Tuesday, 1 November 2011

À contre-courant

It is true I do always find myself going against the stream. Sorry but saying it in French sounds so much better, because the sounds flow and it sounds less like you are angry and pushing against, more reflective and attempting to find another way of flowing.

I'm always conscious that opinions can be read in many ways by the reader, that the writers voice will resonate in different voices to actually how the writer sounds. It is often impossible to convey the lightness of tongue, the smiling mouth or the ponderous brow.

Yesterday I was quite agitated to find an answer to my constant battle I have as a person with the fashion and how fashion is conveyed to the masses. Fashion isn't just the garments on our back it is a spectrum of things from buildings, interior design, design styles, contemporary views etc. etc. Of course the clothes are a huge visible embodiment of the fashion adopted by people

My beef is simple: how does one continue to love fashion and embrace the new, celebrate design and change but at the same time remain egalitarian and free from the trappings of materialism, cultural capitalism and well quite frankly not be a snob.

I'm probably like everyone else, one minute I love something, the next I'm over it. I have to have a Grazia fix occasionally. I like Lauderee macaroons but to be honest I like Paul's macaroons too and the best ever macaroons I had were in a tiny village in the Loire region. I do love certain designers, I get carried away with the crowds and I happily receive my Vogue subscription each month but...it is the but....I'm finding it harder to stomach the hype, the marketing, the brand overload. I seriously think I'm the only person to care not one jot about the H&M collaboration thing with Versace. Ok my mum and dad aren't that bothered with it, nor Mr MDS and the petit garcon and all my neighbours probably don't care either but they none of them live in my world and have my love of fashion.

My desire is always to remain upbeat and almost Ab Fab about fashion, fashion magazines, styling and all manner of the fashion industry and mainly reading Lisa Armstrong keeps me on the straight and narrow but then once in a while I get pushed over the edge. The edge of reason.

Hence my need or desire to counterbalance what I perceive as excess in fashion journalism towards maintaining not challenging the status quo. Why even Studio 54 has become mainstream whereas in reality it was a glamorous club many many years ago that no other than a very in crowd of rich and famous with their hangers on went to. Now it is a 'brand' peddled and used to sell anything that could be vaguely related to its NYC heyday.

In conclusion I don't hate or dislike what is our current fashion offering but I find myself more and more dipping into day dreams that imagine another style of fashion journalism, a change in fashion art direction and less elitism. In other words less of the same.

Am I really alone in the fashion industry as a tragic figure fighting against the tide, swimming upstream when everyone else is on a raft with bubbly rowing downstream? Don't worry I'm perfectly happy as an individual, as contrary as the next person I'm sure but this burning question keeps rearing its head and has done for the last 18months so I will either find my answer or give in/up and move on ...soon.


  1. Ugh, I too hate how things are peddled as 'brands' sometimes, and the Studio 54 thing is my new pet hate. Have you seen the Very.co.uk ad, where that young girl is wearing a jumpsuit and says, "this look has a Studio 54 vibe going on...so I'm told."? Vom. I've also been getting very annoyed with magazines that push investment buys/classics - most of the time they're an incredibly transparent way of encouraging people to part with several hundred quid for something that WILL date. Even 'individualism' is a kind of brand now. Rant over! X

  2. Great post. I know exactly what you mean. I love fashion but it all gets too much, I just can't keep up. In fact I have never had a single Lauderee macaroon or any other, although I do sometimes consider trying making them myself!

    I wonder whether you might be interested in joining a new community/ platform that I have just set up www.ethicalfashionbloggers.com. I hope it will be a great place for those that love fashion but want to to be more ethical/ eco friendly to discuss, network,inspire, rant, whatever else you want...

  3. To me the whole fashion thing is like a wheel which spins around endlessly sometimes slow sometimes at breakneck speed and this is where I get off, do other things for as long as I feel like it then come back and take what I need out of it. I used to be totally immersed in fashion and chose to dig myself out and keep out for as much as I know is a safe distance for me.

    Plus ca change...

  4. I'm not a fashionista as such, but totally agree with what you say. It's the very reason I no longer subscribe to the glossies and instead get my fashion-fix from objectively written blogs. I think as you get older, you just become more questioning/inquiring. When I think back to what a marketers joy I was in my 20's and how that has changed with age, I'm quite pleased I no longer buy into all the hype. Has the industry really changesd, or have we just got wiser? ;-)

  5. I only read fashion blogs so my innocence hasn't yet been spoiled :).

    Why don't you start the sort of magazine you'd admire? I'll be a subscriber.

  6. and your magazine should be called what you titled this post, that will be fab! Some great comments here which say it all really. Love Vanessa's parting question, it sounds so "Carrie" don't you think? x

  7. I used to be a serious magazine addict. It wasn't just about the fashion pages, but also the cover stories that promised to tell me the magic answers to all life's problems. They were my escape to a work outside of work and home and all that stuff. Then I started realising how many of the articles giving advice were simply product adverts. I still buy mags when I find myself in a train station or airport with a long journey ahead, but the last time I dropped £12 for 3 mags I sat down and counted the number of pages and the number of adverts - whatever form. The actual content of those magazines was incredibly slim...15-20% I'm terrible about not discarding my magazines. I pore over them years later, cut them up, file the pages, do everything I can to get my money's worth, but at the end of the day, they are very poor value for money. I've moved my attention to blogs and get a similar fix without quite the annoyance. It is important to remember that the purpose of magazines isn't really art or literature, it's sales and advertising. Look forward to hearing more about what you think a magazine really ought to be...


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