In 2003, BBC News published a study that said the institution of friendship can make people significantly happier.
Of course, both these platitudes — friendship and happiness — can be taken to mean as many things as a single girl would like to believe can be extrapolated from simultaneous text message-radio silence and abundant Instagram engagement from a suitor.
There is a baseline understanding that the variables at play in both the instances of friendship/happiness and romantic communication are complex. But as the layers of those onions begin to shed and their inherency is fleshed out, their skeletons are fairly simple to understand: happiness is a state of mind, the commenter, not text messager is an asshole and friendship is not just an interpersonal bond, it is a sister or brotherhood.
Accepting that as truth presents the issue of not whether these relationships can exist in the workplace but what happens when they do. Across every industry, forging friendships seems important, even necessary, to survive but in fashion there is an even stronger emphasis on friendship among designers, journalists, publicists and each other.
Before my friend Rosie Assoulin, who I have known from the time I was 17, launched her eponymous label, she wouldn’t let me see sketches until I promised that my opinion wouldn’t influence the circumstances of our friendship. To this day, when I review a collection, she refuses to read it. This, to me, is how the co-mingling of a sisterhood and a fashion friendship can exist with integrity.
Generally, though, to strike such a balance is difficult. This is furtger evidenced by a story Cathy Horyn penned for the September Issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
In it, she defends herself against allegations brought forward by New York Times’ commenters (or as she calls them, the “public editor”) that her friendship with L’Wren Scott affected her ability to write an objective response to the designer’s death. She goes on to pose the question of whether a true friendship — sisterhood — can exist in the industry of fashion.
Fashion is largely social. And when you’re new, it’s hard to discern whether you’re making friends or simply working. Unfortunately, it is more often that these relationships manifest as the latter, which either alienates or hardens the naive pursuit of a can-have-it-all attitude in fashion.
This may be a leading reason that the stereotypical mantra of fashion is glamorous but unhappy exists.
Then again, though, there are exceptions to every rule. And maybe that’s why we’ve started to see so many smiles in street style.