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25-09-2014
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Is the fashion world inherently shallow?
In the past 24 hours, I've come across multiple fashion-related items that just left me shaking my head.


One was this quote from Lucie de la Falaise from an upcoming book:


Quote:
I was planning a very relaxed country wedding and Yves sketched a gypsy-style dress for me with pockets in the skirt where I could put a hanky when things got too emotional. So there I am standing in my dress at my final fitting; [my aunt] Loulou was getting ready to place my veil and out jumps Moujik, Yves's dog, and bites my mother's leg! Not the best moment! What do I do? Rushing to my mother, I realized the concern in the room was for the dress, not for my mother's leg!
The other thing was that I happened to run across Lauren Santo Domingo's Pinterest, with many images of smoking labeled 'glamour'; Nan Kempner labeled 'my personal hero'; and lots more in the same vein.


This is an industry where photographers like Terry Richardson are continually employed by mainstream magazines. Where blatant discrimination in casting is excused as the designer's aesthetic vision.


Obviously fashion is concerned with surface appearance.


Is the industry inherently shallow? Is any occurrence of depth (say, Alber Elbaz's philosophy of design) an anomaly? Is anyone else disturbed by this?

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25-09-2014
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There is definitely a shallow element to any industry focused on appearances but I think of it this way. Fashion is just the surface and when speaking about the surface sometimes it is very difficult to see what lies beneath. It is hard to distill much from the quotes / social media accounts, etc. of fashion industry people because often times they are attempting to project an image. Usually that image involves things that are somewhat trite - looking good, knowing the right people, wearing the right clothes - but that doesn't necessarily mean that they lack depth.

Granted, there are definitely some people lacking depth in all facets of life but at the same time I think a lot of people in fashion - or just people who love fashion, are shy, insecure or guarded. It is easier to talk about the frivolous sometimes than it is to reveal personal feelings on the important issues and emotions.

At least that is my take on it - perhaps this is just what I tell myself so that when I hear the crazy shallow things I can laugh them off.

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25-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luxx View Post
There is definitely a shallow element to any industry focused on appearances but I think of it this way. Fashion is just the surface and when speaking about the surface sometimes it is very difficult to see what lies beneath. It is hard to distill much from the quotes / social media accounts, etc. of fashion industry people because often times they are attempting to project an image. Usually that image involves things that are somewhat trite - looking good, knowing the right people, wearing the right clothes - but that doesn't necessarily mean that they lack depth.

Granted, there are definitely some people lacking depth in all facets of life but at the same time I think a lot of people in fashion - or just people who love fashion, are shy, insecure or guarded. It is easier to talk about the frivolous sometimes than it is to reveal personal feelings on the important issues and emotions.

At least that is my take on it - perhaps this is just what I tell myself so that when I hear the crazy shallow things I can laugh them off.

I agree ... but I have seen some Twitter accounts that are absolutely fascinating. You can talk about important stuff on Twitter, and many, many people have Pinterest boards that demonstrate a lot of depth.


When I look around at the fashion world, I can definitely point to people who have depth ... but they are so few and far between that I'm starting to think they're an anomaly.


If knowing how to dress was my primary skill ... it would be time for an existential crisis for sure.

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25-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
If knowing how to dress was my primary skill ... it would be time for an existential crisis for sure.


This is an issue I constantly grapple with and I'm glad there's a discussion addressing it. There are times when I myself worry about whether or not I come off as shallow when I mention my interest in fashion to others. If it's all in my head where did this concern originate from? I suppose following the wrong people on social media (e.g. Bryanboy) may have something to do with the shallow & vain perception I have recently developed for the industry. . .

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27-09-2014
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I don't think the current speed of fashion helps. You never have to go into depths about anything because there is always something new to talk about.

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27-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfinkova View Post


This is an issue I constantly grapple with and I'm glad there's a discussion addressing it. There are times when I myself worry about whether or not I come off as shallow when I mention my interest in fashion to others. If it's all in my head where did this concern originate from? I suppose following the wrong people on social media (e.g. Bryanboy) may have something to do with the shallow & vain perception I have recently developed for the industry. . .

