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Beauty will save the world

This week I remembered a conversation I had quite a few years ago with a friend of mine regarding my career path. I was never one of those people who really wanted to be anything in particular and instead I focused on what I was told I was good at. My well-meaning friend had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was already quite grown up and I remember telling her: I want to write about fashion, style, art and beauty. Her not very encouraging, but ultimately well-intentioned answer, at the time was: Well, you can’t do that here. No one cares about that stuff.

More than 10 years later, she’s sadly still as right as she was then. I’ve been to job interviews were people have described some of the writing I have done for leading magazines as being beautifully written but frivolous. I’ve been told that some of my subjects may be seen as too niche and too abstract for some of the readers to understand. I’ve even been told that fashion can never be considered as art and that I am feeding into a perverse capitalist system. Yet ironically, and I suppose inevitably, this way of thinking has only fuelled my desire to write more about beautiful things and help others promote their own striking contributions to the world of aesthetics.

I’ve even been told that fashion can never be considered as art and that I am feeding into a perverse capitalist system

I am fed up of attending concert halls and theatres which are half empty, disgusted by how little space is dedicated to promoting the arts and showcasing talent, profoundly troubled by the way that some public funding is thrown around.

Above all, I am baffled by how very few seem to care. Exhibitions are always attended by the same 30 people, fashion shows have become more about getting an invitation for personal PR and then rudely ignoring what’s going on in front of you: it’s almost as if people have decided en masse that they aren’t going to dedicate any of their time or energy to even trying to feed their mind with anything other than the banal and strictly utilitarian.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote that ‘beauty will save the world’; maybe we could start by saving ourselves first.

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