How to Go from Fashionista to Fashionado

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Christy Turlington at the library
Photograph: Courtesy of Pamela Hanson

I want everyone to be as excited about fashion as I am, but when I am met with disdain toward my enthusiasm – due to the negative connotations that come packaged with being a follower of fashion (terms like “shallow” and “vain” are often bandied about) –  I feel myself getting discouraged. I know that fashion is not everyone’s cup of tea, but in some form or another, even the most obtuse among us participates in fashion every day by the act of getting dressed. When I say I’m excited about fashion, I am talking about its human applications, as well as its artistic merit.

For that reason, I coined the term fashionado, as the word “fashionista” made me cringe. Fashionistas are concerned with the surface, while fashionados are concerned with the layers beneath the clothes: what went into their making, what was the inspiration behind the designer’s choices, what culture did they derive from, what message are they transmitting, who is buying in to the look? Fashionados are well-rounded autodidacts with a natural curiosity about everything. They know music, art, history, and humans just as well as they know fashion. They are interested in the business side of things, as well as the consumer side. They are armchair critics with excellent taste, and an eagle-eye vision for what makes something good and what makes something great.

When I first wrote about fashionados, I wasn’t expecting such an excellent response, but after the piece came out, people reached out to me saying that they wanted a deeper understanding of fashion, but simply didn’t know where to start. Believe me, I understand. I didn’t start out with a head full of fashion knowledge. In fact, when I first began writing about fashion, I knew about as much about the industry as a I knew about quantum physics. Fashion seemed to have its own language and rhetoric, and I was fascinated by how thoroughly it seemed to both reflect and captivate the public conscience. I’ve been a fashion writer for a decade, and even still, I am growing, learning, and evolving my skills on a daily basis. Before I started my career, I knew next to nothing about fashion, except for the way it made me feel.

You may not be searching for the same answers that I was. You may simply want to talk more knowledgeably about a subject that you’re interested in, or leverage your knowledge for a career in fashion. Maybe you are a student who wants to know how to gain entry into the industry, or a fashion blogger looking for better topics, or you’re a promising young designer who wants to know more about your craft and its storied history. Whatever drives you to trade the term fashionista for fashionado, I welcome you to the study of the most interesting subject I’ve ever come across, and with that, five resources that will help you on your journey.


Women's Wear Daily

Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) is the holy bible of the fashion industry – the first to publish news on acquisitions, mergers, designer departures and hires, and so much more. As it stands today, WWD is the most valuable resource in the entire industry, with up-to-the-minute, around-the-clock reporting that hits every angle of every fashion sector around the globe, from runway reviews and exclusive interviews to breaking news. If you’re super serious about fashion, a quick browse of WWD’s front page will keep you up to speed on the daily.


Business of Fashion

Business of Fashion is a uniquely positioned industry resource, as it was the first online publication to focus on the inner workings of the business side of the industry. In Savoir Flair’s exclusive interview with BoF founder, Imran Amed, he discusses the important role his publication has in providing unbiased commentary on the business of fashion. Since BoF acquired financial partnership, the publication has grown vastly in size, and now has some of fashion’s best writers (like Tim Blanks) manning the editorial side. Furthermore, BoF has platforms for Careers and Education, where those looking to land a job in the industry can find both job postings, and crash courses in topics like Fashion History and Fashion Marketing & Communications. They are also a strategic resource for learning about the most important people working in fashion, with their exclusive selection of community insiders curated under the banner of “The Business of Fashion 500.”


High-Fashion Twitter

High-fashion twitter, or “hft” as its commonly referred to, is a great resource for of-the-moment industry gossip, trends, and critiques. Composed of young, curious high-fashion obsessed individuals around the world, hft is where you can follow bright, emerging voices in the community, learn about photographers and stylists on the come-up, and stalk the accounts of those who make it their personal mission to stay in-the-know. They’re the ones who recently made the #voguechallenge go viral, and who hosted their own virtual version of the Met Gala after the high-profile annual event was cancelled due to COVID-19.


Savoir Flair

Hey, you’re already on Savoir Flair, which happens to be the Middle East’s first online fashion magazine. We’re not only a valuable resource about the fashion industry specific to the Middle East, but I’ve also been working on an educational series that covers some of fashion’s toughest topics, from weight regulation in the modeling industry to the problems fashion faces as its consumer evolves. You can browse the following articles for easy guides on a versatile array of fashion subjects, from technological advancements and the history of patterns to a closer look at famous brand rivalries.


Fashion Tomes

While it may seem extremely obvious to suggest reading books about fashion to gain fashionado-level knowledge, there are plenty of bad “fashion” books out there to steer clear of. In order to help you avoid fashion’s most banal books, I have curated a list of must-read heavy-hitters for anyone interested in the industry, from philosophical treatises (see “The Fashion System” by Roland Barthes) to the fascinating rivalry between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s (see “The Beautiful Fall” by Alicia Drake). I have personally read every single one of the books listed in the gallery below, and each one has provided unique and valuable insight into the world of fashion, from its history to its greatest underlying social problems.

Promo Photo: Courtesy of Tommy Ton

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