Staring at other people’s outfits is something I’ve always done and really enjoyed doing, and I’m unashamed to admit that. That’s why I’m going to college to study fashion in the fall, and that’s also why when I was given the assignment to report on a single beat in Avonworth for a week, my obvious choice was fashion.

My task every day throughout the week was to find a trend throughout the school that seemed to really stand out that day in particular. Surprisingly, that was the easiest part for me–it never took me more than a couple periods of the day to notice recurring trends, such as dresses, scarves, and flannel shirts. And from there, once I actually knew what I was looking for, I spotted those pieces of clothing everywhere.

What was challenging, though, was getting people to allow me to use pictures of them and their outfits–a lot of skeptical eyebrows were raised and one of my best friends even turned me down. No hard feelings, but the reluctance I was facing from multiple angles was a bit surprising to me.

What I have come to realize over the past year or so is that people tend to take the term “fashion” with a grain of salt. The number of times I’ve gotten polite smiles and looks of downright concern when I tell people my major of choice is uncountable at this point, so I know that the same outlook often applies to fashion writing. People think it’s a waste of time and unimportant, and to a degree, I understand that perspective–I’m certainly not saving the world or curing diseases by writing about how many people I saw wearing scarves that day, but fashion really isn’t just a silly and useless part of our world.

If not from me, take it from Miranda Priestly: fashion is not a simple industry, and even the sweaters in the clearance bin have more work behind them than most people know.

And please, never say that two belts look exactly the same.

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