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25-12-2010
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Amour Comme Hiver
 
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Silver Spoons: Fashion and Class .. See Post #1 for Thread Rules.
Quote:
Moderator's Note:

This topic is about the background of editors and stylists and the impact having money and influence can have to help them up the ladder.

Be very careful. This topic this can lead to discussions about political and racial issues ... which are not acceptable topics at the Fashion Spot. Posts that alude to or openly discuss these topics will be deleted.




Mods, I don't think there's a thread for this, but if there is, by all means please merge.

I've noticed that the vast majority of fashion editors and stylists come from affluent backgrounds. This, of course, makes sense- the way to the top often involves working for little or nothing, and to work for little or nothing, you have to already have something.

But is this fair? While I do think there is a little more diversity in other arenas of fashion (namely hair and makeup and design), does a magazine industry with such a socially homogeneous makeup perhaps produce a more homogeneous point of view? Are talented potential editors and stylists hidden in "middle of nowhere" towns while mediocre Park Avenue princesses have monikers such as 'editor at large' bestowed upon themselves, due to the system? Or is there more socio-economic diversity than I'm considering?

To clarify, the magazines I'm specifically interested in are all high fashion, luxury oriented magazines; as such, I'm sure nearly all those involved with these publications live luxury oriented lifestyles. I suppose I'm more concerned with the lives these industry insiders led before.

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Last edited by BetteT; 30-10-2011 at 01:45 PM.
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25-12-2010
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it's really sad that it has to be like this "it's all about who you know" and it's not fair. the system is obviously not a well-working one.

IMO these "editor at large" people are just the face of the mag, i believe other people at the company/mag works alot harder and get less credit. which is sad. it'd be nice to see someone who worked really hard to get to the top, you know, someone who worked her/his way through college with two jobs on the side. i'd appreciate that person alot more, esp if i worked at the mag.

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25-12-2010
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This is also something I'm curious about, I don't expect to become the next Anna Wintour, but is it possible to work in the fashion industry in some way if you don't come from an affluent background ?

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25-12-2010
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i think it would benefit the fashion industry/mags if it was possible for non-affluent backgrounds to work at (lets say) a fashion mag... because all these park avenue princesses (aka olivia palermo) pretty much dress the same. a little more diversity would be nice.

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25-12-2010
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It's a vicious cycle really. The wealthy are generally the ones who can afford to support the arts and high fashion so it stands to reason they would have more leverage as far as obtaining positions in the industry.

Something that would help is requiring interns be paid. Currently fashion interns are expected to work like dogs for no pay which means only rich kids who don't have bills and tuition to pay can really take on internships at the major magazines.

I do think fashion could be enriched by less focus on socialites and more self-made people and true street fashion. I find it much more interesting to read about people who manage to look fabulous on a budget than on someone spending $10,000 per outfit.


Last edited by loladonna; 25-12-2010 at 06:21 PM.
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25-12-2010
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Its disappointing that it seems only the wealthy are working in the fashion industry, as editors of magazines. Obviously, their are probably some exceptions, but for the most part they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They didn't have to work to earn their keep since they were born into it. Perhaps because the magazines are primarily only run by the wealthy we are missing a completely untapped market, maybe their would be more innovation if people who don't come from affluent backgrounds also worked at these magazines. Also, as someone who wants to someday break in the magazine industry, it can be very difficult to think that it will be so much harder for me then for others, simply because I wasn't born into the upper class.

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26-12-2010
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Of course it's unfair! That's fairly simple to see. Now how can this be fixed?

I think requiring paid internships is a step in the right direction.

When I was looking for an internship last summer, I couldn't even consider most internship positions in fashion because they were unpaid.

Also, there are places out there that will only let students work for "academic credit" which can be even worse than unpaid, since now there's tuition to worry about too on top of cost-of-living. (USAToday article)

I really want to go to New York, but it is just not feasible for most relevant positions in the fashion industry.

Also, I wouldn't even have an issue interning during the day and working evenings, but honestly with the "extra" that one needs to put in to stay ahead in their internship alone, how feasible is that?

But one could argue that that is the nature of the industry. Luxury and affluence and the pursuit of that "look" or to not "look cheap". The industry itself is a bit anti-affordability.

But is fashion more about affluence or art?
Are people ready to consider a dress amazing regardless of whether it costs $40 or $1000?

So many questions...

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27-12-2010
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I feel like it is very unfair, but hey, you need to use what you got. I could never blame someone for taking advantage of oppurtuinites that are presented to them.

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27-12-2010
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Another thought, isn't this now being challenged by the internet?
I'm thinking of the new bloggers who have gained status within the industry, many of them hailing from more ordinary, lower income backgrounds. And yet one could argue that even though this suggests a sort of democratization of fashion writing/celebrity, there are still certain 'factors' which imply a hierarchy, even in the bloggers sphere.

Are people breaking into magazines now from this level? Perhaps this is the new route for those less fortunate (ie, not born with silver spoon, etc) into the industry - and it has certainly had repercussions. Perhaps such trends and popularity at ground level can catapult an ardent individual to the top...

