In the aftermath of Fashion Revolution Week, I can’t help but be in awe of the quality and variety of fashion journalism building awareness for this cause. Although the concept is magnified within the week of 24th-30th of April, the revolution continues on a daily basis asking consumers to question their favourite designers, “Who made my clothes?” Resulting in building a more aware and ethically concerned consumer.
Journalists and the media need to be at the forefront of educating their audiences on this topic. However, we can somewhat be let down by the mass media not taking fashion issues seriously.
Its only ever so often that a fashion story hits the 6pm bulletin, generally about an event or something trending in retail. Thus, leaving their audience to feel detached from issues within the fashion industry and only the informed searching for their own news through different platforms.
From a journalism student in her third and final year, my experience through uni has taught me that there is the opinion of fashion journalism being fluff writing. It seems that it is institutionalised as a taboo subject; which if you stress your interest in writing fashion, you can be looked upon as being superficial and disconcerted with the real issues of ‘politics’ and ‘sports’ journalism.
It started with my first year when I was thrilled to hear that one week we were talking about fashion journalism, only to come to class and witness that it was just 2 slides out of a 15 slide powerpoint. It was slumped into the mix of ‘lifestyle journalism’ either to be forgotten or snickered about when you mention this is your interest. In second year it was a little better but still very dissatisfying.
In a unit called ‘lifestyle journalism’ I was over excited to finally touch on writing about the fashion industry, but the teachings were still not sufficient. The teachings and topics can be summed up with the assignment we were given; to either discuss a food event or a fashion one. The importance this reflected to me was that we had to decide what our interests were, not what the audience needs to be reading about. If journalism’s job is to set the agenda of news, then why is a sports score more relevant than the concerns of the fashion industry.
Yes it is very understandable that fashion isn’t of everyone’s interest, but in a world where everyone is a consumer and buying clothing or going to a shopping centre, the fashion industry most certainly is an issue for us all. It stems down to the disapproval of fashion stories being news worthy.
Perhaps if the stories they did report weren’t just about an event happening or renovation of a new shopping centre; than the idea might be formed that a fashion story has strength and public advocacy for something much greater.
We need to see more stories reporting to the mass audience of Australia about the varying issues with the fashion industry. Stories about the the consequences of fast fashion, concerns about working conditions in factories, the rise in transparency of designers, highlighting made in Australia products and overall support for the people fighting for these causes. If this was covered more in the mass media, then perhaps their wouldn’t be so many confused faces when asked if they know what ethical and sustainable fashion is. To become more aware is all it takes to be apart of the revolution.
I highly recommend reading ‘Wardrobe Crisis How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion’ written by fashion journalist Clare Press. Also checkout instagram accounts @fash_rev_ausnz @1millionwomen @wellmadeclothes @op_shop_to_runway @mrspress and @ecowarriorprincess for more information on issues concerning ethical and sustainable fashion.
I’d love to know if your uni offers a complete unit on fashion journalism or perhaps other news platforms which you find are great for covering fashion issues. To be apart of the revolution, we must be apart of the conversation.