Fashion week (or month, really) never fails to remind me of all that I dislike about the fashion world—in the last 5-8 years, that is, when show going has rapidly metastasized into little more than a braggy, narcissistic endeavor. The onslaught of so-called news now delivered at this time regarding each show, celeb sighting, and inevitable blogger collaboration entirely drowns itself out, rendering all of it—for me, at least—tired and dull. Where I once used to visit Style.com every day to ogle the latest collections and read a review or two, I now rarely view the collections at all. At least not with intention. I still seem to pick up on greatest hits and “crucial sidenotes” simply from using social media, where everyone feels inclined to share their blurry front row pictures or random insights on the latest fur coat equivalent of Kate Moss.
Disliking this bombardment is no revelation—endless think pieces have been contrived, the new scene’s merits and demerits widely debated. What saddens me, and is a symptom mentioned less often in those writings, is how all the noise has contributed to my growing distance from what I once was a fiend for: fashion itself. Together with my own personal experiences in the industry—which have been slight, but still significant for how they’ve portrayed that world—I find myself suddenly running away from it all, like it’s some shitty ex-lover with whom I’ve finally seen the light.
Of course, it’s not all bad. I’ve made some awesome relationships in this realm and met people who I respect and admire with all the weight of a stuffed Birkin bag. But they have been the absolute exceptions in a sea sprinkled significantly with the superficial and bitchy. Cue the recent interview I went to at a major fashion house, in which the three stunted-circa-high-school interviewers texted the entire time without looking at me once. Civilized? Polite? Not exactly. In fact, they seemed insulted by my presence. What the hell was I even doing there? I asked myself. And it dawned on me that I didn’t even want to be there—that I no longer had any, as they say, “passion for fashion.” Instead, it is just a comfort, as any continued habit becomes over time. Fashion is now second nature to me—the notion of liking it, following it, discussing it—but it’s no longer what I, present Jessica, really want to be consumed with.
I can’t knock fashion for changing—transformation is inevitable—but I’ve realized that a lot of those changes only serve to highlight the ways in which fashion has stayed painfully the same. Career hunting shouldn’t be a bed of roses, and in most professional environments it’s not, but must it be a live action Mean Girls? Must the mass of fashion peoples’ varying insecurities be projected on to innocent bystanders who are deemed offensive if they’re not willing to lick dirty feet, or, even worse, if they smile? Why can’t friendly be the norm, with fuck you the attitude of only a few?
And then there’s all that’s behind this pervasive attitude—the art you stay for, if you will. It’s still there, in places, though it’s so subsumed by frivolous nonsense (see: the orgy of new shopping apps, the street style galleries that regurgitate the same old shit) that you’re practically forced to ignore it. Finding the spark behind it all is now a constant game of hide and seek, in which the hider breaks the rules and ducks somewhere off limits. When and if you find them, you’re just exhausted and annoyed.
Dejected, you’re left with endless platforms for spending money (or platforms with the sole goal of pointing you in that direction), and very few that promote the artistry behind the market. In lieu of female empowerment, you’re left only with make-up tips, diet tips, or “how to make your arms look thinner.” And, more than anything, you’re left with picture-perfect (or as recent ‘scandals’ highlight, picture-perfected) blogatrixes, most of whom cash in on random product placement beneath strained attempts at authenticity.
Am I nauseous because it’s truly nauseating, or is it nauseating because I’m prone to nausea? Who knows. But I need a break the size of ALT, and possibly, for good. So, I’m cutting myself off from my mindless AM blog crawl and general fashion trolling throughout the day. Like separating the good fat from the bad, I will indulge only what fashion-centric platforms (or books, those resilient things) leave me thinking—lately I particularly enjoy the writing in Porter magazine (in itself a surprise given the whole Net-a- connection) and browsing through my old Rizzoli Stylist book, a compilation of styling work from some of the greats. I think I’ll be just peachy not knowing who sat front row at Alex Wang, what Giovanna Battaglia plans to wear to Gucci, how thirty different bloggers are trying to sell me the latest “hip” sneakers, or which pointy-toed pumps are on sale. In fact, I’ll probably have a lot more time for the things I really care about—and not simply those that are habitual, and, like doughnuts, easy, empty calories.
I’ll keep you posted on my incredibly brave adventure away from the depths of sartorial la la land. Please only intervene if I start wearing sweatpants everyday, or mumbling incessantly about the need to trample Vogue for good (but seriously, more on that later).