The Mean Girls of Fashion

mean girls

So I have this client who has told me how when she goes to buy clothing at market the sales reps for some of the nice designer brands (think denim and cool fashion brands) won’t give her the time of day. My client has a very successful store in a state where there isn’t a lot of competition for cool stores. She is a sweetheart, knows her customers, and has been in business for years. When she told me that the sales reps would just look at her like “what are you doing here?” I thought — well maybe that’s just how she perceived it. I believed her but thought — surely it can’t be that bad. Surely people (almost all women) aren’t really that rude/mean.

Man was I wrong. Sunday and Monday I went up to NYC for a quick walk around the accessories shows to see some of the new trends in fashion accessories. I didn’t realize that there would be so much clothing at these shows as well. I did know (prior to going) that the fashion-side of markets like this is very “appointment only.” After strolling through all the accessories and meeting all the people, nice reps, designers, etc., I wandered into the clothing side of the show.

Wow. I mean, wow. Since when did it become cool to be bitchy? To obviously look another woman up and down before you look at her face and say hello? To obviously look another woman up and down before you stare at her badge to see if you recognize her name or boutique and then say (with a fake smirk) so where’s your store? I mean this woman might want to make a large purchase — spend her money of which you get a cut of — with the brand you work for.

Now I get that brands want to be protective of how many stores carry their product, and what type of store it is, and who their customer is, and that it fits in with their brand vibe. I get it. I’m a blogger — I do the same thing. But that brand protection doesn’t need to include being an obviously judgemental mean girl, right? Right? A mean girl right to someone’s face?

I was just appalled at some of the behavior of ADULT WOMEN. None of which I experienced up close and personal, but I could see them staring me up and down. I mean, I am a blogger and fashion is one of my main topics so I’m into it — I dress well — I looked cute (except my hair — not a good hair day), so I know I wasn’t getting the brunt of the mean girl personally, but I was observing it happen and I just wanted to scream GET OVER YOURSELVES!!! YOU ARE NOT THAT COOL (um, no one is). Especially if they are mean, then that makes them really not cool. I don’t care who you are or what brand you rep — being like that is just not acceptable.

It made me think — am I just that naive? Have I not noticed this before? Or maybe I just hadn’t seen that much mean girl in one place at one time. And I’m not someone that had some traumatic experience when I was little or something and am therefore super sensitive to it — I’m not really sensitive at all and am really pretty frank and brutal myself. I just don’t think people get anywhere by being so bitchy. As women shouldn’t we just all be at least nice to each other? Can’t we just be supportive? Cordial? Encouraging? Friendly? Happy for one another’s success?

I’m not saying walk around with a candy-coated smile on your face all the time — I’m not that way, but if you are meeting people and SELLING SOMETHING and REPRESENTING A BRAND — don’t be bitchy. I mean, do brands want their reps to be like that? To make people feel awkward coming into their booths if they have a legit business and would like to talk to a rep to see if it would be a fit? If the brand doesn’t think it’s a fit — okay fine, say so nicely. Is it really that hard to do business like a professional?

Now obviously I am generalizing here. No, not every single sales girl was looking people up and down and being mean, but there were enough rude people for me to notice it and be disgusted enough to want to write a post about it. I know there are lots of nice female fashion sales reps  — I met a lot of them. But sheesh. I just could not believe my eyes.

With a rough economy (for oh the last 12 years), people out of work, businesses having to close, bombings at marathons … don’t you think we have enough crap to worry/stress/fret about? Do we really need to be judgemental and mean to other women in our industry (or anyone)? NO. We don’t. Being a cool fashion brand rep doesn’t mean look people up and down before you speak to them. A cool fashion brand means a passionate group of creative designers and people working together creating beautiful things to sell to people who love them.

You can be cool, edgy, hip and even straightforward, blunt, to the point — yet also still be nice and polite.

*This has no reflection on the the actual show itself — the show setup was amazing (except for the lack of air conditioning). They provided a healthy free (I know!) lunch which really blew my mind. The coat and bag check was free (tip only). I was impressed and will be attending more shows.

Image above is from the Mean Girls movie.