Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why I Stopped Pursuing Fashion


Before I continue, I should mention that this post isn't intended to fully discriminate against the people who work inside the fashion industry, nor is it intended as a "hate post" or an attack to the fashion business. I think it's a very dynamic, impactful industry, but this post is simply written to illuminate why I'd decided, about more than a year ago, to stop pursuing it as my ~*dream career*~. Because I'd realized that it wasn't.

1. The environmental and social impact
This post was actually heavily inspired by a specific documentary targeting the fashion industry, and all that unravels behind it. The film "The True Cost" points our eyes to much larger issues than just choosing the cutest sweater in that H&M sale.

You might've heard about it, or you might consider the possibility, but either way, we couldn't just neglect the negative impacts the fashion industry is putting onto the world, both environmentally and socially. Liquid waste from fabric factories that pollute a whole village's water supply, leaving them heavily disadvantaged (many born with disabilities and grow to become terminally ill). Not paying attention to their labourers, who are mostly, by the way, women in small third-world countries who are struggling to feed their children. The documentary sort of haunted me, and I'd decided I just didn't want to be a part of something like that. There has been factory fires, soil pollution, and many other cases that these high fashion brands aren't even taking a glance at. 


Sadly, that's what the whole world seems to be doing: neglecting. I hear you, environmentally sustainable fashion is both rare and expensive (hello, Stella McCartney), but it's crucial to take notice of these issues. It helps you consider that shopping haul, or think twice about buying ten different items just because of a sale. Out of this knowledge, I became so much more in love with Emma Watson than I already was, for her choice of only wearing sustainable, eco-friendly clothes to all her appearances and movie premieres. There are many fashion organisations and a handful of people in the industry who are working towards a better change, but that's a lot of ground to cover. Capitalism is real, but it works at the cost of many losses. It's important to be aware, and raise the big question: "How are my clothes made? Who makes them?"

2. A lack of morality
Let me just say that I'm not trying to call all fashion people "immoral" or "cruel" or "vain", as I'm sure many others have judged them to be. But I have found that a fast-paced industry like fashion would tend to prioritise product quality and successful marketing over anything else. What I'm saying is maybe sometimes, kindness comes second. Of course, this probably also applies to many other industries. In fact, I think most successful working adults would live by this concept. 

There's a reason why they have movies like The Devil Wears Prada. Whenever I take a glance at those sitting in the front rows of fashion shows (hello, high fashion executives and editors), it honestly wouldn't seem like they're angels in white dresses. The fashion industry holds explicably high standards. Isn't that what drives them into making those clothes that don't always fit the average American woman? Or why the models on those ads always have skin that is no less than perfect? Isn't that why there's usually very little diversity when it comes to the girls walking up and down the runways? Maybe that's also why so many women contort and alter their bodies and faces to exactly fit into that standard. That size, that face, that look. The "unrealistic beauty standards" we see today are almost entirely influenced by what the fashion industry presents to us.


And the truth is, the industry contributes in serving and encouraging a consumeristic and materialistic lifestyle and behaviour for society in general. Aside from that, I've also heard of so many horror stories from models who have been treated so unfairly with casting agents (circled in the places where they need to "lose fat", left waiting in line for hours on end with no water and food, and the list goes on.) I've seen fashion buyers who walk around with their chin up because of the belief that only their opinion matters (in some cases, they're right.) I've seen how designers work as if they don't need anyone else, and I've heard of my friends who are studying Fashion Design in how their teachers put a lot of pressure on terms of weight and body appearances. Sure, high fashion is great for a glowing career, but maybe not so much for making friends or gaining confidence in yourself. I just feel like it would destroy me mentally. And if the fashion industry is taking a significantly negative environmental or social impact, it seems like very few are taking action for better change. I'm sure there are many great personalities within fashion, and I'm also sure there are some brands or organisations who use fashion as a way to build a positive impact. But one of the reasons I've stopped my "dream in fashion" is because I just didn't want to pursue something and find myself, years later, somewhere shallow.

