Working in a creative fashion role in Vancouver is not a full-time job for most of us trying to establish style-related vocations. There is simply not enough money floating around the small industry here to employ everyone who wants to focus on editorials and/or brand work. This is why the blogger scene can (relatively) explode here - bloggers are not limited by location to bring in revenue and leverage their influence. Continuing on this logic, this is why fashion industry events here draw the usual crowd of bloggers out for the night - what brand doesn't want to woo exposure and influence?
A thriving blog scene is only one piece of the puzzle. Bloggers aren't going to dedicate themselves to focusing on only Vancouver fashion as they need to be diverse enough to draw in other geographically-located readers to make it work in the long haul (and I don't blame them.) Sadly, the most-talented photographers, stylists, and make-up artists usually end up leaving town for greener pastures.
So how can we impact change here now and create an industry that is self-sustaining and inclusive? Short of hoping that the brands here become big enough to need huge campaigns and publicity and draw on this pool of talent, I can only think of things we can do for each other. This is what that might look like:
- Try to share your passion and knowledge with others in the industry - they'll like you more and you can practice not worrying that they'll steal your jobs/clients.
- Create small associations and promote knowledge of your field - events like "Style the Stylist" held at cool/fun stores, or simply writing about things in your field that are bigger than you.
- Support local! And don't hesitate to tell people they need professional fashion help (ha ha! But actually, only if they ask..)
- Before your favourite photographer/stylist/MUA jettisons this city for something that pays the bills, try to make a genuine connection and draw on that knowledge base whenever you can.
- If you've already "made it" in your own mind, switch gears and give back. No one likes someone who views themselves as "elite" - there is always room to grow and in an industry this small, we will need to work/grow together.