Be honest. Be really honest. When you open up a copy of a fashion magazine, who do you really want to see advertising the clothes, accessories or perfumes? A professional model or a real woman?
Using a model to front a fashion campaign is a no-brainer. We have all watched the wannabe models in America's Next Top Model and appreciate the variety of skills modelling requires. She (or he) will have confidence in using their body; they know how to enhance and accentuate their good points and play down their bad; they understand the importance of good lighting; they know how to work the clothes and show off the accessories; they can take direction from photographers and creative directors. And ultimately, a great model who produces a beautiful image will have the desired effect - making us fall in love with, and want to buy, whatever it is being advertised.
Unfortunately, because most models tend to be young, slim, tall and from a limited range of ethnic backgrounds, over time the idea of what constitutes beauty is, in our society, very narrowly defined. But it goes without saying that beauty is so, so much more than this and we believe comes in a variety of un-airbrushed shapes, sizes, colours and heights. It is interesting to read Alexander Schulman's (Vogue's Editor in Chief) commitment to use real women in her November issue in which none of the fashion is shot on models. It is so refreshing to see and for me, at least, so much more representative and relatable.
At Scarf Room, we have from the outset been committed to using real women in our campaigns with members of our staff modelling our ladies' scarves, pashminas, wraps, capes and snoods. We realise how fortunate we are to have a diverse cross-section of women who are willing to showcase our products and we really hope that this enables all of our customers to connect with us better.
Leading on from this is the question of fashion and, again, whether this is for everyone or just a few. Alexander Schulman makes the point that all women can take pleasure in fashion and it need not be off limits even for a woman who is involved in one of professions. As she says, "..... a desire to look fashionable and take great pleasure in clothes should not be viewed as contradictory to working in professions that have nothing to do with fashion. Scientists, doctors, academics, teachers, politicians, accountants, all women should be able to be seen to enjoy the vagaries of fashion and style. And not be thought to be frivolous for it". I love this! Yes, it's okay to love fashion but at the same time be taken seriously. Unfortunately, though, we live in a culture which makes it hard for some women to dress the way that they would really want to especially in the workplace.
Perhaps then a good place to start to express one's love of fashion is with a scarf. It can be a gentle nod in the direction of fashion but it doesn't have to be a full-blown statement. In a sober business environment, where for example an animal print jacket would be wholly inappropriate, a beautiful animal print scarf may suffice.
Similarly, florals are very on-trend this season but can be hard to wear in certain environments. Again a carefully chosen floral silk scarf may be all that is needed to reference the trend.
So what can we take from this? I think the answer is a balance. It would be naive to imagine that fashion designers will not continue to use professional models in their campaigns. As human beings we are attracted to beauty and will always sit up and take notice of a beautiful image. Let's enjoy all the glamour and style that these bring. However, let's also leave room for the real, the authentic, the old, the young, the average and the plus size, the black, the white and everything in-between, and acknowledge that beauty comes in many guises. And let's give ourselves permission to enjoy fashion whatever we do or don't do for a living. And a beautiful woman's scarf may be a good place to begin .............
Ciao bellissime. A presto.