Saturday, April 30, 2016

394: Fashion Sense...equal importance on both words

As published on LinkedIn

A friend of mine is a freelance journalist. She is astute, articulate, and fearless. She has been to the interiors of Maharashtra and Gujurat by herself to cover stories. In crowded places, she has taken a stance that is unpopular with the mob. In short, she has a spine and is not afraid to use it. Incidentally, she also dresses up fancy and covers fashion weeks.

And when she dresses nicely, in sharp, tailored clothes, she's seen as fluff. "Fashion journalist?", she gets asked. "Journalist", she replies.

I am not a journalist. However, I have written fashion-related articles, content for luxury websites, and really, really liked Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir "Eat, Pray, Love." So, I am that chick - you know, the kind who will not know math or understand how to change a gas cylinder and stuff like that. (All correct estimations in my case, by the way.) The corollary then, is that anyone interested in fashion is a bit flaky and unsubstantial.

My journalist friend was once telling me how fashion may be looked down on because it's a woman thing, even though it's a proper bona fide industry, with proper bona fide industry problems. Implications of textile being available, implications of markets and labour being wiped out, implications of new technology changing consumer behaviour - all of these are serious aspects. But the same issues in an automobile industry is seen as more important than if confronted in a fashion industry. Could gender stereotyping play a part?

Usually, fashion is seen to be superficial and facile. Unnecessary. A distraction for a flippant society that does not want to focus on core, important issues. But like my friend pointed out, that in the late 70s and through 80s (or some decade round-about there), the fashion industry rallied around gay rights and participated strongly in AIDS awareness and prevention. (This was around the time when research suggested that a lot of people in the fashion industry were afflicted by it.)

What really has the automobile industry done for accident victims or what have banks done for the homeless or compulsive gamblers, etc.? (Maybe they have done stuff but one wonders about initiatives that go beyond the mandates of CSR.)

But fashion...that can't be serious stuff, can it? It better look for gloss and glitter and step into the scathing spotlight.

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