Everyone’s Got an Opinion

by Amelia Diamond
February 24, 2014
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And when it comes to fashion, that’s a beautiful thing.

proenzadetail1During NYFW one night I arrived home after a long day of being sick, attending shows, writing about them, then reading various outlets’ reviews of the same events when my roommate announced that he thought the Proenza Schouler show was “really cool.”

My first annoying reaction was to correct his pronunciation of Schouler. “SKOOL-er,” I said, “not SHOOL-er.” Amelia the teenage bitch. Then I laughed while asking, “What did you like about it?” in a tone that implied my roommate didn’t know what he was talking about.

And why should he? My roommate is not Suzy Menkes. My roommate is a 25 year old guy who works in finance who happens to catch the odd fashion show by way of Instagram. Of Proenza’s fall collection he said it was, “I don’t know, kind of geometric…the shapes were different but the stuff with the bright colors made it feel laid-back somehow. Do they do menswear? I feel like that would be sick.”

Then after a minute of trotting around the apartment on my high horse I dismounted to consider his ten second review.

“You’re right,” I said to him. “I totally agree.” And actually, I wasn’t at that show either.

It’s not a new concept that the Internet and mobile apps have democratized the viewing of fashion. Just the other day my mom texted me about the coats at Prada because she saw them on The Cut, and Sunday evening everyone had access to watch the Ferragamo show live online. What I’m more interested in now is that this has opened the floor for conversation, and that everyone — my roommate included — has an opinion.

There is undeniably an enormous amount to be said for actually being present at a show when it comes to creating one’s opinion. There’s detailing up close that’s easy to miss by way of a computer screen. There’s ambiance created by music choice, lighting and seating arrangements.

But who’s to say that what one feels about what she sees is any more or less valid because she saw it IRL?

Certain designers — Dolce & Gabbana or Marni immediately come to mind — are guaranteed to capture my heart by way of slideshow clicks even though I’ve never once sat at their shows. If I were to write a review of their Fall 2014 collections remotely it would be equal parts informed viewer (I can still reference past seasons, zoom in for detail shots, email PR for fabric detailing and possibly receive a quote on the designer’s inspiration), but also, emotion. Sometimes you just like what you like, regardless of how it’s consumed.

I’ve also heard the argument that those whose opinions really matter are informed not just by attendance but by tenured attendance: the veterans who have been reporting on this world for much longer than many of us had a concept of it. And I get it, because when I read something written by Cathy Horyn, Robin Givhan or Tim Blanks I very frequently conclude the article with a simple “Damn” out of pure admiration at their beautifully crafted words.

But then there are the fans. The people who buy the clothes because they love them, not because someone wrote that the collection was a “grown up departure from the Spring collection.” And there are those who will be encouraged to take a design class or sketch looks regardless of someone saying, “This wasn’t X’s strongest season.” Not to be forgotten are the writers, the bloggers and the photographers who, instead of just being assigned to a story were inspired to create their own.

Then there are those who simply want to have a fun discussion with their roommate, if only because nothing’s on TV and they saw something on Instagram. Something that elicited an emotion that formed an opinion that — whether “right” according to a fashion journalist or “wrong” according to a professional critic — is no less valuable when it comes to conversation.

When I read all this out loud to my roommate to fact-check his prior thoughts on Proenza, he said this:

“Proenza was cool. It wasn’t my favorite though — my favorite was Delpozo. No clue why. I just loved it.”

And really, what more does anyone need to know?

REPLIES
  • http://www.productdoll.com/ Bobbi Whitney

    I love your writing! No clue why. I just love it. :)
    x
    Bobbi

    http://www.productdoll.com

  • Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra

    I totally agree with you, but as a fashion writer who has only been to a hand full of shows, it isn’t exactly easy to get your paws on NYFW tickets. Therefore all we have to rely on are social media outlets like Instagram and the occasional live fashion show. As long as you don’t have to tolerate people sputtering out crazy statements like, “OMG Selena Gomez for Kmart is the best thing that has ever walked this Earth,” I don’t think it is that bad to listen to people not in the industry giving their POV whilst they butcher the designers name. Who knows, maybe it could open you up to a brand spanking new POV. Inspiration is everywhere, even in the unassuming.

    http://www.LifeSucksInAStraplessBra.com

  • Sophie

    As a person who failed to attend a single show LFW or otherwise, I think being present counts for little apart from the designer’s pitch in the form of lighting, music and ambiance. Sure, it’s wonderful to partake in but it’s only intent is to get you in the right mood to view the collection. Foreplay.

    If the collection is good, you don’t need need to be pitched to. Or teased for that matter.

