“We rise by lifting others” - Robert Ingersol
In an industry that’s known for being ruthless and vain, the NZ fashion industry is seeing a rise of positive change. NZ Fashion Week displays the great diversity in aesthetics and craftsmanship that Kiwis have to offer. Here, we are lucky to see the emergence of talented new creatives to the scene, and a magnificent platform that welcomes different perspectives on what style truly means.
After my time at NZ Fashion Week, I have gained a deeper insight into the NZ fashion scene and it’s people, with further awareness of the positives and negatives of the industry. Most of all, this has led me find myself with a stronger commitment to women in the creative industry, who are leading the way for a new generation of creative leaders.
We are currently celebrating 125 years celebrating the achievements and sacrifices of the suffragettes here in New Zealand, the original feminists that campaigned for the rights of women to vote. So in this day and age, it’s a pretty common phrase to hear others talking about ’Supporting other women in the Industry’ as nothing but an applauded platitude. However, not many put their money where their mouth is. When fear creeps in and claws come out, I have experienced first hand the consequences of being at the mercy of other's insecurities. Finding success is seen as fight for one throne, that winning is only possible when all others must lose.
However no man or woman is an island, and my experience has shown me that the fashion industry at present, although brimming with new potential, is also currently disconnected. Many creatives hide inside their shells and refrain from reaching out to collaborate, share and network for fear of losing out to another’s gain. Designers, makeup artists, and creators are often cautious in the fashion media environment for fear of being taken advantage of, as is a common experience now and something I wrote about here. I believe that those of us in the fashion media need to strive for maintaining a high level of integrity to our work and ethic, in order to strengthen the connection between both parties. This can be difficult when larger media groups can lead with corrupted morale and no consequences, often forcing smaller individuals and contributors to follow suit in order to keep up their relevancy.
This blog, and everything I do at The Wardrobe is an attempt to break through this way of thinking and show that contrary to popular belief, we are stronger together. Not in a shallow placating sense, for the goal of looking like 'good people’ or gaining the popular vote by engaging in trendy conversation perspectives, but actually because we truly value building toward a common goal of creative acceptance and celebration. I recently recorded a Vlog of my experiences at Fashion Week from a more personal perspective about this, and how remaining withdrawn and refraining from sharing of ourselves and our creations will hinder our creative progress in the industry overall. You can watch a little more on that here. In future features and interviews I will continue to stimulate the conversation around this, in an attempt to normalise the acknowledge of this struggle, so many of us have experienced.
I feel like this quote from an African proverb sums up my way of thinking on this, a way of thinking that would be beneficial to be adopted further within the industry. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The NZ Fashion Industry is a much younger collective group than that of other countries, as a nation we are still defining who are as one people. As I’ve mentioned in posts before this, art and life often imitate each other. So I hope that as we go forward, New Zealand defines itself on the foundation of those that have marked our history - rule breakers, trail blazers and leaders of change. Lets not accept the status quo as it is, let us not allow fear to creep in and hold us back from creating a future focused approach to creative pursuits in New Zealand. Lets not focus on goals for our own end, but on the shared goal of respect, contribution and the value of each unique artistic voice we can only reach together.
Photographer. Creator. Dreamer ♥