Working in Fashion Kinda Sucks

Fashionista, working in conjunction with A Fashionable Pause, “anonymously surveyed 640 people working in PR, editorial, retail, design and more,” about their experiences in the industry, and their responses “paint a bleak picture that should serve as a cautionary tale” for anyone hoping to break in.

81 percent of those surveyed stated that “they’d been bullied by a supervisor” and 72 percent said that they’d had supervisors use public humiliation as a “form of punishment.” Also, because being an asshole doesn’t require a supervisor title, 61 percent said they were bullied by coworkers, too.

The write-in anecdotes provided by those surveyed make the word “bleak” look downright optimistic, with “stories [that] crossed the line into flat-out discrimination based on religion… race and size… the glamorization of eating disorders and more.”

(Just a reminder: all of this is being done by adult humans.)

Making matter worse (there’s always a worse) is that the salaries still aren’t much – even under the glossiest roofs — leading one respondent to say, “Other industries get paid for the bullshit they’re put through, while we’re underpaid, overworked and with no benefits.”

All of this amounts to “a real loss for fashion as a whole,” the story said, “because if the industry can’t hold onto people who expect basic levels of human decency to be a part of their jobs, then the people who rise to the top and set the culture are more likely to be those who think that bullying, constant overtime and discrimination are normal.”

So why air its lifeblood’s dirty laundry? Fashionista hopes that by “gathering data about bullying, stress and a lack of work-life balance in fashion” it might “help us recognize the problems that are unique to our industry — and begin to see a path towards addressing those issues.”

You can read more about it at Fashionista.

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