    Sophie x

    http://your-girl-is-lovely.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://nothingtowearnovello.blogspot.ca/ JennyNov

    “Damn” . Thought your writing deserved one too Amelia

  • Quinn Halman

    this is fantastic journalism

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      Hey amigo! I agree

  • Angel

    Totally agree ! Many people don’t actually listen or look but comment on unnecessary topics in fashion . Only certain people get a chance to really see the truth in action but some have to rely on the web. We just need to rely on our own judgement !
    check out my fashion blog http://haute-couture-hippie.blogspot.ca/?m=1
    new posts every Sunday , Tuesday , Thursday , and Saturday .

  • Eve

    Wow, this piece is so engaging, and that’s not because I love fashion.
    xxx
    http://www.evedorith.blgospot.com

  • Abie

    I liked Delpozo too!

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Another impeccable essay, Ms. Diamond. I love the concept of this one. It seems that even in this age of blogs and “everyone’s a winner/writer!” there still seems to be a lot of talking down. Success doesn’t always measure intellect or knowledge or craft….often times a little luck can go a long way. That’s why it’s nice to come to this forum and write a few thoughts down in between classes, and know that there is a supportive community who not only also wants to be heard, but wants to read the thoughts of others.

    That being said, I really did worship Cathy Horyn and I felt/am feeling somewhat empty when I open the Styles Section or the back of the Business Section and cannot see her words. Still, you guys have filled the void! It’s different, no doubt, but I love these reviews equally in a new way.

  • Ana González

    I think every opinion is valid, but of course, is not the same the perspective of an expert who knows fashion deeply.

    LAZYCATSTYLE

  • http://www.dreaminlace.com/ DreamInLace

    That’s actually an indepth review for a 25 year old straight male I think haha. It’s interesting, as you say, how bloggers etc. are compelled to write about a collection not because they’re being forced to – but because they want to. I write about NYFW, LFW, MFW and the upcoming PFW log because I figure hey – I’m going to click through these collections no matter what, and form an opinion no matter what…so why not turn it into a post?

    The internet has definitely cultivated a broader audience for these high profile shows. Look at the constant worldwide trend of whatever the latest fashion week is. People absorb these collections at a rapid rate and fav, RT and comment to their heart’s content :)

    xoxo
    Kelly
    http://www.dreaminlace.com

  • http://thoughtsofglam.com/ ThoughtsofGlam

    NYFW is but a dream at the moment, for now I will live vicariously through those who actually attend.

    http://www.thoughtsofglam.com

  • GiaK@StonedSoulUrban

    Pretty badass approach to journalism that I also love. It’s true, brutal and honest, which is what more of the fashion world needs. You really dissected the situation and delivered facts, with supporting statements about fashion; not only taking in the opinions of the attendees and the fashion experts, but you also gave a voice to someone who isn’t in the fashion world – your roommate. Thank you!

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I can never tell why I like a collection, I’m no expert, I just do (or don’t)…

    Mafalda ❤
    http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • Agoprime

    I love your articles too!
    http://www.agoprime.it

  • Filipa Moreira

    Great post. ;))http://dieforstyle.blogspot.co.uk

  • Peach Blossom 22

    Wonderful!
    Came to see tha mini bag by PEACH BLOSSOM22
    on http://peachblossom22.wordpress.com/

  • Elisa Taviti
  • Cristina Feather

    Loved this article, Amelia!

  • therealdp

    tell lev he can come work for me.

  • dustUP

    As somebody who had fashion shows, all I can say is that the real life and story of clothes begins when they leave my head and become yours. Whatever music, lightning and mood I imagined for my collection, it’s just my suggestion and not my final word.

    Catwalk is just a small beginning of story which only grows bigger in eyes of viewers and wearers. All that other people bring to clothes is much more valuable than what the perfect conditions of the fashion show. I stopped having shows for that reason, I’m much more curious to see what happens with my designs when they leave safety of studio.

  • http://www.lezu.com/ L’ezu

    We agree with your roommate! The shapes and cuts are pretty cool http://www.LEZU.com

  • Nives

    I still think that “having an opinion” on fashion requires at least a little knowledge and interest. I often get comments such as “Oh, my God, do those girls eat? Who can fit in these tiny clothes?” or “Come on, would someone really wear a bejewelled face mask?” Fashion is so much more than just functional everyday clothing, I just think people should read something about it before they start “having opinions”.

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    Excellent piece :)
    Where there is genuine interest, fascinating opinions can be formed. Fascination could become study and observation, and over time those can inform the so-called ‘informed opinion,’ no? I think the only ‘requirement’ for having an opinion is an investment of genuine interest, wherever the interest may come from. People who want to say something because they’re weirded out or confused but not actually interested can’t have an opinion, in my opinion (see what I did there?) :)

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