Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I heart you, fashion!

"Over the course of my career, I've met many talented journalists who suffer from the same inferiority complex. Some are uncomfortable even admitting they write about fashion; they feel the need to make excuses and intellectual justifications. Why is it sports reporters and food writers, for instance, have no problem seeing their work as relevant and serious? Fashion is an art form in its own right, one that has the power to change us, move us, excite us, and make us feel and look good."

I read this paragraph, written by Editor in Chief Stefano Tonchi, in the March 2011 issue of W.  It affected me. When I started college, I wanted to be a fashion journalist, and right away I put myself on the path to get there. Unfortunately, my ambitions went nowhere, and I left the field. Don't get me wrong. I am happy with the career decisions I made since then, but every time I read an article in W. or Vogue I think, "I could do that." Therefore, I feel bad for these journalists who cannot own what they achieved. I am proud of everything I accomplish career-wise, even though mine has nothing to do with fashion. I cannot imagine making excuses.

It also still shocks (and saddens) me to read some feel fashion must be justified on an "intellectual" level. I am so tired of this argument. Anyone who claims there is NOTHING smart about fashion is likely just intimidated that they lack the knowledge. That may sound judgmental, but from my experience, it is true. Just like anything else, fashion takes much reading and studying to "get." People acquire "intellect" from individual experiences and interests. If someone does not put the time into something, for whatever reason, obviously they will know little or nothing about it. Does that make them stupid? No. Furthermore, does that make IT stupid? Absolutely not.

I guess I do not understand why someone can appreciate theater, painting, music, literature, or any other art, and gain respect as being "cultured," yet someone interested in fashion receives little or none of the same. Despite how mainstream high fashion has become the last few years,  I still read and hear the same negative sentiments Tonchi expresses. I still have sat through college classes where professors have brought in fashion magazines as part of their lectures, basically for the purpose of making fun of them. Furthermore, a few months ago, a local Boise style blog made national news, and every reaction was along the lines of "Who cares?"

Then, the Boise Art Museum opened a shoe exhibit. Is THAT art because a museum says it is? Or do people put that down too? I am not sure, but I would guess if I wore similarly-designed shoes from that exhibit in public, they would be a joke. In that case, they would no longer qualify as "art," but only a woman who spends too much money, takes appearances too seriously, and needs to focus on improving her "intellect."

Now I am ranting, but I just don't understand. I would blame reality TV, but there is a show for everything. With fashion, an older, tougher mindset exists. I applaud Tonchi's writing. I think he captured what many feel, but do not say. I am glad it's out in the open. Thoughts?


P.S. Sorry about the poor outfit photos, and lack of them. It just was not coming together today :)


Shybiker said...

Good points, well-written.

People cling to common prejudices about many activities. Like fashion, motorcycling is often denigrated but, a few years back, a NYC museum featured an exhibition of motorcycles and, suddenly, people wondered if they are actually high-status art and not just low-status machines. Fashion is similarly not given the respect it deserves as a creative, interesting activity.

Sherry said...

Cute outfit!! Love that top! Totally agree with you - so many people think "fashion" is a silly thing but everyone has to wear clothes (hopefully), so they SHOULD appreciate all the hard work that goes into this silly thing called fashion! (See The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda rips into Andi!)