By Amelia Abelo | @ameliaabelo
Photographer: Adriana Roslin | @adrianaroslin
The fashion industry is one of the few sectors that everyone seems to have an opinion about, whatever it may be. The trends associated with it have, in one way or the other, been under debate since the dawn of times. However, the past decade is one where some of the most drastic protests we have seen occurred. Criticized topics have included everything from social media obsessed teenagers with poor body image to excessive usage of digital manipulation to fast fashion.
Generally, the analyses tend to be made by those on the outside, rather than by those who are actually working in the industry and being affected by it daily. In this series of Q&A interviews, we will consult a group of professional photographers, who are at different stages in their career, to get a unique perspective on the fashion industry from the inside.
Diversity in the Fashion Industry and the Impact of Social Media
“I would like for the world to see the light inside all this darkness.” – Adriana Roslin
Adriana Roslin is a Madrid born fashion photographer and art director. At the mere age of 25, she has already made a name for herself by breaking barriers within both the music and fashion industry. In addition to having had her work published in iconic publications such as Vogue Spain, Hypebeast, and i-D Spain, she is the first Spanish woman to shoot a GQ Spain cover. With a career that was partly spring boarded from Instagram, she has agreed to share her unique perspective of the current trends and potential future challenges that the industry is facing.
When and how did you become interested in photography and art direction? And when did you know you wanted to get into the music and fashion industry, more precisely?
At the age of 17, photography was a way to escape from the fact that I had to study for at least 4 more years. I started university, and after the first year I couldn’t take it anymore; I was frustrated, my mind and body were struggling to keep calm.
I was already taking pictures and enjoyed it, so I decided that photography had to be my next step. I was 18 or 19 back then, and after years I’ve realized that it was a desperate move. Thankfully it worked out. I was lucky.
How would you describe the style of your work? Has it evolved since you started?
The style of my work has changed in general and varies from period to period. Although, I’ve noticed that there’s always a part of me in every photo. I am happy that I’ve been able to maintain this part of myself and my natural style, despite working in an industry where the trends are constantly changing.
My style is very mature, minimal and geometric. The thing that connects my pictures the most is the shade of color I use. I believe this kind of moderate editing is a big part of showing an artist’s personality.
Do you think the fact that you are working in both the music and fashion industry influences your creative process?
Sometimes. What makes photographing music artists interesting is the fact that you must portray their own essence and represent them as a person, which is something that you historically have not done in fashion with models. Traditionally, professional models are only supposed to be a part of someone else’s concept.
Throughout the years I have come to realize that I want to portray the fashion models in the same way as the music artists. Including the models own personality and interpretation of the artistic concepts brings originality to each editorial. So, my creative process has changed in the sense that it now evolves around people.
Both the music and fashion industry have been criticized for having a lack of diversity among professionals both behind and in front of the camera. While being active in the two simultaneously, have you noticed any changes happening?
Absolutely, today we’re starting to give a voice to everyone, regardless of their looks or where they came from. Even though the lack of diversity it is still a big problem, I believe that the shift we have seen so far is only the beginning. What makes it different from any temporary trend, is the fact that it is not a trend, it’s a revolution. A revolution is something that continues to grow because it’s important for humanity.
You are a woman in a male-dominated profession. How do you think this has affected your career? Does it come with any advantages or disadvantages?
I’m a photographer, so that puts me almost at the top of the pyramid in this business. Being very comfortable in my own skin, I can be difficult to dominate. At the same time, I’m a human being with feelings and I have experienced discrimination because of not having a dick. I won’t stop fighting against this kind of nonsense and will keep creating because that’s what keeps me alive.
Can you, as a professional, see any differences between the style of the photographs and videos that have been shot by male photographers and those shot by women?
In general men tend to over-sexualize, so I can tell almost every time. This is also true for some women, but from my experience it is more common to see male photographers doing so.
Occasionally, I get very impressed by the sensibility that some people are able to have while photographing a nude subject, or something else that easily could have been portrayed as vulgar. It proves that both genders are capable of creating images with more than one style.
While looking through your bold portfolio, one can see that several looks of the models portrayed in your images are not in line with the constantly debated beauty ideals. What are your thoughts when you select models?
I strongly believe in diversity and have since day one of my career. Having had big discussions with creatives and brands about the selection of models, I do not allow myself to keep working with the same ethnicity more than twice in a row. It makes me feel physically uncomfortable because it is not right.
Social media has become a crucial tool for both networking and promotion among professional artists. Is there a risk that the chase for new followers and desire to stay relevant, will cause a shift of focus from the artistic quality?
Definitely, the desire of social media fame already has stolen much of the attention over the past years. Although, I think the focus among artists have started to shift back to the art itself.
It is interesting how social networks, such as Instagram, have decided to remove the “like” function in response to the proven negative effects it has on mental health among users. This affects the market of online fashion and the business of being an Influencer in many ways.
Today there is an increasing amount of applications and programs for retouching photographs and videos. Is this development positive or negative, in your opinion?
My impression is that it’s mainly influencers and celebrities that use these tools. Photographers on the other hand, do not even think about it, or at least that’s what I believe. I think the effects that retouching has on mental health is an important fact to highlight.
What challenges do you think the industry will face in the future?
I think the hundreds of artists that rise almost every month is overwhelming and sometimes discouraging. Not so much for the business in general, but for many creatives. I would say it could be creating false expectations for a lot of people by making them think they will be succeeding as artists, only to realize that it is very difficult. This high rotation of talented professionals, and the uncertainty that comes with it, also affects our economy and society in many ways.
As the fashion industry is filled with ever changing trends, it is difficult to say for sure what the future brings…