Fashion world is vaste. When you work or study in it, you realize how big it is.
Therefore it is a faux-pas to try to generalize it. However, because of the massification phenomenon, main trends, practices or perceptions are not always the good ones. I do not claim that there is one way to evolve in fashion or that I have the good conception of fashion. I just need to express my opinion on it. If some or many other people think like me, it means that there may be a problem that needs to be fix. Here are a few things that are especially boring me in the fashion world nowadays. I would like to contest them.
First of all, as you know I am a melting-pot girl. My skin is black and I do not have the same body as western girls, even if I was born in France. Thus, regarding those different origins, sometimes culture and obviously a difference of skin, it has been really hard, since the beginning, to identify myself to the main figure and representation of beauty in my own country. For a long time, I felt that I wasn’t beautiful because of those differences. It is hard to admit it but it is true. I was my own weakness. However, I was deeply influenced by the mass culture that is promoting, in particular, the image of white people. When I grew up, this started to change. I needed to be honest and to point this reality. More often than before, in western cultures, including french culture, we can see that there is a real effort to put diversity as a norm. Unfortunately, this still not enough, especially in the fashion world.
Sometimes I had the feeling that fashion was still working with an old caste system . And actually, I think that it is quite true. In many spheres in this universe, there is a lack of ethnical representations. I am not talking only about black people. How many ethnicity do you see on ready-to-wear or couture catwalks? Usually, it is easy to remember it because they are so many of them that are under-represented that when you see one, you cannot forget.
Unfortunately, that is not limited to models. Indeed, we can see that creative designers are often white. Here, in this blog, I am not talking of people who create their own brands but more about those who are appointed as creative director of well-known brands such as Chanel, Givenchy or Dior. Careful! I am not generalizing, many good and famous brands are led by individuals with various origins such as Mary Katrantzou, Opening Ceremony, Duro Olowu, Maki Oh… Sadly, they mainly created their own brands – which is a bad for a good because that brought more diversity – to get into the fashion world.
Besides under-representation, there is another aspect that prevents me to be fully exciting by fashion industry. I named the hegemony of French elitist fashion conception. I just mentioned France because I am more familiar with this vision, I grew up with it. Also, I think that in other western countries, fashion is not always limited to one trend or model. I think this phenomenon is a specific feature of the french fashion world.
In my opinion, even if France is considered as the temple of proper fashion, elegance and sophistication, something is missing. I deeply love label such as Céline, Y/Project or Chloé, however, I am often bored when watching some of the runway shows during the Paris Fashion Week. This fashion image is so exclusive that it is hard to project myself into this universe. I do not feel like I would be in my element in this kind of environment.
Nevertheless, I do not think that this feelings are normal. This is not only my fault. The system is quite guilty. The atmosphere is quite harmful. Indeed, many people in this universe will make you feel that you do not belong to it. They often think that you are just another girl who is eager to work in the fashion world and would do anything – even pick their dogs’ poo (real life experience) – to enter into this world. Thanks to various internships in press offices, I have noticed that the more people are low in the hierarchy, the more they are mean with people under them. Here again, we can’t generalize however it may be the case in other fields. I guess.
What a shame that this world – when you put it in perspective and you erase all the noise made by so much superficiality – is so rich (in a figurative way) and interesting. Fashion is, after all, an art, a form of individual expression, culture, history, sociology… So many ways to read it, see it, feel it, wear it… But only one is promoted.
Hence, this manifesto is to Fashion. We need to let you blossom fully, truly… Let every being that wants to be part of it, get into you. Let all kinds of people come out of your shell. I know that, in the history, you’ve been mainly used by gentry. Thus you often have been associated with elitism or inaccessibility. Yet, is it still fair nowadays? Do we need to feel rejected to have a fascination about you ? What is the point to still evolve in this obsolete system?
A new generation is emerging, if you want to survive you have to let us in.