True ... if there is a deep end of the fashion pool, Bryanboy is unlikely to take you there

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27-09-2014
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Originally Posted by eizhowa View Post
I don't think the current speed of fashion helps. You never have to go into depths about anything because there is always something new to talk about.
^ very good point. it's too rushed and too much about the bottom line.

but i think there's depth to fashion generally; it communicates values, beliefs, desires; it can be used for rebellion; it's a tool for exploring identity. and so forth. it's also ART!

there are a lot of shallow people in the fashion industry though, based on my experiences with it. a lot of self-aggrandizement in many of the designers, editors, street-stylists, bloggers; so many of them seem me-centric, lol. obviously it is part and parcel that there'd be a lot of superficiality in many of the models, too.

so i think your word "inherently" has some validity, yeah.

but it's linked with the "industry" part of fashion more than it's actual nature, as a form of creativity, art, and self-expression.

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27-09-2014
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Fashion is inherently fickle and therein lies the very essence of FASHION and what keeps that FASHION world spinning round.

However what does it take to keep this constantly changing and evolving world relevant and reflective of our times?

Certainly not the fashion plate whose so-called obsession merely entails perusal of US Weekly ( the designer fashion binging scenes in Sofia Coppola's Bling-Ring anyone? ) or love of rose gold chunky designer watches thanks to Michael Kors' association with Project Runway.

Not that I have anything against these aforementioned sources of fashion but if that's the sole extent of your "fashion obsession" simply skimming the surface of this massive and multi-faceted industry that's what I consider shallow. Those who don't take it upon themselves to dig deeper beyond the surface glitz and glamour and explore the many intertwined, overlapping connections beyond the Fashion World.

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28-09-2014
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Fashion isn't inherently shallow but the people it attracts often are.

The Devil Wears Prada is an accurate depiction of the fashion world.

80% of people I've met in the industry have been mildly sociopathic in some way. I was once working as a casting assistant for a designer who ate my whole lunch in front of me on purpose after I had been on my feet without food for six hours. I would have been offended but her behavior was so cartoonish that I just had to laugh.

Another person I worked with and considered a friend hacked onto my personal computer by using the company server and filtered out emails from professional contacts to prevent me from advancing in my career. Most of the people are so bad that when you meet a normal, nice person they seem like a weirdo.

In terms of depth, I find it rare to meet somebody in the industry who reads books or even newspaper articles. Their reading is typically limited to gossip blogs, which they consume with relish.

And it goes without saying that most people in the industry are the opposite of original or independent-minded. The fashion world is not welcoming to outsiders and it's very much an in club. Everybody is fake friends with everybody else and there's a lot of backstabbing that goes on.

If you want to pursue a job in the industry expect to be evaluated on everything about you that shouldn't matter...and expect to be greeted with hard stares and snickering if you don't fit in because you're not stylish enough, connected enough, or cold-blooded enough.


Last edited by marqueemoon; 28-09-2014 at 10:41 PM.
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29-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
Is anyone else disturbed by this?
Yes! Very much so. I am still trying to justify to myself why I have an interest in fashion...fashion most of the time seems to be connected to the bad things like vanity, showing off status, mindless consumerism, horrible misogyny that everybody seems not to notice or they romanticize it in some way.
And the often used description of fashion as art is something i do not really agree with, because it seems that if we decide something is "art" then that something holds no social responsibility and can not be judged by the same criteria as other things, for example, it is not an objectified naked woman in the photo, its "art" and similar nonsense. . Fashion is 99,9% of the time applied art if you ask me and I think people should look at fashion from a more grounded and critical perspective, it might help with the shallow status that it holds, I can not say undeservingly.


Last edited by ssgghh; 29-09-2014 at 09:59 AM.
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29-09-2014
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^I am pretty sure the people who claim fashion is "art" in order to justify certain behaviour, would have a tough time trying to define "art" I know how my definition of art corresponds with my style (and the looks I am atracted to), but I think a lot of people would struggle with that.

