Monday, August 23, 2010

Studying fashion

This blog – and the analytical way I tend to write here – is often called 'academic'. The funny thing is that, although I'm now employed in an academic teaching role, it doesn't really overlap with the content here.

It feels odd to call this a 'fashion blog', since I am only tangentially interested in 'the fashion industry'. I feel I've reiterated many times that over the time I've blogged here, I've become less and less interested in the industrial cycles of producing and marketing clothes, and much more interested in the cultures surrounding clothes, and in the ways people put them together in outfits.

Also, unlike many bloggers who talk about clothes, I am not especially interested in turning Footpath Zeitgeist into a fashion media hub, or using it to get work within the fashion industries (designing, styling, retailing, fashion media, etc). So I don't really participate in practices such as tracking my blog traffic and attempting to grow it, or incorporating sponsorship, advertising and giveaways for readers.

But I do realise from time to time that people see this blog as an academic resource – sometimes from the search keywords that bring people here, sometimes from the way I get cited. So if you are looking to get into the industry yourself, and you're based in Melbourne, Kangan Institute of TAFE's Centre of Fashion is having an open day on Wednesday 15 September from 6pm.
If you've been thinking about a career in fashion, millinery, retail or visual merchandising, here's your chance to see what it's all about.

You'll get the opportunity to meet with our trainers, see some of the wonderful creations our students are producing and get a first-hand look at our state-of-the-art facilities.

More info here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seriously, what is wrong with some people?

An incident happened tonight that has left me wondering why some people are so keen on their own unpleasant prejudices that they want to attribute them to me, too.

It started when the following, anonymous comment on this post came up for moderation:

Number one, was it necessary at all the mention Fashion Hayley in your post at all? And your little passive aggressive dig at Hayleys "dodgy photo" is nasty and sickening.
Also seems that by mentioning her name and site, you might have thought you could up your blog hits.

Number two, get your facts right. The Top Shop dress wasn't designed for Incu. Incu are partners with Top Shop ("Incu Presents Top Shop) and sell Top Shop wares in their paddington store.

And this post on "sitting this one out" is stupid. To say that to consciously boycott a trend due to highly stylistic knowledge seems to be contradictory, sense trends and style are mutually exclusive.

You're just a ugly bitch who looks fucking disgusting in everything.
I was like, "Whoa! Whoa!" I was totally not about to approve that. But underneath the childishness, the aggression, and that final line – which is uglier, bitchier, and more fucking disgusting than anything I've ever written – I sensed that someone felt I was dissing Fashion Hayley.

Now, where would they have got that idea from? So I did a bit of digging in my blog stats, and noticed multiple Google searches for terms such as "Mel Campbell 'Fashion' Hayley" and "Footpath Zeitgeist fashion hayley".

Clearly someone was trying to find references that linked me and this blog to Fashion Hayley. I did the same search myself, and found this sorry piece of shit. The blogger's name is Luke Devine. The reason why my hate-commenter had to Google me tonight is that Devine did not link his post back here.

Perhaps he also didn't want me to discover (via my stats) what he'd written. Perhaps he didn't want to give me a chance to respond to the way he has blatantly twisted my comments to attribute opinions to me that I simply do not hold.

Usually I have better things to do on the internet than feed trolls – for instance, looking at pictures of cats or playing Flash games – but the fact that Devine has tagged his post with my full name, and is sending hate comments my way, means that I feel compelled to respond. So I posted the following on his blog as a comment…

Luke, you have utterly misrepresented me. I don't share your weird dislike for Hayley Hughes or belittle any of her successes. I am not trying to make her "look kind of stupid" – rather, I'd suggest YOU want her to look stupid, so you're pinning those opinions on me.

Hayley works hard and I respect her genuine enthusiasm for the fashion industry. I actually pity you for being so bitter and suspicious that you would read my blog post as "surreptitious female bitchiness" or "a backhanded piece of blatant cross promotion", and consider it only a "remote possibility" that I could be sincere.

I am a regular reader of Hayley's blog. (I wonder if you know what it's like to read blogs regularly, to get a sense for the writer's tone and favourite topics, rather than Google searching them as fodder for your snark.) So when I spotted that dress in Big W, I remembered that Hayley had bought one, and that it was similar to another dress she'd bought in Sydney.

The reason I apologised for reproducing the dodgy photo is that in the blog post where it originally appears – and which I CLEARLY linked to – Hayley herself writes: 'Photos of me on nights out are at best terrible. Believe it or not this is the least bad of the bunch."

So yeah – I WAS genuinely apologising, because I wanted to show Hayley wearing the dress, but the only image on her blog was this one that even she admits she didn't like. I included the other pic of Hayley in the similar Topshop dress… because she looks BETTER in that pic! Of course, you unkindly refer to her as "aping a fashion model". Jeez, we just can't win with you.

While I'm here, let me add that I don't see Footpath Zeitgeist as a 'fashion' blog – it's a research blog where I semi-regularly post my thoughts about bodies, clothes and pop culture. These concerns only sometimes overlap with the industrial operations of the fashion industry. I don't give a shit about the amount of site traffic it gets, about 'cross promotion', or about being part of some 'machine'.