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Friend or Foe? An open letter from fashion to social media


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Dear Social Media,

Sweetheart, we need to talk.

It is evident that you and I have a lot in common. We both devote ourselves selflessly to boosting the self-confidence of others by helping them to self-edit and reinvent themselves. We have been quite a power couple, it must be said.

I fell in love with your ability to see only the best in people. You pretend that any less attractive aspects of life simply do not exist. With your help, everybody can be seen to lead the perfect lives they dream of.

Like you, I only wish to use my talents to make the world a better place. I can make people look and feel more glamorous, more desirable, in seconds. I do not like to blow my own trumpet, but I make a big impression on people.

I was already kind of a big deal when we met, but nobody could have anticipated the way in which your success has exploded. You are a huge part of so many lives across the world.

It is such a gift that you and I have. We have worked together as a team to create apparently all-rounded perfect lives both offline and online.

Together, we are changing the world. The problem is, my darling, that I am not always absolutely certain that we are changing it for the better. We have become so lost in our generous devotion to giving something back to society that we have failed to recognise the potentially harmful impact that our actions can have.

By telling people that we can help them to improve their outward appearances, we are fundamentally saying that their unedited selves are not good enough. Young people are particularly vulnerable to this damaging thought, as they grow up in a society where self-editing is an expectation. The more successful we both become, the greater an audience this message reaches, and it is terrifying.

The cracks caused by our underlying message are becoming deep-set in society, leading to widespread feelings of inadequacy. Many are left with damaged self-worth by seeing the illusions of perfect lives as truth. We are largely responsible for a now ingrained culture of deceit and self-loathing.

Our work is encouraging a world of deception as everything is becoming masked with unreality. The importance of personality is at risk of being lost behind the walls of superficial appearances. We make lots of microcosms that seem harmless on their own, but if we take a step back to consider the bigger picture, the macrocosm is damaged, full of innumerable fabricated worlds.

It goes without saying that we have done a lot of good for a lot of people. Yet, my dearest, the positive effects of our work currently seem to be outweighed by the negative. I am greatly concerned that society is becoming obsessed with using you and me to fabricate lives, and we are gradually globalising a pressure to reach unobtainable perfection.

Perhaps we should just be friends.

Yours sincerely,



This is the winning entry to our Young Journalist Competition, in association with The Clothes Show - Friend or Foe? An open letter from fashion to social media, by Laura Brown. 

Above: Laura receiving her prize at Ther Clothes Show's awards ceremony. 

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