Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When the Mean Girls Cry: a Fashion Person rants and I sip tea


I-D Magazine posted on Monday of this week the piece How Instagram Can Make You Forget You Love Fashion, an opinion piece written by contributing writer, Courtney Iseman. Courtney laments the pains of being a "lowly cubicle dweller" within the fashion industry watching the Instagrams of the popular fashion blogger, the model off-duty, the it girl, to whom luxury, leisure, and lavished attention seem to follow everywhere they go. Iseman says "It can be easy to get discouraged thinking that the world you’re seeing in your Instagram scrolls is all there is: you are in one realm of fashion nobodies while the It Girls with the gifted runway pieces are the true successes."

Apparently Iseman isn't the only one who feels the way she feels. The piece has led to subsequent articles and responses. 

Coming to the defense of the fashion blogger are some of my personal favorite sites like WhoWhatWear posted 5 Reasons Why Instagram Might Be Ruining Fashion and a similar from Racked. Even Rachel Zoe posted something discussing the adjustment the fashion world has had to make due to the influx of social media in the once impenetrable world of fashion, albeit her piece was way more forgiving than these others above.

Iseman feels like something has been stolen from the fashion industry by us fashion bloggers and "outside" writers, pretty much closing her piece with blaming bloggers and Instagram for the demise of the fashion system and mystique, saying "In this age of street style and Instagram, that flashbulb-popping parade has indeed started to upstage the real show:  the incredible work being done by the designers, the smart commentary of journalists, the painstaking work of editors, the frenzied dedication of PR assistants." 

But one of the things Courtney fails to realize is that bloggers don't seek to steal the attention of these hard working individuals, but share that attention to those who would normally not ever see the beautiful, wonderful works and inner workings of the fashion industry. Fashion workers used to be like the mean girls in high school, making everyone feel too short, too poor, too fat, too old, or too outside to be a part of the elite clique, blogger have made fashion more democratic and more accessible, obviously a terrible thing to those once mean girls.

I think in writing this piece, Iseman has missed the point on a few things (all while exposing her own inner envy):

1) It's Instagram, not real life
While Instagram can give you the background, behind the scenes view of someone's life, it is very easy to polish and paint the life you want people to see and believe. Those fancy bags or the incredible boots that blogger is wearing, those were probably gifted. Or are on loan. Or maybe they do belong to the blogger because the blogger can pay for those things now herself. 

But I ask you, Courtney, "Who cares?" It's a nice pic and it earns my momentary glance and double tap, and I move on with life. Why are you so stuck on what the blogger may or may not have been given by a designer or purchased herself. You both chose different tracks to express your same feeling; loving fashion. Why not appreciate a sis/bro for a common spirit of the love of style instead of attempting to bash their credibility simply because they did chose the route you did?

2) If you don't like what you see, stop following that person
As easy as it is to follow someone on social media, it is equally as easy to unfollow. If you don't like what you see, change it. Unfollow. And once again, move on.

3) When has fashion EVER been fair?
Iseman is missing the larger point of her little Instagram rant; fashion has never been fair. So what that a popular fashion blogger can make the average fashion assistant's annual salary in just one appearance? Yeah it may seem unfair. Yeah that assistant may be more capable, more intelligent, more posed for fashion and style than that blogger. Yeah that sucks for the fashion assistant. 

And??? (Insert sarcastic shrug here)

Fashion has NEVER been fair. It's still a super skinny, super youth focused, wealth dominated, shallow industry that caters more often to people's insecurities rather than their strengths. Only this time, it's the fashion girls who are feeling the bite of this new social spread and not the masses.

4) Fashion was already envy dominated long before bloggers came in
Iseman says "Thanks to the now-commonplace role of "fashion blogger" it's the daily routine of some to share their enviable experiences in the industry, from the parties and shows they attend to the gifts they receive from designers." Fashion and style have induced envy long before there was ever such a thing known as a blogger. Anytime you have a particular item that only a certain group of people can get, you will have envy. 

What it sounds like is that the same envy the fashion girls used to create in those who weren't on the inside is now being created within them as they watch the masses get full exposure to the once secretive world of fashion.

Courtney says "The problem is for those of us working in and loving fashion, but without the thousands of Instagram followers? It can start to feel like it's not our world anymore." But isn't that a good thing? Isn't it a good thing that the fashion world no longer strictly belongs to those who work there?

Isn't it a good thing that fashion no longer has to belong to strictly the well connected, the wealthy, the well dressed weirdo? Isn't it a good thing that people, normal people, can share their opinions and views and stances on what the fashion industry used to push upon us forcefully as style by pushing back and saying "That's garbage." or "I don't understand why that costs so much." or "I want one in every color and I think my followers would want it too."? 

I say it's a good thing. Anytime the people receive a voice where once only a small and exclusive minority was heard, I think it's a good thing.

So I'm sorry you have allowed the bloggers and Instagram to take the luster from an industry you supposedly "love" Miss Iseman. My suggestion is that you stop complaining about them (they are obviously here for now) and that you hop off Instagram and instead channel your energy into somewhere else.

May I suggest...a blog.