The Misconceptions of the Fashion Industry

The general public has many stereotypes about the fashion world. Models are anorexic. Male designers are gay. Female designers are shrewd. People in the industry are shallow airheads. Everyone is French or Italian.

Unfortunately, as with any stereotype, a very tiny percentage of people do actually fit it. But it's a small percentage. No more are the stereotypes least fitting than with the people who work in the fashion industry under the designers and publications. While less industry-knowledgable family members may roll their eyes or cringe slightly when telling others their son or daughter "works in fashion", there's so much more to the job than they realize. Most of this you don't know unless you've gone into the belly of the beast and experienced it first hand.

Andre Talley, American editor-at-large
 for Vogue magazine

Roberto Cavall,i Italian 
fashion designer

While you don't have to be smart to buy something fashionable, you do have to be smart if you're the person getting it from the sketchpad to the rack. On the business side, workers have private school educations, advanced business degrees, were valedictorians, had a $100,000 in academic scholarships, and the list goes on and on. Yes, more often than not they also love fashion and dressing, but they also love business, marketing, PR and branding.

Then there are those who write about fashion. Combine someone who writes breaking news and add knowledge of trend cycles, then factor in different characters and their personalities, art history and analysis of how it affects the future and you have a fashion news story. It's more than getting quotes, writing an interesting lede and making a deadline.

 Anna Wintour, British-born editor-in-chief 
of American Vogue

Kelly Coutrone, an American fashion
 publicist and the founder 
People's Revolution

At the beginning of the cycle of fashion are the designers. Designers must have extensive knowledge of the business side of the industry, as well as knowledge of trends and history. Fashion pulls from environment, modern and classic art, movies, music and writing. Collections must be consistent and cohesive, and choices must make sense. While it is their own creativity they're putting on paper or on a dress form, it's critics and consumers who will make a collection successful and if they don't get it, no one's going to buy it.

Mood board, the process 

Gene Fall: Winter 2012 - 2013
Divka Fall/Winter 2012 - 2013

Many young 20-somethings these days are caught up in a romanticizes version of struggling in the working world. Some young artists cling to the idea of "starving", living off pasta and peanut butter. Young writers not-so-secretly want to live in a run-down apartment and only shop at thrift stores until they make it big at the New York Times. Kids with advertising degrees jump for joy at the idea of being kicked around by higher-ups at a non-profit no one's ever heard of (though very few will ever admit it). This is what's different about people who work in fashion; Yes many are poor, and they love free food and cheap rent just as much as the next person, but they sure aren't going to act like it. Some young writers or artists drink to get away from all the problems of the world they see and document every day. People in fashion drink in celebration. We laugh, love life and enjoy what we do without ever pausing to consider an alternative. We get up early. We look good. We work hard. Because when it comes down to it, fashion is fun, and if you're not going to have fun when you're young, then when are you going to do it?