THE BLOG

Vacuous Celebrity Journalism Has All the Soul of a Deserted Shopping Centre

22/09/2015 11:14 BST | Updated 17/09/2016 10:12 BST

With my menswear brand, Tom Cridland, I have been campaigning since June this year against fast fashion retailers who are mass producing wardrobe staples like t-shirts and sweatshirts that are systematically built to fall apart.

Applying the principle of planned obsolescence in this manner to making clothing damages our carbon and water footprints, as the badly made clothes have to be thrown away after just a year or two. For those of you less interested in the environmental impact of cheap fast fashion production, it is also unfair on us as customers - as the cost per wear ends up being extortionate - and on young fashion designers and entrepreneurs, like me, for whom making clothing is a labour of love.

We will also soon be partnering with a small British charity, Deki, and helping them provide funds and training for people in developing countries who want to work their way out of poverty. With an average grant size of £250, 100% of the money goes directly to people in need and even a small initial investment can be a huge help.

Some noteworthy news outlets have considered our campaigns, The 30 Year T-Shirt and The Timeless Chino, worthy of media coverage, including the BBC, The Times and Telegraph. Unfortuantely, however, the vast majority of the press are simply not interested in stories like ours that are centred around entrepreneurial or charitable endeavour and sustainable fashion.

Why? The distinct lack of a celebrity news hook.

You might think I'm exaggerating but I was recently informed that our sustainable fashion story would not be worthy of coverage, "...unless there's some kind of angle, e.g, Rihanna and Cara consummate their love for each other wearing nothing but 30-year-sweatshirts." I don't want to name names, but I spotted the very same journalist a bit later on calling the barrister at the centre of the recent Linkedin sexism scandal, Charlotte Proudman, a "Feminazi" in one of their presumably rare pieces of news coverage not centred around tracking down the whereabouts of the latest bunch of irrelevant Made In Chelsea guest stars.

Our brand has even somehow had the honour of making clothing for some people I hugely respect and admire, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Craig, Nigel Olsson of the Elton John Band, Rod Stewart and Stephen Merchant, among others. As much as some people may or may not appreciate The Departed, Layer Cake, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Maggie May or The Office, these are artists that value their privacy and do not pander to the every whim of gossip seeking journalists, whose articles have about as much sizzle as a slice of leftover Domino's.

Andy Warhol's adage, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", has come true, but only in a manner of speaking. It is those who do not wish to be disturbed by the media that will often never be left alone. Many artists have bemoaned their celebrity becoming bigger than their art, with Elton John commenting that the press are less interested in his new records than his hair, spending habits and sex life.

Is this vacuous celebrity culture necessary? The vast majority of people I know are interested in new and interesting art, fashion, music, business and innovation. They would rather read about it than a double page spread on all the Stasi-esque unwanted stalking the paparazzi have been doing of film stars trying to go and have some dinner with their loved ones without being harassed for a couple of hours.

It may be futile but I would like to implore all journalists that, next time you are thinking about covering the latest bowel movement of some hapless ex-I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here contestant whose 15 minutes of fame has expired, please consider all the amazing and interesting things that are being done by people out there, whether charitable, creative or entrepreneurial. These would make far better stories and finally give those in the public eye the respite they deserve.