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The Bigger Picture: Fashion and Mental Health

This week, Jerome Paredes and Eloise Bond talk to FLIPSIDE on the fashion show this evening and how they manage to stay sane.

What is fashion to you?

JP: Fashion to me isn’t about clothing, it’s this nexus point between culture, society, artistic expression, design. Especially at LSE, it’s such an opportunity to comment on this artistic expression because we don’t really focus on creativity.

EB: People ask me that all the time. Fashion is the fusion of art, society, culture and politics. Fashion can be divided into subsections too, like the business of fashion, the artistic side, the design side, the creative and the realist. I love Fashion for everything it embodies really, but my relationship is always fluctuating. Some days, I’m very passionate about it, some days I wonder what’s the point in creating all this?

You worked on the upcoming show. How have you incorporated your views of fashion into the show? 

JP: Me and Eloise both had this vision of what fashion is and what the fashion society is really about. The show is called 199Z: Diversity Revisited. We got a bunch of designers and their comments on how diversity is a hot topic right now but also ways in which that it’s problematic and ways in which this discussion is way more complex and nuanced. There’s also so much academic research on the power relations that come into the industry between models and the casting directors that underline economic inequalities. We wanted to reflect all these things in the show. Most participants are LSE students, a lot of creative queer people of colour. All these are things we wanted to bring together and show that it’s not just about what you’re wearing.

That sounds like a lot of work. How do you actually set up the fashion show? How do you incorporate these aspects? What goes on behind the scenes?

JP: I’m still figuring that out with a week to go! That’s why it’s taken a year to really do this. We were really lucky to have people who have experience and give us a lot of advice. One of the key things was the venue: Saatchi. The second step was to have people in the industry give advice. I sent out more than two hundred emails to PR directors of major firms, people in the British fashion council and a lot of people got back to me like ‘yes, I love this idea’ and got on board. Once you have the designers and the venue and the idea, you can tell people about it and it all just snowballs from there.

EB: Jerome has described the nitty-gritty so I will leave it at that. But yeah, a show is just like a start-up, and it requires that kind of dedication too. We had the best team. Zainab, Sara, Irene and Caroline were incredible in executing our vision. Jerome and I worked in tandem and had this unspoken bond. One was always strong and kept the belief, the little light. If we didn’t have such a relationship, the show wouldn’t happen.

So you had to send out 200 emails?? How did you manage to do this alongside your schoolwork?

JP: The lesson we had to learn is you need a good team. You need people who are passionate about the idea, even when things go wrong. I’ve definitely made a lot of mistakes in this process. I’ve made it difficult for people to stay with the project. So, you really need to be committed to a team that is mature, professional, and can deal with pressure. You can’t do it alone.

So how do you take care of yourself?

JP: You need to have hope and you have to have people around you that really support you. I think for me, having a psychotherapist really changed things. I think that disconnecting from all the pressures that you feel like ‘I need to have a career’ is important. We’re going to live for so long, I’m in no rush to have my life figured out by 24. You can be poor and have fun for a bit.

A lot of students at LSE go through what you went through, they want to run a society and get a first and get a JP Morgan internship, so what’s one piece of advice you would give to these students to take care of themselves?

JP: Take a moment and slow down. If you are overwhelmed, you’re not doing anything right. It’s better to do one thing right, instead of four things wrong. There’s no point in doing something if you’re not doing it right. Be realistic in what you can actually do, and realise it’s not the end of the world if you do less.

 

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