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The Show Must Go On

by Sheridan Cyr

Due to the recent events in Paris, many fashion companies who had plans for conferences, black-tie dinners, exhibitions, celebrations and other business-related outings decided to cancel their events. Part of this decision kept safety in mind, the other part was to simply allow for some time for Paris, as well as the rest of the world, to recover.

A Nov. 18th New York Times article wrote, “Some may assert that gatherings honoring how we adorn our bodies have no place in the current conversation, that such discussions should occur only in abashed whispers, that anything smacking of aesthetics is somehow disrespectful of the horror attached to current events.”

Sounds like a good idea, right? Courteous, respectful, rational. It only seems right to let the city heal before returning to what could be considered by some as frivolous or materialistic fashion.

Wrong. What some are failing to consider is that the fashion industry equates jobs as well as revenue for Paris. Heritage and national identity are hindered in this decision to cancel.

In France, approximately 165,000 people are employed by the fashion industry, according to the NYT article, whether it be seamstresses, designers, models, etc. The NYT article explained that according to Euromonitor, the French luxury goods industry had sales of $25 billion last year. The taxes paired with that amount of sales can help with much of Paris’ recovery from the attacks.

Products of fashion figureheads such as Dior and Chanel can be found worldwide. However, shopping streets such as Avenue Montaigne and Rue St.-Honoré are tourist attractions comparable to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre in Paris. Consumers could easily purchase their products closer to home, yet they make purchases in the city similar to souvenirs of the culture of France. Fashion is a huge part of the city’s heritage.

The city’s decision to block off entry is very well-intentioned, but is also keeping out tourism revenue, and in turn taxes that could assist in rebuilding the city. The NYT article fittingly said, “If we turn away from the luxury and fashion industries at a time like this because they are not ‘serious,’ then we contribute to the goals of those who attacked France.”

The attackers wanted to instill fear into citizens of the city and to the whole world, and it’s working. By choosing to cancel these events, we are allowing the terrorists to win, as well as hindering potential healing within the city by cutting its revenue to a fraction of what it could be.

The attacks on the city were horrifically tragic, there is no downplaying that, but the world must keep spinning. Any movement is better than stagnancy in a tragedy like this.