As sparkly as the fashion world may look from the outside, there are some things within the biz that many fashion editors admit to not always being so crazy about. Here are a few at the top of the list…
1. Fashion Week
I can already see you rolling your eyes at the screen over this one. For the record, yes -- editors do have a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with Fashion Week. And yes, we do have the enviable privilege of being able to see collections before everyone else, but the kid-in-a-candy-store energy that we wake up with on that first Thursday morning has usually started to ebb by Sunday afternoon.
It is replaced by crushing fatigue and the onset of vaguely flu-like symptoms brought on by too much caffeine (and champagne), not enough solid food. Between barely having the chance to eat between shows (losing a few pounds during NYFW is a given), hobbling back and forth across town in skyscraper heels, grasping for compelling and concise prose to describe every collection you see and the persistent low-level fear of not making it to a show on time, it can be enough to make even the most die-hard among us doubt our career.
Or drink. I, for one, am always secretly jealous of the people that I see at Lincoln Center drinking wine before to the 9am show-“If only I were a wino,” I tell myself, “this would be much easier.”
2. Where are the Brown People?
This is an issue that obviously requires a discourse far beyond the purposes of this story, but it is a major source of irritation for fashion editors of color that I know.
Just about every point of contact within the industry -- from bookers at modeling agencies, to the mastheads of the major fashion print books and to the designers themselves, there is a glaring lack of real minority presence, especially African-Americans.
Breaking into fashion is a Herculean feat, and it can be a strange sort of mean girls coven regardless of your ethnicity, but this business seems to be on the shortlist of places where upfront racism is tolerated (i.e., “We’re not casting black girls for our show this season”).
An increasing number of publications are shining a much brighter light on the problem, but as with the ongoing discussion regarding underage and underweight models, there is the sense that it has become a circular conversation -- going nowhere, accomplishing nothing.
3. Being Absolutely Fabulous
I am not the first one to propose the theory that the fashion industry, in an almost singular way, tends to attract some rather interesting people with ego management issues. But by the time we get to the point in our careers where we are responsible for the production of significant parts of a publication, we do not have the time or desire to navigate the various neuroses and pathologies that seem to be endemic to fashion people.
Don’t get me wrong, artists often have personalities that lend themselves to the creation of heartbreakingly gorgeous work, but dealing with affectations and mercurial moods is not my idea of a good time. Being in fashion is what we do, it is not a state of being.
If you recall that designer from Project Runway who frequently referred to himself in the third person, you then have some idea of what I mean. Again, this is something that is present at every level of the industry. Stop. Just stop.
4. Unprofessional Professionals
Where to start, where to start with this one… from attempted bribery by PRs in exchange for editorial placements to unwanted advances from photographers, etc., fashion is rife with all sorts of unsavory behavior.
One editor said that she thinks that there is an “inherent undercurrent of hedonism” in the industry that leads people to behave in ways that would not be acceptable in other fields. Not sure if that is the root of the problem, but it seems that everyone has a horror story. Or five.
5. Admitting That We Wouldn’t Want to be Doing Anything Else
So now you probably have the distinct impression that we are all ungrateful harpies, clawing at the hand that feeds us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just like you complain about your jobs, we complain about ours now and then.
Can Fashion Week be annoying at times? Yes. But when we are finally in our seats and the first look hits the runway, the next 15-20 minutes is often amazing and beautiful and there is nowhere else in the world we would rather be. Do we love it when our perfectly planned editorial shoot runs an hour or two over? No. But when we see the story in a magazine, getting home at 10 pm from a shoot that started at 8 am makes it all worth it.