Lessons from Alexa Chung’s Vogue Video Series

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Originally posted on the Stylekick Blog

“If you believe in yourself, you can work in Fashion”- Olivier Rousteing

With the number of fashion blogs and social media personalities emerging in the past few years, the idea of breaking into a career in fashion can seem daunting. The competition is high and the likeliness of succeeding seems very small as a result.

One of the most recently successful careers in this new era of the fashion industry is Alexa Chung’s. Chung managed to make her way to the top of fashion elite by simply being herself. It therefore seems appropriate that British Vogue chose her as a vessel of knowledge for the rest of us to find out how to find that level of success. In her series for Vogue, The Future of Fashion, she gains industry access to fashion’s most valuable resources and successful industry figures to give us insight on how to get there.

We learn that the very thing that makes breaking into fashion scary, which is the fashion’s expansion through digital media, is also what makes it that much more accessible. Chung digs up a number of careers that are less notable, but just as integral, than being a fashion designer or journalist. These jobs include fashion forecasting, fashion buying, styling, social media branding, and, of course, blogging.

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In her interviews with fashion fixtures and budding talents, Chung also focuses on the renaissance of youth among fashion designers. Simon Porte Jacquemus, Christopher Kane, Henry Holland, Molly Goddard, and Oliver Rousteing are among the emerging designers Chung highlights in her series. Their main common feature is that they mark the shift toward progression, rather than tradition, as markers of quality in fashion production.

Both Christopher Kane and Simon Porte Jacquemus use themselves as examples of how talent and determination can be legitimate entry points into the industry, rather than elite connections. Kane attributes much of his success to the nature of U.K. universities. Because post-secondary education is free in the U.K., it equalizes the playing field; affording a proper education is not the issue, talent is. Jacquemus is an even more extreme case. Confident in his designs, but unable to afford a show space at Paris Fashion Week, he staged a protest show outside a PFW venue, demanding an equal chance to showcase his material, despite coming from “nowhere.” Due to social media attention, he specifically cites Tumblr, and Jacquemus’s call to action, the world noticed his formidable designs. The designers’ shows are now among the most anticipated shows in the industry.

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We can regard the newly global nature of the fashion industry as scary, because it is. Chung’s series points out that this can also be a challenge that will push originality out of those determined enough to face it, as we’ve already begun to see. Online shows, presentations, and engaged models sharing their backstage experience on social media are just a few ways in which the presentation of clothes has changed. And that’s just one part of the fashion industry. Social media gives direct access to the lives, thoughts, and streams of communication of our fashion idols.

And finally, the most encouraging bit, is that the emerging talent in the post-tech era of fashion prove that fashion does not have to exist in a bubble; fashion can be an agent of positive change. Rousteing celebrates diversity and positive body image at Balmain. Jacquemus explores his honest self through his shows, stimulating discussions of mental health through his collections. Molly Goddard showed us that family and friendships are as valuable as industry connections: Goddard’s mother’s staged her show and Goddard’s friends modelled her dresses, which produced a novel approach to showing clothes.

Thank-you, Alexa Chung and British Vogue, for producing this series, which gave us access to some of fashion’s most brilliant minds, broadened our thinking about fashion careers, and gave more substance to the industry. Looking forward to Season 2!

Click here to watch The Future of Fashion with Alexa Chung

Feature Image: @chungalexa on Instagram

Images: Vogue

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