Elitism is So Last Season

Why style is no longer in the hands of the privileged few.

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“What I often see is that people are scared of fashion – because they’re frightened or insecure so they put it down…”

So speaks fashion’s ice queen Anna Wintour in the opening scene of The September Issue,  sat in the back of a Mercedes, her eyes hidden behind the inevitable Prada sunglasses. To me, a 20 year old student on a tight budget, the scene means nothing.

Your style in this woman’s hands?

The idea that fashion is elitist partly depends on how you define ‘fashion’. Of course, to be en vogue it is crucial to deck yourself head to toe in Louis V’s fetish-wear, or McQueen’s impossibly high heel-less heels, right? Wrong! With the fashion world increasingly projecting through the computer screen into our rooms, or on the go via smartphone apps, your front row seat (read: library chair) at the latest shows is a mouse-click away.

Blogs, look-books, video tutorials and more are accessible to everyone. Wintour has said that the girl on the street is the most inspiring thing in fashion. And she’s right – we create trends. Who’s to say what’s in or out if no one will buy the product? New fashion is less about the status and more about individual style.

This elitism also depends on whether you give one about what Rodarte, Phillip Lim or any other designer is sending down their catwalks for this Fall. It could be argued that interest feeds elitism. Why are we in Cambridge, arguably an elitist institution? Because we care about our studies, are passionate about our subject and are interested in learning more (well, in most cases).

Translated into a fashion sense, those who are at the top, who do define the trends and who can make or break the career of any young fashionista are those who have eaten, slept and breathed fashion for their entire lives. Casual nepotism just doesn’t cut it anymore.

And does it really matter to you? As a fashion worshipper I do care; but if you don’t, then whether the industry is elitist shouldn’t matter. But for those of us dying to be the editor of Vogue (pick me, pick meeeee) what is the answer? Until now money, privilege and connections were the key to the  sartorial lock. But at last it’s about individuality, flare and style. And it’s fucking exciting!