3. It was just no longer my passion
The story with why I'd decided to pursue fashion design in the first place was because when I was little, I'd always loved to draw. It was all I ever did. I drew faces of girls, I drew their hair, I drew houses, and the one thing I never got tired of was drawing their clothes. In retrospect, I suppose being, well, nine would mean that it was perfectly normal for me to have a fascination towards clothes, style, and other "pretty things". So as I concluded that the things I loved the most in the world were these two: fashion and art, I said to myself, Yep! This means fashion design is the perfect path for me to take!

You can be very, very wrong when you're that young and you think you already have the rest of your life figured out.

As the years went by, I was so excited to start learning more about this ~*fashion*~ business so first, I took fashion design classes. They taught me to draw clothes and colour them, and I loved it to that point. And then they taught me to sew. And I hated it to my gut. Can't I just go back to drawing? I thought. Apparently, unbeknownst to me at that time, wanting to master fashion means you need to be capable of all aspect of fashion. This includes sewing, pattern-making, stitching, measurements, and way way more than just pencil-on-paper action.

At first, I told myself, Well okay, I can deal with that.




I couldn't deal with it.

Years pass by and soon enough I was about to enter high school. At that point, my illustration skills were at its peak, but my sewing knowledge was zero. Obtaining even more knowledge about the fashion world, I began questioning if it was really what I wanted. It was just kind of an epiphany, but instead of a groundbreaking revelation, it simply sounded more like, Wait... Why should clothes matter that much?

I half-forced myself to take sewing classes to sort of align myself with this path that I'd chosen for myself since the years before. I mean, hey, maybe you just have to learn to love it, right? That's when I realised that you can't force yourself to love something you clearly do not. You can't force yourself to be interested in something you're starting to want to avoid. "Passion" doesn't work that way.

So I made the decision. I stumbled upon graphic design, writing, photography, illustration, communication design, and all the things I'm in love with up to this day. And now, as a 17-year-old, I can say that I've truly, finally, figured out what my passion was. My passion was in stories. In people, in making art, in communicating a message, in capturing still images, in video-producing, and in a lot more other things. Now, fashion doesn't even come close. I wasn't as interested in the clothes as much as I was in the people wearing the clothes. I no longer idolize supermodels. I no longer worship high fashion brands or stand in awe of luxury items. They no longer appeal to me, but perhaps, they never really did.

But sure, I still draw.

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Ooh boy, that was a long one! Anyhow, I hope you gained a little bit of understanding while reading this. Again, I am not trying to antagonize the industry. This is all just coming from my own personal thoughts and opinions and experiences, the points I made were mostly highly subjective. I just needed to write about it and get it out of my system. :-)

If you read it, leave a comment below! It'd be cool to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I'll see you around.






7 comments :

  1. This post has enlightened me. I really never sat and thought about fashion from such a holistic point of view just merely at the surface. You mentioned very keys, I will always remember.

    Delaine | http://delainemyles.com

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  2. It's good for you to realise what are the things that will suit you or not. I was also an aspiring fashion designer since I was a high schooler, but knowing the harsh reality of the industry, like women objectification, unrealistic body expectation, and some other things you had point out, belittled me. I took the same path as yours in visual storytelling and be a graphic designer (and illustrator) instead. I didn't regret my decision and I love doing what I'm doing up to this day. :)

    Never give up on your dreams, dear! :)

    P.S. I envy you because you write so well! :'D

    Best regards,
    http://www.novreica.blog

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    Replies
    1. Ahh it's great to hear that! Thank you for such a lovely comment, you've definitely motivated me in some way <3
      And thank you so much!

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  3. This is truly an enlightening post. Thanks for being brave enough to share your thoughts on this.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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    1. Jess! Thank you so much for stopping by!! <3

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  4. when you said that you were only 17 I was shocked! you speak and write as though you are much older and i wish i had as much maturity and thoughts about the world as you do when I was your age!
    its great that you are sharing this message, a lot of people celebrate fast fashion still and are either naively unaware of its impact or just choose to ignore it.

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