This reminds me of the already existing question of how these recent changes are affecting the image of luxury brands. Maybe the two sides will remain in 'opposition', if that opposition actually exists. These are just thrown out thoughts, I'm not particularly knowledgeable in this area.

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27-12-2010
  10
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with internships, it's really just about how those magazines can AFFORD to have unpaid interns. those internships are sought after and can potentially open lots of doors for you, so most people are willing to work for nothing.

at least the European Union is soon gonna enforce paid internships, hopefully there won't be too many loopholes.

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27-12-2010
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I'm think there is more diversity among the well to do than perhaps you're giving them credit for; in what regard are their views homogenous, other than perhaps to money itself?

I agree that internships should be paid, but i'm not sure that I really think there's no way anyone but the wealthy can afford this. I work in the theater industry, and while it's certainly true that many of the people who do so are affluent (it's like the fashion industry in that pay is rare for those who are not working at the top of the industry), there are a fair number of people who manage to make it work by, say, tutoring on the side if they went to a prestigious school (which many non-affluent people do; the school I attended, which has been ranked in the top 3 universities in US News/World Report's rankings for as long as I've paid attention to rankings, gives generous financial aid to nearly 70% of the students there), or just by nature of the fact that after college they were able to move back home to New York City where they grew up in a rent-controlled apartment, etc. I think it's easy to identify people of affluent backgrounds in the industry (but then, that's true of most industries), but there are more than a few counter examples: perhaps grace coddington? I'm not super familiar with her background, but as far as I know her parents weren't well connected in british society, and yet she is now the second name on the Vogue masthead.

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27-12-2010
  12
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i think it used to be more common that people with affluent backgrounds are now big names in the industry, but as we look forward into the future, i think we are going to see more people who make it without affluent backgrounds. i think it all depends on how the social media will evolve. social media offers a new flow of information and knowledge that never existed before.

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27-12-2010
  13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustABoy View Post
I'm think there is more diversity among the well to do than perhaps you're giving them credit for; in what regard are their views homogenous, other than perhaps to money itself?

I agree that internships should be paid, but i'm not sure that I really think there's no way anyone but the wealthy can afford this. I work in the theater industry, and while it's certainly true that many of the people who do so are affluent (it's like the fashion industry in that pay is rare for those who are not working at the top of the industry), there are a fair number of people who manage to make it work by, say, tutoring on the side if they went to a prestigious school (which many non-affluent people do; the school I attended, which has been ranked in the top 3 universities in US News/World Report's rankings for as long as I've paid attention to rankings, gives generous financial aid to nearly 70% of the students there), or just by nature of the fact that after college they were able to move back home to New York City where they grew up in a rent-controlled apartment, etc. I think it's easy to identify people of affluent backgrounds in the industry (but then, that's true of most industries), but there are more than a few counter examples: perhaps grace coddington? I'm not super familiar with her background, but as far as I know her parents weren't well connected in british society, and yet she is now the second name on the Vogue masthead.

Grace is a small town girl, but, as with many fashion industry professionals who hail from lower class backgrounds, got her foot in the door with a successful modeling career- definitely not a route most people can take

Off the top of my head, the only big fashion name I can think of that was not of the manor born (or started out as a fashion model) is Andre Leon Talley.

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27-12-2010
  14
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^ You so beat me to mentioning him

Vera Wang, who isn't known for her work at Vogue, certainly came from an affluent background ... apparently unusually so, though ... I remember reading that her family's driver would drop her off, but she worked very hard (noted by a more senior colleague, I forget who).

I didn't realize Grace was a model ... she just looks like a cat lady now! She definitely has her finger on the pulse of what's next, though, in a way I don't think Anna Wintour does. That's a gift, and I think you have it or you don't, regardless of background.

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Last edited by fashionista-ta; 27-12-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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27-12-2010
  15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-v-elina View Post
i think it used to be more common that people with affluent backgrounds are now big names in the industry, but as we look forward into the future, i think we are going to see more people who make it without affluent backgrounds. i think it all depends on how the social media will evolve. social media offers a new flow of information and knowledge that never existed before.
+1. We can look at the success of fashion bloggers as proof. These fashion conscious civilians manipulated the blogosphere and are now sitting front row, getting free samples, and designing fast fashion chain collaboration collections. However, that era might have already passed given the over-saturation of fashion blogs these days... You only strike gold once, I suppose.

I will say that fashion bloggers have created a bridge between street and designer fashion. Thus the democratization of fashion, which is nice on my aesthetic and pocketbook. As much as fashion royalty (cough cough Wintour) has dragged their feet in this shift in the biz, I would argue that the impact of fashion networking sites like LB have a greater impact on fashion sheeples than today's 12 page Vogue story with same models from the last issue. It's only a matter of time before all fashion magazines go digital to keep up or lose funding entirely. The crumbling of these magazines can be seen as the downfall of the old, rich fashion ruling class and room for the more eclectic, poorer crowd.


Last edited by BetteT; 30-10-2011 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Removing reference to race, per tFS Community Rules.
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