Fashion is often perceived to be superficial and expensive, so in collaboration with British Vogue, Alexa Chung tries to go beneath the industry to how it really works. We take a closer look at the episodes of her Future of Fashion and what London youth can take from it.
Words : Teh Athira Yusof, Subeditor: Christie Bannon
The episodes cover the questions from viewers, mainly the youth, who are interested in the fashion industry. Chung met and enquired the questions to creative directors, fashion editors and people around the fashion world discussing social media and the huge opportunities in the fashion industry besides just being a fashion designer.
What’s truly interesting about the interviews is the fact, that all agreed that education is really important. As Christopher Kane mentioned; “training is really important” while his work experiences with renowned fashion houses are “worth more than money itself”.
Sarah Mower, British Fashion Council ambassador for emerging talent, told Chung how important education is for the fashion industry and how BFC is encouraging philanthropists to help fund talented students to study fashion. The point of having education in fashion is to create continuity within the industry, so past graduates will be able to hire future graduates. Mower added that “the UK’s fashion industry is worth around £28 billion,” which makes it a very profitable industry indeed. Students should have the luxury of applying for grants for a profitable industry and BFC is trying to make it possible for future talented students.
Chung met with the creative students of Central Saint Martins and interviewed them to capture the reality of starting their career in the industry. It is clear that studying and financing the fashion course is one of the major setbacks. One student did not want to disclose her spending but another said that it will take around £4,000 to make a collection. While Molly Goddard did her show at Somerset House, complete with an after party where the press and buyers attended, it landed Goddard her first slot at London’s Dover Street market. It is harder to just present your collection on the runway as you need to be creative on promoting your work through social media.
Social media is no stranger to Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, as he uses it to promote the brand he worked for particularly on Instagram. Plus, they discussed how social media is beginning to be such an essential tool in the fashion world. WGSN director of brands, Lauretta Roberts said “the future of fashion is online where people can start their careers by blogging and learning how to code.” It is also possible now to tap into fashion trends through search profiles and by analysing postings online.
Social media had created a change on body image and diversity, so what’s beginning to change the fashion industry is how the creative directors are trying to cast more diverse looks. As Chloé’s creative director, Clare Waight Keller told Chung, the fashion house would only cast girls above 18 years old and real women. While Next Model Management had a new talent division, casting people from all walks all life to model for them such as bloggers, Kristina Bazan and Chung’s best friend, Harley Viera Newton.
As Chung explored the industry, the current most searched job on Google is how to become a personal shopper. She interviewed Selfridges’ personal buyer, Judd Crane. Personal shopping does not mean buying things you like but the items that speak volumes and attract customers. Also, if you studied visual merchandising or have experience with retail, then there’s a high chance of becoming a personal shopper. Nonetheless, what we get from the interviews is that education is important too even in the creative world.
Chung relates on why she did the documentary, as she would want to show the public that there’s more depth in the fashion industry. She recounts her personal experiences as a model and she decided that show that the fashion industry is actually a very fun place to work in and a student noted that, she expected the fashion world to be unapproachable but was surprised by how helpful everyone is. So, those snobbish girls in Devil Wears Prada are quite the myth.
The whole documentary focuses on the experiences people in the fashion industry faced even before the start of social media and now is using online to create a new side of the fashion industry. It serves as a good guide for younger generation to figure out whether the fashion industry is for them or not.
Watch the full documentary here.