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The Burden – And Limits – Of Representation In The Creative Industry

For me, falling in love with fashion and the fashion industry at large was much like a brilliantly crafted ballad. Despite outward appearances and in some cases quite justified assumptions about the vacuous nature of the fashion world, for me and most people that work within the £60.3 billion industry falling in love with fashion is a gentle courtship – slow, heady and filled with emotional peaks and troths. Much like other creative industries, when discussing the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of our decision to work within the industry, for the most part it always begins with ‘the moment’, a meet cute, that etches itself onto our memory banks and later forms the cornerstone of our career origin spiels.

For musicians and dancers, catalytic inspiration usually comes in the form of a song or a person, but for me, with fashion it was a dress – specifically a video of the now iconic ‘paint dress’ that served as the centrepiece of Alexander McQueen’s 1999 spring/summer collection. At around eight or nine, I stumbled across a short clip of the runway show via a then-burgeoning video platform called YouTube and sat for what felt like hours pressing play again and again as a robotic arm, coated both the dress (and model) in a vibrant stream of spray paint.