Dear Australian Fashion,

We have to talk. I think that you’re trying to do too much, that you are spreading yourself a bit thin and, well, you’re not up to the standard I expect of you.

What I mean is that I think you’ve been looking over the shoulder of some of the international exchange kids and I don’t think that everything I’m seeing is yours. I know their work is great and of high quality, but they worked at it for a long time; it didn’t just happen. So you can’t expect it straight away. I know they have friends in high places, but you have great ideas and great talent. You just need to apply yourself.

Yes, you have a wonderful personality and on the surface I like you, you look great. But you have got to use your head. I know that doing what’s easy has got you this far, but you won’t be able to rely on this as you get older. It’s not entirely your fault. I’ve heard some comments from Australian Magazine that there would be no criticism of your work as long as you complete it, but I think we need to stop this kind of unproductive behaviour. How do you think we learn if we don’t recognise our mistakes and faults? And, contrary to what you’ve been told, you do have some faults; we all do.

From now on I think there should be full critique of your work. We should judge you against your peers and your friends, both international and local. We will look for authenticity and honest behaviour and we will check on this. But you have to understand: the results will speak for themselves. You will be proud, you will have International Magazine interested in you; even International Buyer will be interested – and you know how hard it is to catch her eye.

But even then, the personal satisfaction of a job well done will be reward enough because, Australian Fashion, you will be taken seriously and I know how much you want that. I know there have been moments, beautiful moments, of success, of well-earned international recognition, and we are proud of you for that. You see, the world has changed and made it easier to get the message out and to receive the attention you desire and, at times, deserve.

So we need to take these moments as a positive, learn from them and make them a guide for all of your work. We need to separate you from Rag Trader; he’s a bad influence on you and makes you do awful things with the twins, Morally and Ethically Reprehensible Maker and Offshore Cheap Labour. And I know that Local Buyer encourages Rag Trader, which in turn influences you. That’s not to say you can’t talk with Offshore Cheap Labour, but we must keep the quality up in the meantime.

I know that some of the blame has to be placed on Uneducated Public. They’re bullies and they’re vocal; they like you cheap and looking like European Fashion or sometimes even LA Tattoo Print T-Shirt Fashion. But leave that to Rag Trader to play with: that is and should be none of your business. I want you to find your own identity and confidence and show them that you can provide all the things they’re looking for, but in an original, educated, intelligent way.

I hope you understand what I am saying, Australian Fashion, because I always feel like I’m talking in circles with you. Like the moment I turn my back you completely forget what we just spoke about and European Designer is whispering sweet nothings in your ear. But try to stay focused, because there are plenty of people who want to believe in you.

Your friend,
James Cameron