Last night I attended the ELLE UK Trend Talk : Individualism and Fashion held at the Hoxton, Holborn.
As the title suggested the discussions were about how Fashion as an industry is celebrating the diversity of races, genders and individualism.
In an exclusive preview of Elle’s August issue, the Fashion Director Anne-Marie Curtis was joined by the Fashion Features Director Kenya Hunt, Joe Catt, the Head Booker at Elite Models and Poppy Okotcha, a London based model who was featured recently in Topshop campaigns.
For me, it was a quite an insightful evening in to the world of Fashion, the models and the casting process .
Listening in, one aspect of this talk I very much appreciated was the honesty. Whether it was Anne-Marie Curtis explaining how she casts models for shoots or Kenya Hunt raising the issues in the Fashion industry, there was a refreshing theme of honesty. Joe Catt expressed his thoughts and opinions on Fashion industry in regards to how there can be groups of minorities and certain brands being open minded than others. Poppy Okotcha also shared her experience and thoughts on being a model who represents an ethnic minority.
The discussion then emphasized how Fashion as an industry now is looking in to selling a story through a model as opposed to just finding someone who ticks all the boxes in a physical must-have list. It opens up the opportunities for various different people to model for different brands and Fashion celebrating the woman in the dress as well as the dress. Joe Catt was explaining how he looks for models with a character so he can then envisage them working for certain brands.
The discussion also opened up the evolution of fashion industry and the modelling from 60s to 70s to current day. The change in technology has effected Fashion just like it has for any other industry. The rise of social media and it’s influence is a huge part of marketing and sales of fashion.
On one hand while it has be a business which makes profits in order to be successful, the decision making process can be quite tricky when you have a to pick models/ or any other artists based on their Instagram following. While we can acknowledge this is unfair, and even sad to a certain extent, the reality check is when you have to choose a model to put on the cover of a magazine which has to sell. So whether you go with the principles or sales figures is a tough decision to make in such a competitive and fast-moving industry.
As Anne-Marie Curtis and Poppy Okotcha mentioned, Fashion industry is not fairly distributed in its opportunities and representations.
Some of us as individuals can be less represented through Fashion than others. Whether this is your ethnic background, body image or personality, we are not always equally represented. The key message from the talk was fashion being responsible. It is a mainstream industry which influences so many people, societies and cultures, hence the responsibility of spreading a positive image and welcoming people from all races and backgrounds.
Right: Anne-Marie Curtis
Below – Left: Poppy Okotcha
Below – Right: Anne-Marie Curtis with Me