I really do owe a debt of gratitude to the Scottish fashion community (and just as importantly the Scottish film community too). You really know how to un-person your own creative talent and destroy your own narrative about how important it is to support anything Scottish from fashion events YOU demand through to films that you have no clue how to sell or finance, they have to be supported because Scotland. It really is amazing to me that geography trumps business.
We had a realistic line in the sand over what our expectations for the pop-up show and what it would bring, it was being used as a stepping stone to create more and it was going to be difficult to push without support and without a huge amount of effort on our part. That we did. We spent money on ads, we spent hours contacting businesses from self employed buyer through to the Scottish fashion community and of course the press who’s client base was exactly the same as we needed at the event.
The outcome of this?
Well it was simple. Everyone, and I do mean everyone from the Enterkine Hotel through to the various fashion based individuals such as the bloggers, fashion index and calendar (all with the geographic tag of Scotland) declined or ignored the messages and attempts to reach out to them. So the people who were crying out for fashion shows, to be taken as seriously in the market as the rest of the UK, particularly London, all of them sat on their hands.
This was an absolutely insane move on all fronts, what could have and should have been an opportunity to promote Scotland as a viable entity in the market was ignored. What was an easy sell in London we knew would take a little more effort up here, and it was within the interest of all parties to make it work.
So why didn’t they? I have some theories on this:
We went outside the prescribed norms and did this without permission or consent from the cliques. By this I mean simply we didn’t approach any of the current “collective” teams of makeup artists, photographers and those who are “running” the social media groups for the “fashion industry in Scotland.”
Everyone sat and waited to be asked. A prime example of this was models. Scottish Agencies wanted between 10 and 100 times the going rate of London to provide models for a show, no negotiations, no information on what “industry standard” rate of pay they required would be, just that they wanted that for their models AND a consultation fee for last minute booking and arrangement. Oddly they were un-surprised at the details of the event and just asked for money with no clear definable boundary as to why the rate was set so high. Something I have noticed is the minute you mention budgets, no matter the skill level its automatically pay me industry rate, usually the top level rate for time served (eg senior rate for 10 year plus staff) to someone who has Zero experience or has never been paid for the various “indie” projects on their CV.
*In London, agencies will loan out new faces on request for shows and use it as a platform to create other business as they know that a successful show will generate look books, editorials (paid) and advertorials. So they generally accept expenses for the models on the understanding that its a trade test.
Expanding on the waiting to be asked notion, where were the creatives from makeup and photography? What was the issue? You will pay a small fortune to go to London and complain that Scotland should have professional shows that you can cover so why didn’t you step up and ask for info or try and get a foot in the door using the trade test logic or at least support it? What were you waiting for an engraved invitation? The networking potential was there but you didn’t take it. Does that trip to London generate business or are you just sending images on spec to papers and magazines (usually low end) in the hopes of getting published, why not do that for a Scottish show? You wanted it, we created it, you ignored it.
One thing that was said that still confounds me was the hotel, the Enterkine house hotel in Annbank near Ayr. When questioned on their lack of support for the show, the Owner begged me to do something to promote her hotel hence bringing London and international designers for a show, the manageress stated “we don’t promote outside events and anyway I had no idea how to promote a fashion event.” So the ticket link and details were not enough? You can’t work with social media? A simple share on your social accounts would have been a step in the right direction.
So with all this in mind, I want to again state my thanks to the Scottish fashion (and film/TV) circuit for opening my eyes to how the demand to be taken seriously in the industry only stretches as far as talk.
I will always be proud of my Scottish heritage but from here on, thats as far as it goes. I see right through the support Scottish creatives talk and know thats all it is. Talk.