Opinion | If You Don’t Look Good, We Don’t Look Good

Fashion’s dark side is cleverly disguised in fancy sets and luxurious outfits; Here are some pointers on how to survive the fake laughs

It’s been 10 years since I entered the fashion circus and much like the glitter and magic of the big top, the world of fashion works hard to look as good as it does. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain of the fashion world, to a place where beauty is just skin deep.

Leafing through a fashion magazine, scrolling through millions of fashion blog posts, showing models with perfect outfits and flawless makeup, one has to wonder: “What does it take?”

And the simple answer is: A lot!

To make it in the world of fashion, one needs to be a bit crazy. Because – let’s be honest – fashion is not a necessity but a luxury. We could all easily be dressed from head to toe in futuristic tech gear and we could keep going about our lives. Fashion is about expressing ourselves, the way we wish to be seen by the outside world.

What we need to realize is that unless we have a lot of money or are already famous, we’ll need to fight hard and make sacrifices to make it in this industry. Behind every successful editor, designer, model, photographer, stylist and makeup artist are years of shitty jobs. They’ve pulled all-nighters, worked for free, been broke and tried to stay on top of their game. Then, a chosen few reach the moment at which the “industry” recognizes their work as professional.

Some may think that job security is a given, but unfortunately they’re sorely mistaken. An artist needs to constantly be at their best, because as soon as they rest on their laurels they become obsolete. There are a million more hopefuls waiting to take their place.

Then there is the one percent who made it to the top, like the photographer Peter Lindbergh or supermodel Cindy Crawford. I’m guessing their life has become easier. But for the rest of us, it will always be a fight to stay part of a passion that will never let us go. It’s a beautiful and ugly world, with fake laughter & empty compliments, crazy events and pointless accessories.

We subject ourselves to this drama and upheaval to be able to invent beauty. Whether we’re creating a picture, fashioning a piece of fabric to evoke a personality, or transforming a person with face paint and hairspray, we are the ones who design your dreams. That power is addictive and you begin to hunger for it. That’s what keeps us going. But it’s important to remember, all that glitters is not gold and in my world it’s usually just some ugly sequins.

The year 2020 is approaching and I’ve been seeing the changes that will decide the future of the industry. The time of instant satisfaction has arrived and our social media footprint needs to be immense to make us interesting to big brands looking to push their perfume and handbag sales. Fashion professionals who get on board can use the democratization of the industry to their advantage, but the competition is bigger than ever.

It’s a jungle out there. Dress accordingly.

Ali Rabbani
Creative director and stylist for film and print. He studied fashion in Vienna and has worked all over the world in styling, set and food design, as well as art direction for advertising and fashion shoots, videos and shows. See his work @iamrabbani

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