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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Fashion: An Accurate Portrayal?

Fashion can be perceived in many different ways and often misconceptions are rife, partly due to the social context and publication about one aspect of fashion in the wider media. In my own experience, as a child, fashion was a concept that was alien to me; I knew that I liked creating outfits in my head, looking at the construction of pieces and how easily you could communicate a feeling, a perception to others just by piecing certain items together. It is only when I was in my teenage years I recognised (like Andy in the 'Devil wears Prada') that clothes just didn't appear in shops, it was big business, underpinned by a machine consisting of people with diverse skills, ranging from designers to editors at fashion print media houses.

But it is this almost mythical quality placed upon of fashion in past social dialogue, that may have dissuaded many young people from pursuing it, often because it seems inaccessible, frivolous and may not provide stable employment, like that of other vocations in the field's such as Law or Medicine. 
This is true to an extent and I'll explain my reasoning. Fashion is wide ranging and there are now distinct sectors and roles that have evolved far from the public perception that fashion was just about designer's and their atelier. In actuality it encompasses so much more diverse careers in public relations and marketing, fashion journalism, trend forecasting and so forth. Perhaps an emphasis on promotion of the industry to the wider public in terms of the variety of roles and different career paths would be extremely beneficial; something which british Vogue has recently placed commendable effort on, through their Alexa Chung insider series. 

Alexa Chung 'The future of fashion'

At the very core of the industry, it is the human interaction with a design led product with which the consumer can psychologically identify with, communicate a particular statement to the world, and be symbolic of the social and political issues of the time. 
Of course fashion is fun and rightly so. A particular emphasis in the general media regarding fashion, often focuses on celebrities on the front row, parties and avant grade fashion shows, but this is still only one aspect. 
For instance, fashion can also be used as a vehicle to bring about social change, with initiatives such as Vivienne Westwood's 'African made' bags which provide impoverished communities in african countries with income and development of artisan skills and Tom's 'one for one' initiative which has so far provided 50 million pairs of shoes and improved access to education and health, all accomplished through consumers making the ethical decision to purchase its shoes. These are only but two examples, yet they emphasise the positive effect fashion can have on the world, and it is this change agent side of the industry that should be in the public social dialogue as it may go a long way in unravelling this misconception. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think fashion is portrayed accurately in the wider media?


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