Fashion has continued to amaze us since the time clothes were a thing.
Think about it, in the 1860’s, if someone told them that “mom jeans” and “crop tops” were going to be a thing in 150 years, they would have laughed in our faces.
But that’s the beauty about fashion, it is constantly changing. It is the beauty about life, really.
Ew, I’m being super deep right now, but it’s true!
Fashion has been around for so many ages, and the fascinating thing is how far it has come. There were times when fashion wasn’t even important, and there are times when it is all that matters. Fashion defines who you are as a person, but it can also strip you of your identity and give you a new one.
A good way of how we can see this change is from the documentary, In Vogue: The Editors Eye (2012). Vogue has been around since 1892, when the magazine was first published. Though the magazine has been around for so many years, and the general purpose of the magazine is the same, it is a completely different magazine from when it first came out.
And a very important reason of why Vogue Magazine has changed is not because of the fashion itself, but because of the people behind the scenes — the editors. Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films comments on these amazingly influential people, stating that “The images found in the pages of Vogue exist as true works of art and the editors themselves are gifted, yet often unassuming, artists.”
Yes, the editors.
It is people like Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, who shape and even predict how fashion will turn out in the months to come. People like her know when little things will change, and these ultimately make the big changes when we compare the present season to any other season. In the documentary, Wintour even sees this change, as she states, “The whole way that we look at fashion today has shifted so dramatically.” However, she embraces this change as she says, “Fashion is a reflection of our times.”
Boy could that be more true.
And to add to that, it is the editors that set how fashion is represented in its time. You don’t just see models walking around like they actually know what they’re doing, right? Of course not! That’s what editors are for, to edit clothing over time — and with good taste, too.
When the consumer sees the visions of the editors, they get a new perspective on fashion as well. It is all about how fashion is represented in the industry, and how it trickles down to people like you and me (nobodies).
In Vogue: The Editors Eye –
So as the editors change, the visions of each editor changes, and therefore fashion changes, right?
(disclaimer: technically right but there’s so much more to it!)
Where do I start? I guess it depends on when money started becoming the most powerful thing on the planet. But I’m pretty sure that’s been going on forever.
Anyway, the business of fashion might be more important than the fashion itself. What’s clothes without a price tag? More importantly, what’s clothes without people willing to pay for the price tag?
I guess we can assume at one point in time that clothes used to be free because they were just pieces of leaves or grass tied to their bodies, but we certainly aren’t cavemen anymore, I like to think we’ve changed a little.
At least our mannerisms have changed.
BUT now clothes cost money (unfortunately) so now we have a business!
Teri Agins, who started writing for fashion at the Wall Street Journal in 1989, knows quite a lot about the business of fashion. Her journalism experience was “quite unusual back then” as she would explain it, because nobody would question the fashion industry on anything other than the fashion itself.
She continued by saying something that really changed my perspective of the fashion industry. She said that when she interviewed people for stories, she, “always had to interview consumers…Consumers were just as much experts on the product as Wall Street Journal analysts.”
That’s insane to me.
It’s insane because today we rely so heavily on the consumer of the product that we forget about the product.
Industries worry so much about the people who are experiencing these products or brands, and it affects the way we see fashion as more than just clothes. Therefore, fashion journalists tend to write differently based on how much we worry about consumers.
First, I’m going to compare the power of consumers to something we’re all familiar with…
HEAR ME OUT – McDonalds now has breakfast ALL DAY. BREAKFAST…whenever we want it. Crazy. Or how Burger King just puts chicken fries back on the menu after they said it was a limited time offer. Dude, if it’s limited time, why are you going back on your word and putting it back on the menu???
It’s because consumers wanted it. Simple as that. I guess we must’ve complained about it that much that we made a huge difference in the fast food industry.
Now that we understand how serious the consumer is in any industry, we can bring this power over to the fashion industry.
Blogs have been so popular recently when it comes to fashion journalism and how we constructively criticize it. Agins, however, has a negative connotation on blogs, saying it’s, “not real journalism”.
