By Jenni Sellan

The 2017 fashion headlines were undeniably more than skin deep and far beyond Prada’s comic totes, Tom Fords ‘F#@!* Fabulous’ return to New York City, and Chanel’s intergalactic glitter boots.

It was the year that Fashion found its voice; its dirty laundry exposed. There was much accomplished and many promises were made.

The content of 2017 was intense and controversial, the truth sometimes shocking and yet all of it fiercely relevant to the successful progression and evolution of the industry at large. From the runway to the working conditions of garment workers in Bangladesh, every facet of the industry was scrutinised and every chain of command called to accountability.

We talked and tackled the issues largely due to the determined voices of fashion’s hard working heroes, such as Sara Ziff and the Model Alliance, James Scully & Cameron Russel just to name a few.

Respected industry brands and high profile individuals were challenged and exposed for their abusive treatment of models; Legislation is now pending for protection of models against sexual harassment in the work place from New York to California; Campaigns such as #metoo launched giving models a global platform to share their stories and the #DearNYC campaign called on the American Fashion Industry to prioritise health and diversity on the runway; Copy cat designers were called out by industry insiders and diversity in all its forms were challenged like never before.

The list goes on and while the discussion went viral on social media, traditional media sold the story, with the likes of the The New York Times and Harpers Bazaar exposing the truth of what it means to be a fashion model and the controversy surrounding the industry.
The conversation has well and truly been thrown into the spotlight and those who previously had been afraid to use their voice, found the courage to use it.
All in all, fashions’ scandalous year is nothing less than a significant step forward for the industry; the conversation embraced and celebrated by many.

Quoting @diet_prada, “2017 has been a good year for fashion. With James Scully and Cameron Russell policing the treatment of models, Gucci banning the use of fur and Condè Cast cutting ties with Terry Richardson, it seems like the industry Is finally waking up and addressing it’s inherent cruelties head on”

And now to 2018, A year of ‘great expectations’ in fashion; what should we expect to see and what must we be giving our voices to?  The answer is complex, but here is our round up:

Runway Diversity across ethnicity, gender and body type

– The enactment of legislation resulting in protection for models against sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace

Print & digital magazines embracing diversity across ethnicity, gender and body type

– Photographers, Stylists, Casting directors and the like called to accountability for their conduct

Sustainability practices and rights of garment workers to be addressed across the industry with deliberate steps toward change made

In the words of Sara Ziff, “Fashion is a great platform for transformational change”, and disruption for the greater good of the industry and ongoing conversation is essential for the momentum and achievements of 2017 to transpire and continue into the New Year.

Will the truth finally set the fashion industry free?
Meet me here; same time, same place, 2019 – because only time will tell.