the downside of a fictional fashion industry

 It’s been a while, my zany followers. Living in this COVID world, along with all the other baggage that today brings, has really sucked my creative energy—hence the lack of blog posts. But today, after I left a zoom meeting with my boss and cried on the phone with my dad, I felt a spark of inspiration to write about something that’s been on my mind recently.

I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely adore TV shows and movies that depict the fashion industry. I’m pretty sure I wanted to pursue fashion because I watched The Devil Wears Prada (no shame). Me and my roommate/bff Chloe, who also works in fashion, love to sit down after a long day and watch shows like Emily in Paris, Gossip Girl, The Bold Type, and really anything that depicts a strong female lead working in fashion.

Growing up, I’d love to imagine those shows were an accurate picture of what it’s really like to work in the fashion industry. It’s glamorous and always fun. You get praised for all your work on every project. You work with your best friends. You get free clothes and invites to exclusive parties. But the reality is, almost nothing about those shows are real. As someone who fantasized what my career in fashion would look like, I took a hard hit when my job wasn’t anything like what I saw on TV.

It (most of the time) is not glamorous, especially working remotely. I’m not walking down Central Park West with a perfect blow-out, a stellar outfit, a coffee in hand, hailing a cab to the office, I’m in sweatpants hunched over my laptop trying to write copy for a book that is late, rushed, and at any moment could be pulled. My boss doesn’t invite me into her office only to praise all my accomplishments, tell me I have soooo much potential, give me a dream project, and ask about my personal life. No, today I had a meeting with my boss and she told me that the campaign I worked my ass off creating, didn’t pan out the way she wanted, and was not a success in her eyes. A campaign that I felt really close to and was proud of the work I did was deemed unsuccessful. Ouch. Then I cried and cuddled my puppy. Hmm, must have missed that scene in The Bold Type?

The reality is, people who work in fashion are stressed, a lot of the time over-worked, underpaid, and feel anything but glamourous. Chloe and I turn on those shows and laugh out loud. Wait, she has time during work to go get a fabulous lunch (which she has no trouble paying for?), go shopping (again, is she on a budget?), spend quality time with her friends, and work on her passion project? Then after work she’s out late getting drinks with one of the many suitable bachelors she’s dating. 1. Does she even work full-time? 2. What time does she go to bed, because I’m tucked in by 10:30.

I have spent years and years filling my head with the fantasy that working in fashion would somehow complete me. That I would thrive at every assignment given to me, I would be my boss’ favorite and my job would make me utterly satisfied and happy. When those things didn’t (and still don’t) happen, I automatically think, maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe those girls just have something I don’t. Well, yeah, they do, they have a f*cking script. Life isn’t like that. I’m still trying to come to terms with how things really are and re-envision what my career looks like (no script included).

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. I love living in the city. I love my co-workers and friends. It truly is a dream come true. But it’s not the way I, or others, envision it will be.

To all my girls (and guys) who are hustling every day to pursue a career in fashion, I see you. It might not be glamorous all the time, it might not look the way you thought it would, but you’re doing the damn thing. If no one else tells you today (or this week, or this month), you’re doing great. Keep learning and growing and turning all the criticism into an opportunity to get better at your job. 

Those are all the words I have for today. Gonna go stream another episode of Emily in Paris. 

Xoxo

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