The Joy and Sorrow of Fashion

Credits: Photo - Kaycee Foy, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Alley in Hillhurst

Nearly everyday when I’m doing my usual Internet fashion scans I see headlines along the lines of, “Ahhhhhhh, the fashion industry is changing!” A look at the overhaul of fashion weeks, leadership changes, and the speed of collections all point as supporting proof to this evolution. Some of it is well overdue and some feels too drastic. What’s what depends on who you are and what you believe.

A recent article where Lucinda Chambers provide the “inside baseball” look at some of the challenges she faced in fashion over her 30+ year career fills me with sorrow. I’ll be honest. Parts of it are gross.

I am saddened to be reminded of how the business abuses its power to force creators to churn out product after product at a ridiculous rate. It’s a bummer to learn how deals made with advertisers, models, and other influencers dictate the content. Often times it’s not bipartisan editorial, rather, it’s often privately endorsed for the sake of the magazines bottom line.

Maybe the worst to deal with is learning just how cut throat fashion brands can be at attracting talented people with promises to support yet will oust them at the slightest – in their eyes – misstep.

The standout theme to me is that the greed of this industry - and I believe greed is apparent in every industry to a certain extent – seems to be a primary driver. We are becoming increasingly aware of how this drive is burning insiders, consumers, and the planet out.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Many are aware and are participating in the push back on over–the-top consumerism. Certain shoppers align their beliefs and values with brands that live up to those standards. They put their money where their heart – and mouth – is. Finger snaps to you my conscious fashion friend.

The article, as sad as it was, made me curious about whom out there is still having fun? Is there any joy left in the fashion world? Fret not. There is a beacon of light out there. Ladies and gentleman, Celine Dion is here to remind us of all the good and damn she is bright.

After the loss of her partner early last year Celine worked through her grief partly through fashion. She reached out to Law Roach, stylist superstar, to reinvigorate her style. I fear that reinvigorate is lacking the written word gravitas for what they are giving us. In a world where “effortlessness” and “cool” are regarded with such applause, it is delightfully refreshing to me to see someone give a shit. I could not be more over people saying, “Oh I don’t care about how I look.” Celine Dion cares. She cares perhaps more visibly heart-on-her-sleeve than any other fashion “it” person right now.

What's so great about Celine? She openly shares the behind the scene details of putting her looks together. She can hardly wait to name the artists and team behind the clothing she wears. She claps, smiles, and cheers at runway shows in a see of straight-faced onlookers. She is lifting people up.

What I find standout is that she actually buys the clothing. I’m not sure how well known it is that a high ranking celebrity rarely purchase the clothing they wear to red carpets, awards, fashion shows, press tours, and other high profile events. It is more typical for a designer to lend the clothing or even pay a fee for wearing their brand in exchange for the profile it receives.

Celine’s shopping is giving us joy. She is reminding me what is so special behind fashion. Fashion can inspire, ignite, grieve, or help to emit whatever emotion is happening to the person wearing it. Simply put, fashion can be a tool of self-expression. A garment alone cannot compare to what happens when a garment is put on a person fitting enough to wear it.

There are always two – if not three or more – sides to every story. For every sad detail we learn about the truths of fashion, I ask you too to remember the good. Celine is good. Celine is giving us life.