The Future of Fashion industry starts with the fashion founders.
These last few days, I’ve been reading a lot about the future: new technologies, retail predictions, forecasts for the next fashion seasons, and the futures of luxury, fashion, wearables, food, shopping, entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment and so on…
Things are changing faster than ever. Even for a fashion nerd like me, it has been hard to keep up. The lines between industries are so blurry nowadays that even the markets are confused. People working in fashion are so confused, so frustrated with their jobs or careers, that they’re considering entirely new paths. I include myself here. As you observe what is happening around you in the world, you start thinking about your future and your career. If you are approaching your 30’s like me, and you are not even close to where you thought you would be, it is scary and frustrating.
Today I won’t be writing about the future of fashion or the future of wearable tech (if you’re here for that check out Women of Wearables). Instead, I’ll be writing about my experiences as a woman in fashion, and what I see for the future of the industry, especially for entrepreneurs.
This week I read two very impressive stories about women working in the fashion industry. The first was about Garance Doré and the second was about stylist Julie Regolia. If you don’t know Julie (I didn’t until I read the article), go check out her work. It is really down-to-earth and centered.
In a week full of celebrities denouncing abuse in the work place, it really made me think back to my early university years and my first job in this industry. I was always considered a rebel, crazy, and too much of an outsider. This still happens a lot in an industry filled with vanity, sky high egos and people who believe that it is ok to treat beginners like garbage.
There are tons of blog posts, books and movies about it but the reality is this: it’s not ok to treat people badly in the workplace and it never will be. Hurting people and making them feel inadequate is never the way to create a productive working environment.
And that is why I choose to work with women in technology back in 2014. After loosing a job that I liked a lot in a movie production company, I could see how many changes the tech industry needed to make when it comes to women’s rights and I wanted to help make that happen. Working with women in the tech industry helped me realize what is wrong with the fashion industry: it’s not the industry, it’s the people. Most of the time, people in fashion are so narcissistic and unwilling to share that they refuse to name collaborators, making it hard for people to rise through the ranks or get the credit they deserve. This is definitely something that must change or we will keep seeing big brands going down the drain, as is happening now.
My advice to the big fashion founders and to fashion opportunists, as our market has more than the usual share of opportunists is this:
Watch out, smile more often, say hello to the people, be open, be kind, be sincere and expect great things from your collaborators.
I’m sure that most of them are working really hard to make your brand grow and your name GLOW. And to those who are just opportunists you will have to face the future of an industry that is merciless. When name dropping and power dressing is not enough anymore, what will remain will be the crazy and dreamy outsiders, who are too busy studying, writing, learning, and helping people to stop and call attention over being harassed in the workplace, or even to talk about it with some friends.
So I choose not to SILENCE myself, my colleagues, or my industry peers.
Special thanks to my dear friend Sarah Hadley for editing!!