the alephes
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Anonymous: Why is the fashion industry full of elitists?


If by “elitists” you mean people who don’t accept wool instead of cashmere, who emphasise the superiority of haute couture over ready to wear, who understand the difference between “cost” and “worth,” who don’t believe that because what you makes ends up on someone’s back it is inherently valueless, pointless, and purely functional - then the industry is full of them by its very nature.

Vivienne Westwood once said she believed in elitism because fashion isn’t about pleasing everyone all of the time. It’s about the few pushing forward, doing something brave, and new, and exciting. We don’t have nations of brilliant people. We have an elite few who pull the rest of us, kicking and screaming, into the light. You get that in science, literature, art and fashion. 

I suspect you mean elitism pejoratively, though. In which case I’d like to point out that fashion’s elitism is intellectual, or rather creative. John Galliano is the son of a plumber, an immigrant from Gibraltar. Lee Alexander McQueen was the son of an East London cab driver. My father is an electrical foreman, my parents are working class. I am working class. And I worked for my success. So did John and Lee, and many many others. There are privileged people in fashion, as there are in all trades. But you’re only as good as the clothes you put on someone’s back. Plenty of people have tried to buy their way into fashion, most have failed.

And besides, fashion ends up on people’s backs. All kinds of people. It affects the lives of the masses, whether they realise it or not. That must be one of the least elitist things in the world.

Um, the fashion industry is elitist because it operates under the premise of distinction. It is necessarily elitist, because it posits itself as being superior to non-industry forms of stylistic leadership.

It is elitist because that is precisely how it obtains its influence. If it didn’t create a group of ‘fashionistas who are in the know’ and ‘common ignorant folk’ then its status would be rendered inert. 

It is is elitist despite its preference for fabrics that only in the last 50 or so years have become incredibly scarce, desirable and therefore luxurious. And even when it uses inexpensive materials, it’s still elitist because it states that they are now cool again; as opposed to when ordinary individuals use them, since they’re just doing it out of ignorance ofc. 

It is elitist even if those who operate within it come from a working class background. Literally, this has zero relevance to the topic and the fact that it was brought up serves to prove the idiocy of Fury’s answer.

Regardless of whether it ends up on people’s backs or if it trickles down into department stores. The reason why it is permitted to do so is because it posits itself as the only one who is suitably allowed to do so. 

Fuck this bullshit. I love pretty clothes and the inventiveness of designers but let’s not forget that fashion, in its current state, is about pieces of cloth, money and class distinction.