Flicking through the pages of the March issue of W magazine, I came across the Editor's Letter (interestingly I found it on page 138 of the magazine… at first I thought I mistakenly purchased an ad catalogue).
In his letter Stefano Tonchi was talking about the Oscars and reminiscing about "this time last year". At this point it might be easier if I just include the excerpt from the letter to help me get my point across:
"Last year at this time, my friend Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man, was nominated for a slew of awards, including an Oscar. It was thrilling, but when I heard him talk about how happy he was that he'd finally accomplished something truly artistic, I was surprised. He had already accomplished a great deal during his many years in fashion. In creating beautiful clothes and the alluring imagery around them, he deeply influenced the way we look at the world. Doesn't that qualify as artistry."
Stefano then went on to say that over the course of his career he had met many talented journalists with the same "inferiority complex", who were often uncomfortable admitting they write about fashion and felt the need to make excuses and justifications.
Does Stefano have a point? And if so, where does this inferiority complex come from?
I started thinking about all the people in the fashion industry that I had met in the last year since my blog started taking a more 'fashiony' direction.
The forefront of fashion bloggers has more lawyers and ex-finance professionals than you might expect. And chatting to some of them a pattern emerges - their 'real life' friends and ex-colleagues often do not understand "the whole blogging thing".
I will take it a step further and say that not only do they not understand it, in 99% of the cases they probably also do not take it seriously.
As I write this I get more and more perplexed about the question of why does fashion not count as a serious career? Is it because it does not pay well? Or is it just the bloggers who are not taken seriously because blogging is such a new concept?
I don't know the answer to those questions but I know that for those coming from a conservative industries like law, finance and medicine, people in the fashion industry definitely have certain stereotypes attached to them.
In my case, the "inferiority complex" that Stefano was talking about is definitely there. Most of my friends, but the closest ones, don't even know that I have a blog or an SLR camera for that matter. When I was shooting street style in London's Brick Lane a few weeks ago with a fellow blogger and ran into a 'real life' friend, I was slightly embarrassed and shy to explain what the hell I was doing hanging around Brick Lane with a huge camera and stalking people.
My colleagues at work are also blissfully unaware of my parallel life. God forbid they find out that all those trips to friends' 30th birthdays in NYC, friends visiting from Australia and trips to visit family in Russia actually magically coincide with fashion weeks in NYC, London, Paris and Moscow.
I prefer not to use my real name most of time in case current or potential employers or clients happen to Google me. Paranoid much? May be.
The thing is, when you spend years and years studying and then persistently working your way up the corporate ladder, you anticipate more than a question mark on people's faces when they find out that in fact all those years were wasted and that in my ideal world I would be a freelance photographer, eating beans most of the time cos you don't know where the next paycheck is coming from.
I'm really lucky that my family is very supportive of my hobby and I'm pretty sure my mum is slowly coming to terms with the idea that I would rather spend 6 hours a day in the cold at NYFW looking for people to photograph then jump through hoops at an interview for a fancy job at a bank.
What still remains unclear though is why do the actual bona fide fashion journalists have that inferiority complex? Fashion is multi-billion dollar industry, a pop culture, a business, an art form and yet so many people both inside and outside the industry struggle to take it seriously. I think may be it is because fashion is an indulgence, it something that makes you feel good about yourself, something that is daring and that so many don't understand and are intimidated by. Because fashion is so subjective it can be more difficult to achieve and accomplish within the field of fashion than any other. There will always be people who like what you do and those who don't.
I'm most definitely looking forward to 'coming out of the fashion closet' but I am not quite ready for it just yet… :)