Journalism and fashion, as industries, are one and the same in my opinion.
The University of Technology’s honours graduate programme had their final show last night featuring 18 fourth-year designers, whittled down from a 120-strong cohort in first year, of which I was a part. I went to support my friends and former peers at their graduate show collection. The show was the culmination of four years of sleepless nights, gruelling assessments and long hours – something I’d given up on two years earlier.
Having tried to pursue a career in fashion before turning to journalism, I began reflecting on the many similarities between the two. Long hours, striving desperately to be different, plus the competition are just a few of the many parallels that can be drawn. More importantly, the challenge of breaking into the industry is something both emerging designers, and emerging journalists continually have to deal with.
Todd Robinson, coordinator of UTS fashion, said it was important for students to be called emerging designers; after all, that is what they are. The show was bold, striking and, for some, inspirational. Catrin Thomas, one of the spectators, said it was “really emotional and inspiring to see the talent come from these young designers”.
Due to the changing nature of the media, journalism jobs are decreasing, certainly in the traditional sense. The same is true with fashion.
While talent, perseverance and sheer determination play a role in success, it seems luck plays almost as big a part in order to break into the industry. Alexandra Malpass, one of the graduates, feels the same way: “No amount of money or talent can assure success – I am a firm believer of a balance of everything – including being in the right place at the right time [which is] integral.”
Her inspiration for her graduate collection came, somewhat ironically, from decay: “The whole line is about a person’s inherent attraction to decay – there’s a beautiful Dylan Trigg quote regarding the seductive and almost erotic nature of decay.”
Her beautiful pieces allowed me to reflect on the decaying nature of fashion; and journalism. Where will both these industries be in five, 10 or even 50 years? Alexandra used rusting techniques to build up textures – “the silhouette is actually rusted in one way shape or form”.
It can’t be denied being a student in journalism or fashion is difficult. “Trying to manage it, work to have the money to produce it and sleep is fairly difficult,” she tells The Newsroom.
There is an expectation that students of this generation will work harder and put in a lot more unpaid internship hours than previous generations.
Freelance work is becoming increasingly hard to come by, with many designers and journalists happy to put in the hours free simply to get their name out there. The Macleay journalism course has a compulsory 40-hour internship requirement – that’s over 2000 unpaid hours from the Newsroom team alone!
And as for the future? “We can’t dictate. It’s really up to the media and [fashion] industry to shoot us up to stardom or not at all…” Alexandra says. Blatant hinting? – Benedicte Earl
Alexandra’s work can be found at her website, alexandramalpass.com
Image used with permission of the designer.