Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Fashion Executive's Candid, Anonymous Disclosures About the Fashion Industry

Meryl Streep the fashion executive and Anne Hathaway, her assistant.
It appears that the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, understates the realities of the fashion industry.

I wish I could write about this in one of the media outlets for which I write but it's off-topic. Also I have only one person's reportage on this and she has asked for anonymity. So the following doesn't rise to a journalistic standard I'd feel comfortable sending for publication beyond on my personal blog.

With that disclosure made, here are some of the nuggets this New York fashion executive shared with me today. She told me that the following are norms in the fashion industry.

These all are pretty close to what she said verbatim. I mainly just edited out irrelevant bits and distilled sentences. But the operative language and contentions are hers: 

"The executives will do whatever they can to sabotage their fellow executives. They act like they like them but it's all a fake. For example, an executive sent her admin out to the Spy Store to get itching powder to put on seats where the other executives will be sitting in an upcoming meeting with the Big Boss."

"Executives receive flowers all the time as an obligatory thank you. If it's a mere dozen roses, they consider that an insult and send it back with the deliveryperson. What's an acceptable-size bouquet? One that fills a small table, roughly 3-feet square. AND the flowers cannot just come from any florist. They must come from one of the few super-elite New York florists, for example, Miho."

"Fashion executives' 'return policy' extends to jewelry. When David Yurman sends a "thank you" piece of jewelry, if it's not big enough, it's considered an insult and it goes back."

"At least 50% of women can cry on demand. 75% in the fashion industry." 

(Here, it's my wording and expansion, but she made the core point.) In most journalism, there's a firewall between advertising and editorial. But in fashion, the models in the actual magazine (not in ads,) are disproportionately wearing clothes and jewelry made by manufacturers that advertise in the magazine. 

"How do you get ahead? Eat her out. With many women, that can help. Really. At least in my industry."

"They all submit false receipts. They'll go out to a fancy store and buy something for themselves and then submit it is an expense necessary for a photo shoot, thank-you present, whatever."

No wonder fashion is so expensive. 

I think I'll keep my clothes basic.

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