November 2, 2009
just a thought – all the rage
It is traditional at fashion weeks around the world – bitching. Whether its the Tuileries dust in your Louboutins (to add insult to injury the shoes are also hurting your feet) or the supreme injustices of seating charts, nothing seems to go with a fashion week better than a fine, over-privileged whine.
You can tell who the newbies are at fashion week. They are the ones who are gobsmacked at the outrageous corruption, the rank amateurism, the pointless pecking orders, and most of all, the reluctance among the “media establishment” to shine light on all of the rotten mess. Ah, yes, we were all newbies once.
You can tell who the total pros are at fashion week. They are the ones who swiftly do their jobs before heading to the exit, all the time with a stony expression hiding their true feelings, and when pressed they will only divulge the most diplomatic of non-statements, the careful choice of wording is like a code that only their fellow veterans can decipher. Its not that they are colluding when they won’t broach the same old fashion week gripes – they’re just bored by them because it is the same every season.
In between, there are all of the various attendees who may or may not be performing useful work – the stylists and accessory designers, public relations teams, proud parents, party animals, favourite clients, local TV personalities, under-appreciated volunteers, bloggerel and doggerel. All lined up cheek to cheek like sardines inside a tiny tent. No wonder wearing love wears thin so quickly. Its enough to send even the most socially sophisticated into ill-fitting rage.
If a fashion week attendee is smart, they will stuff all the rage into a gift baggie, take it home ASAP, shred it into tiny pieces, roll it up snugly and burn it in a purifying ceremony. After all, its just fashion. Chill out.
If a fashion week attendee spends too long at too many fashion weeks, and takes it all too seriously, they will be tempted to start raging online – where rather than purifying, flames have a tendency to spread out of control.
These thoughts are all a preamble to my reaction to this article – one of the worst posts written by a good writer that I’ve ever seen. In the spirit of dispelling the silence we usually hold about these things, I feel compelled to share a few candid thoughts:
- Even good writers can write very badly, but especially so if the assignment is to post reactions and reviews very quickly. There is this idea that blogging’s great advantage is speed. I disagree – but that’s another post.
- If the editors are approving, it may not always be in the blogger’s best interest. Nothing draws traffic like flames – negativity sucks in clicks like oxygen on the internet and it seems like most online news editors don’t distinguish between quantity and quality of traffic for obvious economic incentives. SNP had two right instincts in the first part of the article – “I thought I might feel bad about it” and “I’d rather ignore … their ilk entirely”. Its a shame she didn’t trust her gut on either of these, because the post might have been a good one minus the first half.
- “The unwritten rule of Toronto fashion show reviewing is this: if you can’t say something positive, sssshh.” This is actually the unwritten rule everywhere in fashion reviewing. Its not so much that expressing negativity should never be done – its just that when it is done inexpertly it damages both the subject and the reviewer. A well done negative review should encourage the subject to strive towards improvement – this demonstrates the reviewer is a caring, genuine, intelligent person. A crap negative review angers the subject and reveals the worst character traits of the reviewer. I have learned this the hard way.
- “I’m also pretty secure in knowing that those who matter (editors, peers) approve privately, so those who don’t (anonymous commenters) can screech all they want.” I’m not anonymous and I have no idea if I matter, but I don’t approve, for what its worth. If “former gifted student” is uncalled for, calling someone’s mother a “battleship” should merit an apology, seriously. Listen for the deafening silence – if those who matter don’t approve of your work, they won’t tell you.
Its incredibly difficult to express a negative opinion, and this post just proved that to me all over again. There is nothing wrong about media demanding a higher caliber of work from our designers and fashion show producers, but its far more credible to do it when our own work is beyond reproach. Lets all strive to do better next season.