If you’ve worked in any capacity in fashion, or have close friends who do, chances are you’ve heard “I hate fashion people” quite a number of times or at the very least something along those lines. This is not your usual ‘self righteous white’ bant on how fashion people are so despicable and all of that, this is much more simpler, closer to home and attempts to elucidate the redundancy of recapitulating this phrase again and again.
Quite recently, I bumped into a friend of mine who had just come backstage from a fashion show where he worked closely with a designer on a collection for the showcase. He was livid to the point of bursting and cussing, after considerate placating, he described the events that led to his outburst. Apparently, they were having a fitting and final examination of proposed pieces to be showcased on the runway, and an official from the event had been very condescending, unprofessional and rude. Said official had described some of the collection pieces as trash, unwearable and a couple of other uncouth choice unmentionables, pieces which post-fitting drama were shown regardless and received great reviews as is due process. Let’s explain this a little more shall we?
It wasn’t completely out of place for the official to express dissatisfaction with the pieces or render advice/observations on said pieces, that is after all the purpose of pre-show design meetings and fittings, but the designer is allowed creative license to create pieces as they come to his/her imagination, show-official input or not. Like kanye says, creative people are ISP (incredibly sensitive persons) so calling my work trash and unwearable is probably not the way to go you’ll agree. Plus keen and well meaning observations should be presented politely and in a civil manner.
In the scheme of fashion affairs, this occurrence wasn’t strange at all or a one time event, as stories like that are rife when you’ve been around long enough. You would listen to models unending takes on rude and unprofessional scouts (Did anyone catch that video of the scout slapping and insulting models at a casting?), special cliques controlling/revolving around the mainstream hindering inclusivity, the tales of pretentious and two faced fashion professionals (I recently saw an hilarious meme that showed an exhausted Naomi Campbell after dealing with the draining Lagos fashion crowd, lol), the events with a guest list of the same exact group of people and an unending list of other constant occurrences that form the worst snafu.
While it’s true that the fashion crowd needs to do better, I find the whole ‘I hate fashion people’ incredibly kitschy. If every fashion person screams an indignant “These your fashion people sef”, then who are these unidentifiable fashion people?
In every professional sector or work environment, there are issues such as those addressed above, which though informal, could have serious effects on the successful daily running of the business or sector. Tight competition and unhealthy rivalry, social and business cliques/divisions, Nepotism, ill mannered and uncultured representatives all also affect these more regulated sectors. So this is not exactly exclusive to fashion, it is not a fashion disease, more like a human flaw.
It’s obvious that this deplorable state is ubiquitous, but what’s even more obvious is the dissatisfaction with this state by majority of the industry, so what’s the proposed way forward? ….