashion zombies. (By the way we hate the word fashionista. Please stop calling us that.)
Now, when you often stumble across articles like this gem from Vogue,
it is very easy to see why the greater population would think the fashion world is ludicrous and dense. Let me just clarify, I am the first person to defend all that is Vogue because Vogue = life, but really? Selena’s ‘risk-taking’ nails? (Spoiler alert, she painted her nails coral. CORAL you guys! Calm down Gomez, you reckless floozy.) Articles like these even make me roll my eyes and question my life choices. And choice of nail colour, but don’t hold that against me..
The industry itself, shallow as it may seem, is an absolutely integral industry all over the world. According to fashionunited.com the domestic market value of the Australian fashion industry is $28.5 billion AUD. That’s right, I said BILLION. Now I may just be a mere fashion zombie but I’m pretty sure that is a heck of a lot of mullah. And the humble workers of the industry are actually some of the most intelligent and savvy business people you will ever come across. To be able to stay at the top of your game in an industry that is so face-paced and ever changing is a feat in itself, and you have to be a clever cookie to survive. And have a bloody thick skin. Like alligator thick. You don’t want to mess with those head honchos, trust me.
Regardless of all of this quantifiable information I have found that no matter what the statistics are, no matter how intelligent you are, or how alligator thick your skin is, you are always going to be met with the eye rolls, snide comments and questions about your career choices if you’re part of the fashion world.
I want to shake that stigma from our industry. I don’t want anyone to feel that just because we aren’t chemical engineers or ER doctors that our hard work and sleepless nights are inadequate. I want the rest of the world to realise that just because we are interested in fashion, does not mean that our intelligence is compromised.
A quote I found from an amazing article by Katie Werlin of The Fashion Historian sums it up perfectly; “My argument is to fight that stigma. A little girl can be interested in fashion and expressing an identity through clothing and still be intelligent and worldly. I say instead of fighting fashion, fight a system that labels fashion as shallow and dumb. Teach the next generation to value more than appearance, but don’t devalue an interest in appearance altogether.”
Read her full article on the subject here.
Just incase you need any more convincing that fashion can equal smarts; here is a list of supermodels that also happen to have degrees:
(Or, just incase you want to look at pictures of supermodels.. I’m not here to judge..)
Enjoy lovers xx