In retreat from the tortuous life of student politics, I jump headfirst into the realm of the Fashionista, but ask myself, are the travails of pursuing chic any different from the toils of a hack? I set myself the challenge of investigating!
It’s the build-up to the UNICEF Fashion Show and all is hectic. Designers still need to be confirmed, the last models recruited and the location perfected.
Stage 1: Find the models. Model scouting and selection may seem like the perfect distraction for any male finalist, alas, it is more complex than identifying the aesthetically pleasing. It’s like slate selection. Pure merit is not the only factor; being beautiful, tall and slim are not the sole criteria.
There are those you cannot turn down – family members, key supporters, friends of designers etc. Then there are those you really shouldn’t turn down – the popular, the significant, the well known. By this stage, most will have been selected, and the remaining few are chosen for their genuine talents. Broad coalitions of support are built for the ensuing event and the selection of models is a power that allows you to extend favour, and potentially seek return.
Stage 2: Designer support. After models have been scouted, and beauty purified, it is necessary to dress and clothe our muses. As it’s a charity show, we must find the best quality garments from the most recognised names for free.
This is like the endorsement stage of any election. The great and the good, the experienced and the wise offer their support for your election, in an attempt not merely to promote your chances, but also to further theirs. The backing of a fashion house gives them publicity, a charitable image, and a free testing board. The same is true with electoral endorsements.
Stage 3: The final product. Whilst to the outside world the fashion industry may seem vacuous and shallow, the required organisational skills, the extent of logistical complications and cut-throat competition mean that is a serious game.
The final product, however, was support for UNICEF and its efforts in Japan and Turkey – this end good being alien to most hacks. The fashion industry is no place for a tortured political soul, the shadows and glimmers of similarities merely temp the soul. At best I shall remain the geek behind the chic, a silent admirer and logistical supporter.