Working on a copywriting gig recently, I chose to use the word ‘tastemaker’. Now this is a pretentious term, some might use the word ‘wanky’, yet it has a cachet about it I like; it certainly cocks a leg all over the word ‘trendsetter’ which seems very 1920s to me.
The way words come in and out of fashion intrigues me. Often working with clients, you will be told that so-and-so “loathes the word trend” or she-who-must-be-obeyed “prefers to be referred to as an aficionado rather than an expert”. Strange but true.
Some people manage the words used in connection with their personage as closely as they manage their wardrobe. People with a strong sense of their own BRAND – and isn’t that THE word of the last 20 years? – also have a strong grasp on the language used to describe themselves or anything they touch.
I find words seep into the mind like a tenacious germ. You’re not even aware that you’re hearing them again and again but you are and soon you’ll be using them, or consciously not using them, as the case may be.
Words get so fashionable that clients will request them and readers will expect them. To not use them begins to look odd; like you don’t have your finger on that elusive pulse some of us are chasing.
‘Fashionista’ was one of those words. I still CANNOT BELIEVE it took off. I first became aware of it about 15 years ago when working in fashion. As a germ it was just starting to spread from scented handkerchief to laptop and keyboard and I took some antibiotics and attempted resistance. It just was NOT English. Fashionista? It sounded like something Kath and Kim would say, not a word The Guardian newspaper would use. But, of course, they did!
And – SO DID I – eventually!
How could I not? It looked like I didn’t know what industry I was writing for if I ignored it. It would be the same as – now – trying to pretend I have never, even taken a peep at one of the Kardashian shows. Madness.
So now I am getting behind the launch of ‘tastemaker’ as the hot term in Australian journalism and copywriting circles. Architectural Digest has been using it slavishly since its new editor took over. Margaret Russell, she of the elegant shift dress and constantly evolving editor’s head shot, must love it. Who am I to argue? She’s very big into “respecting the brand’s DNA” when it comes to that mag. Part of that DNA is celebrating tastemakers. I’m on board!