I tend to agree with her in this statement because, although it is a great way for people to express their opinions, anyone can do it. Having a blog doesn’t necessarily make you a professional in fashion, but people tend to rely heavily on bloggers because they can get a lot of information off of it.
I also have to disagree with Agins, simply because blogging is so powerful in the fashion industry. Blogs are made up of the voices of consumers, and without their voices, professional or not, the industries will have nothing to base their products off.
A Bloomingdales marketing manager shed some more light on the subject of bloggers, and she has quite a different opinion on them. She says that, “bloggers are lifestyle influencers and it’s very important to have a close relationship with them.” They know what’s up in the fashion industry AND consumer population — it’s the best of both worlds!
Sure, their are surveys and actual journalists, but sometimes it’s good to have an Average Joe opinion.
And the opinions of consumers is sooooo very important in how fashion can change, especially for the better.
My favorite example is of how they changed Barbie.
Barbie has been around for plenty of year with the same, all too perfect, look. It was all fun and games until people started to realize how unrealistic Barbie’s figure is. Some people even took it to a new level and found out that if she was scaled to a life-size person, she would not be able to walk on her own.
As more and more people came to this realization, especially parents, they stopped buying Barbie dolls and bought other toys that didn’t objectify their children in the process (a pretty solid idea). That’s when Barbie came out with their newest dolls that come in Curvy, Petite, and Tall.
Why This Change Relates To Us
“Us” meaning my petite friends out there. Why could I write one article without putting some of my attention on my favorite people in the whole entire world?
If you didn’t realize this by now, one very important aspect of fashion has changed for the better. That is how fashion has been more accepting of bodies as it ever has been.
Sure, we have some way to go, but I think now more than ever is a great time to be accepting of your body whether it’s long, petite, or curvy.
Rachel Leonard, an associate in the bridal industry, said that there are many designs for bridal gowns now than there have ever been, even for petites! There are specific silhouettes for each body type, so that the bride can look their very best on the big day. This furthers the change in fashion and fashion journalism, as with every change comes a large voice.
We can compare this to another big change in fashion — celebritization. Teri Agins brings this up as “one of the most influential things to have happened in fashion.” Celebrities look the part, and we try to look like them.
Had to use my Kardashian/Jenner girls for their voluptuous booties.
But this is exactly what’s in right now. Definitely not the skin n’ bones skinny that used to be in. Celebrities are helping, in a way, but embracing their curves instead of being ashamed of them (even if they got a little work done to get their).
The change from skinny to curvy is one big change in the fashion industry, because for a very long time skinny was the only beautiful look, but now we realize there is so many more.
Celebritization has also affected Vogue Magazine. More celebrities have been on covers than actual models. This is, in a way, a good thing because these curvaceous stars are being broadcasted all over the world, maybe even a little too much, but nonetheless they are being shown. Supermodels have a set look, but celebrities cannot help if they are famous and wanted on magazine covers.
Look at these beautiful, CURVY, women on a Vogue Magazine! I bet 1892 didn’t expect this either, but it happened!
They probably didn’t expect pictures, either, but that’s besides the point.
But this is how journalism has changed in fashion. There are no longer any editors that bite their nails posting a photo of a curvy celebrity because it shows that they are empowering their magazine.
We no longer have to wait for runway fashion because “ready to order” fashion has lines in department stores the next day. THE NEXT DAY!!!
I just want to touch on this a little more. Think of how easy it would be as a journalist to see the clothes one day and have them the next? There’s no better way to write an accurate article when the clothes are right in front of you.
To conclude, there’s so many ways that fashion journalism has changed, and this ultimately changed fashion itself. When consumers saw something, they said something, and we know now how much consumers affect the fashion industry. We now have changed a lifestyle from body shamming to body empowering, and now little kids will grow up knowing that they are OK just the way they are. We also have a completely different type of fashion business because of bloggers and their relationships with companies.
Fashion and its perspectives have changed and will continue to change, but it’s nothing to be scared of because of the wonderful opportunities fashion has to offer. Keep on writing bloggers!! Keep on consuming!!