We Need To Talk About the ‘F’ Word
By Yasmin Jones-Henry
‘Oh No She Didn’t!’ is the phrase that springs to mind. ‘You have got to be joking me!’ is perhaps a term more typically used by my fellow Brits and of course ‘What The Hell!!!’ (WTH) is an expletive universally understood across the globe. These were all variations of the same feelings of horror and genuine disgust as I opened my instagram account Tuesday morning.
For those of you who are not in the loop, Monday night – as is the first Monday in May – every year, was not just a Bank Holiday for us in the UK, but one of the most important dates in the fashion calendar. It was the night of the much feted Met Ball. Listen, I like looking at pretty people wearing pretty dresses. If you have read any of my other articles this childhood past-time is one that I still indulge from time to time. So imagine my disappointment when, as I scrolled through my instagram newsfeed, at the pictures and captions provided by some of the leading fashion magazines, I discovered that to my surprise, there was not much to look at.
I make that statement literally. It seems to be a growing trend that showing up to high profile events fully clothed is now considered a fashion faux pas. (“Are you for serious?!”). I tried not to choke on my coffee when I had mistakenly expected certain publications to point out that perhaps some attendees had missed the point of a fashion gala in that the requirement for entry – was the expectation of arriving in something ‘fashionable’. But alas, it was not to be. In the advent of echo chambers and fake news, ladies and gentleman may I present to you ‘Fake Fashion’. In case you hadn’t heard, it’s all the rage on social media right now. It demands that respectable fashion publications and journalists alike, fawn, congratulate, drool and trip over themselves while they applaud mediocre, lacklustre public figures for the unimaginative decision to venture outside in next to nothing.
“Confessions are good for the soul” – I have been told. So here is my confession: I tried. I tried desperately not to speak on this subject, in the hope that eventually this decade long obsession with ‘baring all’ would subside. But, my dear reader, as you will be well aware, it has not. If anything, more layers have been removed until nothing, and I mean nothing, has been left to the imagination.
Let me explain to you why this is dangerous. Certain public figures, who need not be named, have proven that filming, publishing and distributing a sex tape can be a lucrative business. While others, cash in on the notoriety to buy themselves favours within the fashion and media sectors. This influence is then monetized by advertisers who see that such notoriety brings with it millions of followers, most of whom are vulnerable young girls and impressionable young men. Exhibitionism has replaced real entrepreneurialism meanwhile the safety and well being of the minds of the future has been sacrificed at the altar of the green god of money.
‘Fashion’ the display of genuine craftsmanship, ingenuity and skill has been supplanted by ‘fake fashion’. It is the nemesis of creativity and progress. The editors and journalists use all the same jargon that they would use when describing a genuine work of art – except the item in question is a counterfeit. A mockery of the art form that has served, fed and clothed millions for centuries.
Why do I take this so personally? Well, look at it this way. As the models and designers leave less and less to the imagination with the more they ‘dare to bare’, the less imagination is actually required when dealing with fashion, from both the manufacturer and the viewer alike. Why is this dangerous? A lack of imagination is dangerous territory for society. I have said before that fashion is the beacon in society that dictates to the masses what to do and when. It is also the arbitrator of what is acceptable. If people are being conditioned to use their imagination less and less – when it comes to fashion, self advertisement and self expression, then we should all be afraid.
Imagination – the fertile soil from which creativity springs forth, is the bedrock of society as we know it. When society is conditioned to abandon skill and imagination, it is not only art that suffers. Civilisations, architecture, bridges, infrastructure, medical breakthroughs and technological developments are all the children of imagination. They too will be endangered. People who scoff at fashion as something that is futile, and frivolous have not understood the purpose of it. Yes, ‘fashion’ may count some frivolous and vapid humans amongst its followers but they are not the real ambassadors.
Work In Fashion was designed out of a genuine desire to re-educate the masses in what fashion actually is. It is an art form. It is what you make it. It is a form of self expression. A platform upon which to display the height of aesthetic beauty and manufacturing skill. It appears some have forgotten. I will remind them.
Until next time…