Opinion | Is red carpet fashion still relevant?

red carpet

*image via Zimbio

If you’re a pop-culture vulture like me, when January rolls around the one thing that crosses your mind. It’s the start of the most lavishly opulent two months of the year:

Awards show season!

Whilst for most people this psycho-analysing the media winning predictions, or eagerly waiting up at 2am to watch the ceremony on live-streams or on TV, for me my awards show experience focuses almost entirely on the red carpet. Yes, call me sad but I live for the red carpet coverage and more often that not the red carpet can honestly be the most entertaining part of the awards show, especially when the ceremonies end up flopping because of awkward hosts or I get frustrated at the winners/losers lists.

Obviously I’m not oblivious to the criticisms that have amped up in the past few years namely #AskHerMore, controversy over cultural appropriation and the objectification of many of the women on the red carpet. I wrote a post last year about ‘being nicer’ to the attendees who I’ve actively shamed online when I’ve been writing about these ceremonies.

But with all of these criticisms and more celebrity women fighting back against the inane ‘what are you wearing’ questions, I question myself as to whether ‘red carpet fashion’ is still relevant in 2016? Does it matter and do people care? What is the ‘carpet’s’ value?

For all intents and purposes the red carpet is a PR event. For designers it becomes a valuable showcase opportunity, not just in the business sense – where more often than not being featured on the red carpet can be the biggest PR opportunity for smaller, unknown labels – but of their talent as well. The red carpet can prove to be a wonderful test of the wear-ability of their designs (after these pieces are meant to be worn, not hung gathering dust in the wardrobes of the wealthy). For attendees, most are there to promote movies, albums, or simply themselves, and what better way to catch people’s attention but to make a statement with your outfit.

The problem lies and the value skews seems to be in the reportage of the red carpet – a problem which I and other red carpet aficionados seem to contribute to when I decided to do fashion round ups instead of focusing on the achievements of attendees. It becomes an even bigger problem when the red carpet reports seem to focus solely on what women are wearing (men very rarely get mentioned and when they do the conversations on fashion are cut short and move onto meatier topics). Though some may argue, that these women have a choice not to dress up for an event you have to beg to question as to whether you would tell a man to do the same? Because sometimes, yes, these attendees want to dress up and feel glam, but that’s not all they’re there for.

So where does that leave us, the ‘reporters’. Do we too have a responsibility to maybe #ReportOnMore? Arguably, yes. We’re only contributing to the problem if we choose to talk more about what attendees are wearing or choose to focus solely on women. But the thing is, rather selfishly, I really enjoy red carpet fashion. It’s so much fun to write about, but maybe I need to think about how I write about it more carefully and really think about how I talk about the women I feature.

The first test? The Golden Globes tonight.

See you on the red carpet.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Leave your comments on the idea of the red carpet circuit. Do you enjoy watching from the sidelines simply for the fashion, or are you yearning for people like me to #AskHerMore?

Ria