The other night I went to speak about fashion writing for a class at the School of the Art Institute. While I wasn’t very optimistic about the potential for employment or even decently-paying freelance gigs as a fashion writer here in Chicago—which is unfortunate, because there is a lot to write about—fashion journalism does survive at publications in New York, Paris, London, and many other cities, not to mention online, both in well-known blogs and on obscure sites. But it’s important to make a distinction between fashion journalism and fashion writing. I don’t think of Vogue, so beholden to its advertisers, as a bastion of fashion journalism, although the writers and editors there are certainly extremely astute about fashion. To be a fashion journalist, you have to be willing to upset people, which is something that it seems like a lot of people in the industry try to avoid—especially in Chicago, where there seems to be an unspoken agreement not to write negatively about designers, not to mention the city-sponsored fashion initiative. Of course we’re talking about emerging designers and an emerging industry, which shouldn’t necessarily be held to world-class standards, but the lack of constructive criticism can’t ultimately be good for promoting growth and success.