When I launched Trendy Techie in 2013, it was first and foremost a fashion blog. I was working as a developer intern at a mid-size dev shop in Toronto, and I was tired of the negative association between beauty and brains. I started Trendy Techie as a way to change the stereotypes about women in tech, and as such I wrote about both fashion and technology on this site.
But then, in 2014, I went to Fashion Week.
Never has my mind changed as quickly as it did that day. I’d been following other fashion bloggers for a while, and was inspired by their commitment to the fashion world. It just seemed like, once you got big enough as a blogger, you started getting invited to fashion weeks, so when I got invited to attend Toronto Fashion Week as media, I figured I’d made it. Little did I realize, the fashion world is as catty and cutthroat as it is portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada, and I do not want to be a part of that culture.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the event itself that I despised. The shows themselves were great, and most of the designers were true artists who had made some beautiful pieces. But the community was so negative! What struck me first was that no one was networking, they were all sticking to their cliques and taking photos to prove they’d been there. Then the event of the week happened. A young girl, maybe 15, wearing a big feather-adorned fascinator came in. She was visibly nervous, but the kind of nervous excitement that one gets when crossing something off their bucket list. She grabbed a coke and sat down on one of the tall, spindly stools and, just as quickly as I blinked, she was on the ground, coke-soaked feathers and stockings in the air. The stool had broken. And the poor girl just sat there for a moment, while the surrounding Toronto’s finest sneered and shuffled in their heels, as though to distance themselves from the embarrassment. Seconds ticked by and stilettos shuffled farther away from the girl, whose nervous excitement had been flattened to a tangible chagrin that was spreading across the backs of the crowd like the coke soaking across the carpet. Finally the poor chickadee picked herself up and walked off, hiding in the depths somewhere until the next runway curtain.
That day my perspective on the whole culture of fashion changed. I no longer saw fashion blogging as something to aspire to, because all I could see when I saw the #spon and #fashionweek tags on people’s posts was the look in that poor girl’s eyes. When we forgo our compassion for the sake of fake internet points, we lose the thing that makes us respectable. We lose the thing that makes us good.
From that day on I have written about fashion, but I resolved to never do an empty blog post again, not for the sake of #sponsorships, not for the sake of followers, and not for the sake of growing my “personal brand.” Over time, fashion became less and less a topic of my posts until I all but stopped writing about it entirely. I’m not a sell-out, a few more gifted bracelets and skinny teas are not worth being part of a community that ignores those in distress.
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