ALEXA INVESTIGATES: British Vogue has joined forces with Alexa Chung to take a look behind the scenes of the fashion industry, in a documentary series that will debut on the title’s Vogue Video channel Tuesday.
The series, called “The Future of Fashion with Alexa Chung,” sees Chung interview fashion insiders such as designers Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, Christopher Kane and Sir Paul Smith; documentary director Frédéric Tcheng; journalist Sarah Mower, and fashion psychologist Dr. Carolyn Mair at the London College of Fashion, in what the writer and presenter called a “fashion safari.”
Danielle Bennison-Brown, director of video content at Condé Nast U.K., said that the series was conceived both to give fashion a “wider cultural context,” and to help young people wanting to work in the fashion industry understand the myriad roles that are on offer. “It’s very much about trying to educate people on how fantastic [the fashion industry] is, because it’s often portrayed as ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ or ‘Ugly Betty,’ and that’s kind of the only representation we have in video content,” said Bennison-Brown.
Chung and British Vogue asked the magazine’s fans on YouTube to submit questions for the series, which helped shape the issues that the show covers. They also looked to the British Fashion Council and Google, to find out the most-asked questions about fashion from their points of view. Bennison-Brown said when discussing the series with the BFC, research by the organization brought up that young people’s interest in the fashion industry was on the wane. “Young people found it to be quite a scary industry, [and] parents didn’t want their kids going into it because [they thought] it didn’t have job security,” she said. “If you’re dealing with a situation where young people are thinking, ‘actually I don’t want to work in fashion,’ then…in 10 years’ time we’re not going to have any of those…people wanting to work in our industry.”
Chung added that she hopes the series will highlight “just how hardworking people [in the fashion industry] are and that fashion is more than just Champagne and air-kisses,” she said. “It’s easy to be dismissive of fashion when actually it’s a huge industry that has a very positive impact on the economy and employs a staggering number of people.”
In the course of the series, Rousteing talks about how he rose from starting life in an orphanage to becoming creative director of Balmain, while Tcheng details all the people he came across behind the scenes at Dior while shooting “Dior and I,” including the seamstresses who had featured roles in the documentary film. Smith, meanwhile, advises those aspiring to get into the industry to do anything but “being a designer.”
And Bennison-Brown said that following the six 10-minute episodes — which will go live every Tuesday at 10 a.m. in London — Chung will work with Vogue Video on another series that looks at fashion and sustainability, followed by another that examines technology in fashion. Chung also said that after touching on body image in the current series, she plans to explore the issue further in future episodes.