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29-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
Fashion isn't inherently shallow but the people it attracts often are.

The Devil Wears Prada is an accurate depiction of the fashion world.

80% of people I've met in the industry have been mildly sociopathic in some way. I was once working as a casting assistant for a designer who ate my whole lunch in front of me on purpose after I had been on my feet without food for six hours. I would have been offended but her behavior was so cartoonish that I just had to laugh.

Another person I worked with and considered a friend hacked onto my personal computer by using the company server and filtered out emails from professional contacts to prevent me from advancing in my career. Most of the people are so bad that when you meet a normal, nice person they seem like a weirdo.

In terms of depth, I find it rare to meet somebody in the industry who reads books or even newspaper articles. Their reading is typically limited to gossip blogs, which they consume with relish.

And it goes without saying that most people in the industry are the opposite of original or independent-minded. The fashion world is not welcoming to outsiders and it's very much an in club. Everybody is fake friends with everybody else and there's a lot of backstabbing that goes on.

If you want to pursue a job in the industry expect to be evaluated on everything about you that shouldn't matter...and expect to be greeted with hard stares and snickering if you don't fit in because you're not stylish enough, connected enough, or cold-blooded enough.

Wow ... your post is chilling, but it certainly helps explain a few things. I remember looking (for some bizarre unremembered reason) at the Twitter feed of a 'major' figure in the Vogue orbit, and just being struck by the unrelenting catty shallowness. And this is someone who's generally thought to have her head screwed on straight, which I guess means something different in fashion than out here in, uh, real life.


I'm reminded of Cathy Horyn's recent article, Are there real friends in fashion? (I consider Cathy one of the anomalies.)


I really want someone to convince me I'm wrong here, so please don't take this as discouragement But how can an industry that isn't shallow attract people who in the vast majority are?


My own thought process here is that there is meaning to be found in fashion, and some of us here in this community do that very well. Good fashion critics (and there are what, about three in the world) do this regularly as well. A few fashion designers are profound people and their work reflects it. But ... it seems to me that the fashion world in general is shallow beyond belief.

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21-10-2014
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Here's one of my favorite outliers ... someone with depth in the fashion business: http://video.vogue.com/watch/vogue-v...ber-elbaz-long

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The word "shallow" is the opposite of "deep"... Lets turn the question upside down. What industries are "deep"?

A lot of people would probably not call the medical industry "shallow" because the aim is to make people healthy. The industry is feeding the primary needs of humans.

In contrast, fashion only feeds our tertiary needs. But if your primal and secondary needs are meet, I don't see why it fufilling your tertiary needs necesarily is a bad and "shallow" thing to do. It is human to want your own needs meet.

I think the fact that fashion is considered "shallow" is based on the premise that our money would be better spent meeting other peoples more basic needs.

So basically, you can logically believe that fashion is "shallow" if you believe it is your duty to give all excess to charity instead of spending it. You can't have a BMW in the driveway and think fashion is shallow without being hypocritical.

I would also like to add that this does not make fashion "inherently shallow". It is only "shallow" relative to other needs.

I don't personally know how I feel about all of this. Obviously I don't want to think fashion is inherently shallow, and by extension that I am shallow... I realize that I am very biased...

I consider myself relatively accepting of humans (often) selfish nature. Still, Kim Kardashians gold toilet had me in a rage. That really infuriated me, but qualitatively it is no different from the fact that I spent 10x more money on clothes this year than I did on charity

There is a reason I don't tell my mother how much my shoes cost... She does not have a BMW in the driveway...

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Many people seem consumed by their interest in fashion and it's hard to say they aren't "deep" when some of them approach the topic with academic seriousness. Those fans are the historians and curators of fashion, and everyone can point to them and say, "Look, fashion is an art." There are designers who approach fashion from the same perspective. The problem is that art itself can be really self-absorbed and shallow, and out-of-touch with the "real world" in a privileged way. I don't know about the word shallow, per se... I would say slightly delusional, in reference to the industry in a bubble. (Maybe just naive?)

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