New York, London, Milan, and Paris. This month the fashion world packs their over-sized, designer luggage to make the pilgrimage to experience the Spring/Summer 2016 designer collections, and the glamorous party culture that follows these shows. For those who do not know the difference between Céline and Chloé, or a pair of mules over a d’orsay pump, none of this seems to matter except, “Wow did you see what Kendall wore in that Marc Jacobs show?” But fashion does matter! Sure, spending an exorbitant amount of money on a t-shirt you could cut holes in yourself is ridiculous, but the industry is not something to be cynical towards. Yet, the popular opinion is that fashion and any style that could possibly be seen as “different” from the average Abercrombie and Fitch wearing person is to be made fun of and not tolerated. Fashion should not be taken too seriously, but it should be respected.
While the media tends to portray the fashion world in a negative light, (The Devil Wears Prada, Keeping up with the Kardashians) the industry only accepts hard working people and those who are lazy do not succeed. Watch any episode of Project Runway and one will see a teeny fraction of what professional design houses do on the daily. Yes, Anna Wintour may have a reputation similar to a fire-breathing dragon, but the empire she has created is unmatched by any other. Looking purely at the economics, the fashion industry in the United States alone employs 1.9 million people. According to industry analysts from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Americans spend over $250 billion annually on clothes. Worldwide, it is a $1.2 trillion industry – so why does society continue to devalue fashion as a shallow workforce consisting of valley girls who wear Louboutins? Please, Google Leandra Medine or Rei Kawakubo.
With the recent influx of photos and videos from Fashion Week on social media, the negativity that surrounding the events has also increased. It is important to actively avoid putting down what others wear— whether they are your friend or a stranger on the internet. We are living during a time of revolutions, and style is included! All genders can wear the same clothes, blue hair is no longer rare, and unflattering shapes turn into trends. Clothes are not simply there to cover up all that is taboo, but to show a person’s expressionism and creativity. On par with painting, music, and dance, style is an art form, and it does not have to be only for those who can afford rubies and leather bags.
Rather than acting cynical towards the fashion industry, embrace it! Save your negativity for snowstorms and hours of homework, because at the end of the day, people will still wear whatever they want.
Illustration by Minha Lee