The Eight Best Quotes From Our Hero Robin Givhan’s Reddit AMA

It’s not every day a Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist interacts with random Reddit users, so when Robin Givhan says you can ask her anything, you better conjure up the hardest-hitting questions you can muster.

Sure enough, the inquiries from today’s thread did not disappoint, and the New York Magazine critic’s responses are expectedly mind-blowingly, thoughtful, honest and insightful. We’d copy and paste the whole thing if we could, but these top eight bits will more than do.

This magnificent summary of why fashion is worth writing about:

“Over the course of the years, I’ve learned [that] fashion is a fascinating business about selling magic. It is done on the backs of our optimism and our insecurity. It is as much psychology as commerce. But I’ve also learned that every day we make split second decisions about people based on their attire and those decisions can have powerful implications — see the story of Trayvon Martin and his hoodie. It’s important for us to understand how fashion works and how we connect to it.”

A refreshingly direct opinion:

“[Hands] down the most disappointing for me was Rodarte. [The] Mulleavy sisters are extremely talented and they’ve set a high bar for themselves, so this season when they put spangly bras on the runway, my reaction was basically: Oh Lordy. what the heck?”

And her thoughts on a show she liked:

“My favorite show to write about was Thom Browne because he gave me so much to think about, and I thought it was extremely appropriate that he had all of the fashion audience sitting in a white, padded cell. And I love designers who make us think about clothes as more than costumes.”

This one made us tear up a little:

“While i don’t necessarily think that the all of the people who hover around the outsides of fashion shows are the most stylish or the most sophisticated in their displays, i find their energy and enthusiasm delightful. They’re no worse than the face-painting fans outside a sports arena. They’re the diehards. The loyalists. Every industry needs them. i hope that if any of those folks who are part of the circus decide they want to make a career in the fashion industry, that they will remember what it was like being on the outside, that they will hold designers accountable to their customers and they will help make the industry a more inviting place.”

The craziest thing she witnessed at NYFW:

“The woman walking across Lincoln Center Plaza wearing a fox fur vest when it was 80+ degrees outside. This was followed by a woman wearing a wool coat outside of Ralph Lauren when it was about 80% humidity. But they attracted the street style photographers, so their job was a success!”

On how her career has affected her own style:

“My job allows me to see the best that fashion has to offer. It’s taught me a lot about quality. It has made me wish that I have way more money than I do. I try to buy strategically. I buy less than I did when I first started the beat. And I never try to be a fashion plate. That’s just not my personality. It’s not in my budget. And I think it’s unbecoming of a journalist.”

To the poster who misspelled “Hedi“:

“I’m going to go with team Raf only because “teamheidi” sounds like it would require wearing lederhosen.”

To the 30-year-old single male who asked if grabbing “the clothes that smell cleanest out of the pile of ‘clean’ clothes on my floor” is “an acceptable way to approach fashion”:

“No, my dear. This is not acceptable. You are better than that. You deserve more than reasonably clean clothes from a pile. Find your inner swagger. Hang up your clothes. Find your style. Go conquer the world.”

Related Links:
It’s Robin Givhan’s World, We Just Quote It: 10 Critiques Worth Revisiting
Robin Givhan To Pen Book About 1970s Runway Showdown
Quotes of the Week: Courtney Love Talks Going In and Out of Fashion


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