Thank God for the untarnished innocence of youth. I just received this question on my Diary asking if it was possible to get ahead in fashion if you don't go to the scene parties, or get your photo taken by the right people, with the right people, or take drugs; or if there was any way of avoiding all of the aforementioned? Here's my honest answer: Who you know will often trump what you know. Fashion seems to be the industry that this applies to the most. A lot of it is shmoozing people you may not have been friends with otherwise because you all happen to work in the same industry, and about going to fashion/scene parties and getting your photograph taken. The more visible a person is at those fashion/scene parties, the cooler they are perceived to be. So with that in mind, how you look is also just about as important as who you know, which, let’s not forget, is ultimately more important than what you know. Therefore, it pays to be tall, thin, beautiful and young, with plenty of famous friends.
As for drugs and alcohol, I obviously don’t think that they’re necessary or conducive to creativity. And we're lucky in New Zealand that our fashion industry does not have any drug culture to speak of. Alcohol, on the other hand, is consumed with gleeful voracity.
The most ironic thing about a lot of these people that everybody aspires to be (and bear in mind that I’m making a sweeping generalisation here), is that they’re just as unhappy as anybody else. There’s no joy in being liked for superficial reasons – because they're beautiful or well-connected or they can get somebody into a party/magazine/fashion show.
Don’t forget that nothing is as glamorous as it seems from the outside. John Galliano's recent fall from grace is testimony to that fact. Like Anja Rubik said, speaking about the exploitation of models, "I don't think it will ever change because... There are too many girls who would do the job if you don't do it, so I don't think it's possible to unite all of the girls say, 'No, we want this and these conditions.' I think that's crazy, It'll never happen. I think it's mission impossible."
The same goes for the industry as a whole. It's a business based on selling an impossible ideal of beauty, happiness, coolness and, at the end of the day, clothing. If somebody takes a stand against it, there'll always be a million people just waiting to take their place. The only way to stay sane is to take it all with a grain of salt. And to keep friends outside of the industry.
So to answer the question, is it possible to get ahead without becoming part of the scene? Sure it is – some people have done it. But they're the exception, not the rule.
I LIKE YOU!