Is fashion elitist?
Ever been interested in the fashion industry as much as I am? Perhaps the glitz and glamour of the Lagos Fashion Week fascinate you too! And of course there are the models, [mostly] skinny and beautiful; gracefully-composed/poised as they walk the runways. Such sophistication! Yet, we must all agree that mainstream fashion represent the perfect example of what everybody longs for but can hardly get to have. Why is that?
Across the world, the fashion industry is such a closely-knit, exclusively-wealthy and obviously elitist circle. Those beautiful clothes and accessories are reserved for those who are rich enough to afford them. Indeed, no hungry human can afford to buy a Lanre Da Silva dress or a Zizi Cardow dress. It is almost as if there is a pact between the superrich and the fashion industry experts to make it an all wealth affair, dedicated solely to those who are moneyed and classy. Perhaps by deliberately making fashion elitist, those involved justify Hadley Freeman’s opinion that “fashion that is not elite is just clothing”.
“Rampant elitism is the cornerstone of fashion’s foundation garments. It’s like… I wear Alexander McQueen, therefore I am part of a select group that can afford it. Fashion has such a sense of self-importance it comes with a dry-clean-only label as standard…”
So why exactly is fashion so elitist? Well the fact that it can be F***ing expensive forms the basis. Big fashion brands anywhere in the world are quite the luxury items and only those with real disposable income can afford them! Consequently, the price tag automatically excludes a wide range of any given population. They can only be the spectators, looking from outside the circle and never able to have an insider’s feel. Such is the way of fashion.
But the belief that fashion must be elitist to thrive comes with very many negative implications. And this can be blamed on the “matriarchs” of the industry. These are the fashion designers themselves, the Creative Directors and the Brand Ambassadors whom can be summarily grouped as “Complete bitches”. These set of humans [perhaps not all] are totally obnoxious in their ways. They feel they alone can dictate everything there is to know about fashion. More so, because they earn quite the money by selling to their select clientele, they inevitably feel like they are the richest and most sophisticated people. They have the highest expectations of newbies, including their demands that models be skinny and extremely beautiful. These recruitment yardsticks are set despite the fact that those who set them more often fail to meet the “standards” themselves. And then there is the unfortunate aspect of the entire situation- the fact that the “matriarch’s” obnoxiousness overtime [inevitably] robs off on the “recruits” and sadly contributes in further perpetuating this culture of “perfect imperfections”.
There is a lot on my mind on this topic and I daresay most of them aren’t patronizing. So I will just cut it short by saying that the fashion industry is such an important sector of our economy and society. And in order to ensure its longevity and continued success, it’s imperative that the prevalent culture of classism and “bitchcraftery” be done away with; please!
Written by Emmanuel Abara Benson