You might love clothes, but it's a whole other thing to understand them.
On my first day at the fashion journalism course, the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves and to explain why we decided to take the course, without saying "because I love fashion", which is the obvious response. The first two people succeeded in completing the task, but quickly everybody said "because I love fashion" (honestly, I said it as well, guilty as charged). The teacher's impossible request echoed in my mind for years as I was trying to figure out what's the difference between me and other people who "love fashion". Surprisingly, the answer I was looking for came from the mere fact that I researched the different depths of fashion - the ones who are truly passionate about fashion, are those who understand that it has almost nothing to do with clothes.
Even the least fashionable person you know is using this industry in order to make a statement.
First, let's understand why too many people say that they love fashion without understanding the true meaning of the industry. Everybody is interested in fashion on some level (try saying that to your brother). Most people might think it's about wearing trendy clothes, following bloggers or reading magazines. The truth is that even the least fashionable person you know is using this industry in order to make a statement. Fashion is first a way to express yourself, it always has been and always will be. Even the simplest T-shirt and the ugliest sandals are a statement, a way to say "this is who I am", or even " I don’t care about trends". On the other hand, wearing beautiful and chic outfits doesn't mean you understand fashion, it simply means you love clothes. Obviously, there's nothing wrong about that, it's just a mild exaggeration in order to make a point (don't take it personally).
I decided to work in the fashion business out of nowhere. Looking back, the epiphany occurred while I was at the "China through the looking glass" fashion exhibition at the MET museum (obviously all good things happen in New York). Walking through the breathtaking compound, it was the first time I looked at fashion as pure art. The realization that there is much more to fashion than I originally thought was a lifechanging experience, and is the reason why I am different from other people who love fashion. From that moment I vowed to explore as much as possible about this industry.
In order to get into consumers hearts (and wallets), the clothes must communicate the way people feel or the way they want to feel.
You may think I'm crazy and maybe even arrogant for saying that, but the fact is that clothes are just an outcome of different researches about psychology, economics, politics and environment issues (yes, even if it is the second most polluting industry in the world, after oil). Every trend you see in the shopping windows is based on cultural subjects, protests, elections and every-day topics you hear on the news. In order to get into consumers hearts (and wallets), the clothes must communicate the way people feel or the way they want to feel.
Still think it's a shallow business? Don’t make me laugh. Fashion is one of the most socially influential industries in the world, and throughout the history it has been a way to communicate what is happening in the world. Just think about the twenties, the golden age, when people celebrated the end of world war 1 with short dresses, fringes, sequins and feathers, among other things. Another great example is the seventies, when people started caring about environmental issues, which was expresses by earthy-toned clothes and Boho-chic style. Should I babble more, or is the point clear?
Fashion has much more in it than clothes, shoes and bags, it's a way to express yourself, your agendas, your feelings and even the worlds history. Whatever you read on the papers today, will probably be portrayed on the runways tomorrow. Only when you'll truly understand the depth and intelligence of the fashion industry you will be able to say I love fashion, not just clothes.