I’m kind of in love with fashion. And everything that goes with it, the modeling, the photography, the editorial aspect-everything. But of course I don’t know everything. I’m 18, and style and clothes have been ever-changing and evolving since, well, the dawn of time. That makes it virtually impossible for me to know everything-or anyone for that matter. But in my quest for knowledge about all things fashion and the way things work from the inside, I’ve picked up on a pattern.
The sect that most interests me is editorial side of it. I’ve loved fashion magazines since I was a little kid. Coming home from school and seeing my mom’s Vogue subscription in the mailbox gave me chills almost every time. I was so excited to see what was inside, although I had no idea what anything meant or who anyone was. I just liked seeing the beautiful clothes worn by the pretty models photographed with nice cameras. But as I got older, my focus shifted beyond what was physically on the page and what was going on behind the lens. Why was she posed like this?Who picked out her clothes?Why did they choose this picture?What does it mean? These were things I constantly asked myself but I never actually searched for the answers.
I started researching jobs at magazines. I saw the editor-in-chief, the fashion editor, beauty editor, print journalists, art directors. More recently digital editors and social media managers. The list goes on and as technology evolves, so does the industry.
One job stuck out to me though. That was the fashion editor. It’s hard to say for certain what that person does. There are so many responsibilities that can be associated with this person and their job that giving it a definitive definition is difficult. I have such an appreciation for these people though because their insight and their ideas are what drive the magazines so to speak. The influence they have on the fashion community is remarkable and the brilliance and the unique eye that many of them have is even more so.
While watching different videos and documentaries about editorials and fashion and the industry altogether, I stumbled upon one that highlights specific and important moments during the careers of various fashion editors at vogue. This video was amazing and probably one of the best about the industry that I’ve seen. Of course there was mention of women I knew like Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour but there was an entire list of other influential women I didn’t even know existed. Finally seeing the faces behind some of Vogue’s most famous and groundbreaking photos was amazing.
But aside from all the amazing feelings I got from the video. There was one little thing that bothered me. I couldn’t put my finger on it until one of the last scenes. All of the fashion editors, a large group of brilliant women were together taking a photo to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the publication. It was great, watching women who had been a part of the magazine in the 40’s sitting next to current editors was eye-opening.
However,the photo which features only white women, most of them British, serves as a reminder of how diverse the fashion world isn’t. It’s the pattern, that barely budges and evolves with the rest of the world. It’s shocking but at the same time, it really isn’t. We look at the world around us today and say, “Wow look how far we’ve come”, which is true. Significant strides have been made in order make life easier for this generation in comparison to previous ones. But we can also look at the world today and think about how much we still have to achieve. The fashion world is pretty elite and in most parts of the world, elite almost always equals white.
Fashion editors draw inspiration from the world around them and people of color experience the world in ways that others cannot being to fathom. They cannot be accurately represented if the people behind the large publications do not know how to represent them,if the people at the large publications are not them.When you have white women writing for white women, styling photos for white women photographing only white women it’s not hard to guess what kind of person is behind it all.
Putting a black woman on the cover of your magazine is great, it truly is,having more poc walking down the runway is amazing.However,putting one in the planning room, or behind the camera, at the table with the legends, or in positions of power is the most proper way to add color to the evolving industry of fashion.