Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fashioning a Balance

As you can probably tell from my past few posts,  I work in the fashion industry.  I'm fortunate to work in the private, creative office of a luxury brand in the heart of London.

With the madness of London Fashion Week over and looking ahead to a couple of days in Paris this coming week, I've had a few moments to get back in touch with myself and my life over the weekend. There are so many things that come from these weeks of fashion- which editor/celebrity was at what show? Who is the model of the moment? Which online platforms were launched? What is the new "it" spot in that particular city? But what we mostly read about are the trends from that season: What kind of trousers are "in"? Is it all about pleating? Prints? Silk? Short hemlines? Tailored jackets? Tuxedos for women? Etc, etc.

I enjoy the excitement, hype and "insiders view" on what's to come in fashion immensely, but I can't help thinking about those people elsewhere in the world, and even in the same city, that struggle to put a single coat on their back, lest it be made of the finest cashmere or highest quality tweed. Those who wish for a single pair of clean trousers, never mind if they are made of the most luxe leather or distressed denim. The contrasts of lifestyle are significant and, if thought about deeply, quite shocking.  How does one balance this?

Arriving in the fashion world a short while ago, it has taken me over a year to begin to understand it. I wasn't raised with designer labels, massively artistic surroundings or an endless bank account. I was raised within an incredibly loving family, who believe that it's who you are inside that counts and exterior appearances will ultimately fade. The only real experience I had in the fashion world was modeling from ages 18 - 21, which ended abruptly when an agent offered to take me on only if I would consider (read: have) my hips shaved. I couldn't get to a gym fast enough (read: modeling over and insecurity complex doubled).

Fast forward to today. What I have learned in this period of time is that fashion goes much deeper than the skinny models and trends that appear in the pages of glossy magazines. Fashion is Art. It's an artist's view of life at that moment, their "looks," transformed into garments and accessories and showcased to the world on a catwalk. It is their message to the world; much like Monet's Water Lilies or Van Gogh's Sunflowers displayed in and toured around our famous, international museums. Each "look" began with a blank canvas and was created from the artists mind- an expression of who they are and the story they want to tell.

Personally, to look at fashion in this way has helped me understand and connect to this world. By having the ability to establish relationships with designers has also enabled me to understand the significance of supporting emerging talents as they have so much to contribute - and are so much more than what the Zoolander's have painted them out to be.

Still, the question of morality in this multi-billion pound industry tugs at my heartstrings. To think of the contrasts in this world- those with and those without. How do we justify what we are doing as the right thing? Yes, if what we do feeds, clothes and enables us to provide for our families- it is clearly important.

But where do we find balance in a world of such extreme unbalance?

Till next time x

1 comment:

  1. Meg, enjoyed the blog. It can be very easy to label fashion (no pun intended) as vacuous or morally reprehensible given global levels of poverty, but that would be to apply a very superficial reading of what it represents. It is art, in a very real sense of the word: it justs happens to have an additional function to clothe people too. Surely that's a benefit that much art doesn't have? And let's not forget, whereas fashion can exploit, it also provides the means for many, many people to earn a living; and that can't be a bad thing.