What it means to be a fashion enthusiast at London Fashion Week?
I like to call myself a “fashion enthusiast”, why? Simple – I’m not an essential authority in the fashion industry. I mean, no one is asking for my opinion on Vogue’s last editorial [doesn’t mean I don’t tweet about it anyway] and I’m not a notable fashion editor or an imperative voice when it comes to fashion journalism. Yet I do work on the sidelines of the fashion industry as a mix of a graphic designer, editor, journalist and producer for a small (yet growing) production company. I do have a minor (lie, MAJOR) girlcrush on Leandra Medine and online publications take up about fifty percent of my bookmarks. Sometimes I consider getting seriously into photography just for the sole existence of street-style, and when ASOS called me back I woke up my flatmate without thinking it twice — sadly that was a one time contact.
On a side note, I should also say that I’m originally from the other side of the world – from a Spanish speaking country where fashion doesn’t really function the same way it does in the UK. Real innovative designers are sparse and there is no true platform for them to have a voice or significant influence, in other words, there is no real fashion industry. For that matter, when my inbox was filled with invites to several shows at London Fashion Week AW16, I was obviously ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to see what the fashion shows looked like, I couldn’t wait to be backstage and see all the artists at work, to see the 6 foot models, and Instagram queens in their natural habitat, I truly couldn’t wait. But along the excitement came some serious anxiety. Are these brilliant artists going to give me the time of day for the interviews I needed? Will my self-confidence be forever crippled after walking through a room full of professional models? Is everyone going to be really snobby? Will security actually have my name on that list alongside fashion celebrities? Will I really share the same press space with the likes of iD, W, or Love? I was batshit intimidated.
Cliché phrases are cliché for a reason and even though they are instant cringe detonators, sometimes they are oh so true! So here was my cliché for that entire weekend “fake it till you make it”. If models act like mean girls, and artists are snobby, or security takes a minute too long to find your name on the list – who cares? It takes experience to get to that aspirational place, so who cares if you photo-bomb a blogger’s photo? Who cares if you don’t wear Balmain? Who cares if your credential has a spelling mistake? [I still kept it nonetheless.]
The fashion industry is catalogued as exclusive, egotistical and elitist yet here is what I found out after a few days up-close in one of the most crucial fashion weeks in the world:
- make-up artists and hair stylists work their buts off;
- each model is as important as the next one;
- perfectionism is a common factor in all the shows;
- models are usually super sweet with the occasional exception of the girl that is so tired from back-to-back shows that she truly can’t conceal her permanent bitch face;
- it doesn’t matter if you are Taylor Tomasi Hill or Iris Apfel’s second cousin, if you are not on the list you are not on the list;
- photographers do not care if they are standing on a 3 foot tall broken beam if that’s what they need to do to get a great shot;
- backstage is so hectic that you will have to squeeze as if you were on a Rihanna concert to get through, and you may become one with the topless model in front of you or the hairstylist braiding on extensions behind you;
- ultimately, it does not matter why you are there, because if you are you must be doing something well.
Not saying that everyone is an absolute sweetheart, but that it really wasn’t as scary as people make it out to be – artists, journalists, models, photographers, designers, they are all there for one reason. And it’s to be part of the industry, share among creatives with common interests and be heard, so as long as you have the confidence to be part of such world then everyone stops being this made-up villain you have created in your head as a result of rumours and pop culture and they become actual human beings and professionals just doing their job and loving what they do. I can’t wait for next season.
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Written by Mariana Cárdenas Uztáriz,
featured photograph by Evan Schreiber, sourced via Dazed.