The Fashion Club
|“||They may be shallow but that doesn't mean they should be executed.
- Yes it does.
- Very well, I'm sold
—Daria and Jane watching the club, The Old and the Beautiful,
The Fashion Club is a Lawndale High school club, concerned with the promotion of "looking good," both through example and the critique of others. They have extremely high physical and social standards for admission: there are strict requirements for weight and fingertip length, and Brooke had to have extensive plastic surgery to get the point of possibly getting membership.
The Club is generally assumed to be one of the most powerful cliques at Lawndale High. The members are presented as being highly popular and at all the right parties. In early episodes like "Malled", they could get boys to drive them anywhere they wanted just on the promise of getting to hang out with them; they abused this by making the boys stay in the car during their shopping trips, and eventually boys stopped giving them rides ("Legends of the Mall").
The Fashion Club was officially disbanded at the end of the Daria series, with all four members deciding to take extended sabbaticals. However, since the four immediately started making plans with each other to fill their newly freed time, it can be wondered if the club is as dead in spirit as it is in name.
It's made clear throughout the show that they're very bad academically. In Quinn's case, this turns out to be because she's bright but is deliberately not trying hard enough. She knows she's smarter than the others and expects to get higher marks (but doesn't let on about this), and was worried when she didn't get a much higher score on the P-STATs in "Is It Fall Yet?". We don't know for sure if Sandi is dumb or just lazy, but we do know that Tiffany and Stacy just aren't that bright - "Is It Fall Yet?" has Stacy noted as trying to learn and not doing well. Stacy does do better on P-STAT scores than both Sandi and Tiffany though. While Sandi expresses contempt for the idea of academic learning, she still pretends she got higher marks than she did so she didn't seem dumber than the rest of the group.
During the course of the series, the Fashion Club consisted of:
- Sandi Griffin: president
- Quinn Morgendorffer: vice-president
- Stacy Rowe: secretary
- Tiffany Blum-Deckler: treasurer
The club was mention in "Esteemsters" - Quinn became Vice-President in her first day - and mentioned in Cafe Disaffecto, but the exact shape of it doesn't seem to have been nailed down until later. It wasn't seen until "Malled", which established Quinn and Sandi's feud. However, in "The Invitation", Sandi was hearing about Quinn as if she hadn't been spending time with her already. Stacy wasn't named until "This Year's Model" and Tiffany, not until "Too Cute"; we know from shooting scripts that Stacy ("Stacey") always had a name but Tiffany was merely "Popular Girl Two" in her first episode. And it wasn't until "Too Cute" that it's made clear the club has a grand total of four people!
As a School Club
While the Fashion Club are an official school-sanctioned club - they are referred to during a school assembly in The Old and the Beautiful - they seem to lack a faculty adviser or any sort of oversight. They have an internal charter and by-laws, which is quite byzantine - "Antisocial Climbers" implies Sandi is making up the by-laws but it's the only episode to do so.
"Depth Takes a Holiday" has a report from the Accessory Committee. Since there's only four girls in the club, it's possible that Tiffany is the entire committee.
Sandi Griffin has stated she founded the club.
"The Daria Diaries" has Quinn refer to the club having an equivalent at Oakwood High School, as her diary mentions an after-school debate with the rival school ("Spiral Curls versus the Straight Haired look").
The Club's Place in the Lawndale High Social Order
The Fashion Club appear to be at the top of the Lawndale High social order: at noted, boys used to do anything for them, Brooke was desperate to join, they got into the right parties, and they have a strong following of boys (up to and including a bloody punk) in "The Story of D". The Fashion Club definitely views itself as highly popular, and Quinn certainly is. Robert once went on a date with Daria solely to keep sitting at Quinn's table ("The New Kid").
However, Brooke was the only girl we saw who wanted to join, the boys did stop giving them rides after a while ("Legends of the Mall"), and most of the boys shown were interested solely in Quinn (to Sandi's annoyance), with Stacy being blown off by her only known date. The club only had three members before Quinn joined. Evan, a popular kid and member of the track team, had publicly dismissed the Club ("See Jane Run"). Notably, Tiffany once stated "Everyone likes us because we tell them what's wrong with their outfits", a remark that heavily implies the opposite (on the writer's part).
The "Selective Soulmate" website (see web presence) implies Sandi has to date people who don't live in Lawndale by the time of Season 5, as she's developed a reputation for paranoia and viciousness.
Admission to the Fashion Club appears to be a lofty ambition of many girls at Lawndale High. During the series, we never see any admissions besides Quinn, who is admitted, as Vice-President, on her first day at school. Brooke is strung along with implied promises of admission, but these presumably false promises fall apart when something goes, badly, wrong with Brooke's looks.
We do hear admission policies being discussed in the episode Fat Like Me - and later, the group fails to find any girls at school that meet them all. There is an Accessory Committee, which includes (and may consist solely of) Tiffany.
In "The Daria Diaries", Stacy's minutes record that they discussed more members but "concluded we should keep it exclusive so people have something to strive for."
The Fashion Club's Mission Statement
From their website (see below):
- To lead the Lawndale High School populace in all matters of attire, personal adornment, and garmentual self-enhancement. To support fellow students in achieving their appearance goals, even the hopeless ones with greasy bangs and rough, dry elbows. To spot trends, reflect upon them, and critique without malice or favor (like why are all those girls with thick calves jumping on the Capri pants bandwagon?). To maintain standards of dress in school hallways and classrooms using the time-honored tools of philosophical enlightenment: logic, gentle persuasion, and vicious, relentless ridicule.
The Club and Daria
Daria and the Fashion Club as an entity had very few interactions; while Daria was aware of and contemptuous of them, she tried to avoid them and they tried to avoid her. Exceptions to this included several deliberate attempts to start a conversation in "Too Cute", "The Misery Chick" and "Quinn the Brain" or unsuccessful makeover attempts in "Malled" and "I Loathe a Parade", (to show the public what good work they do); and "Fat Like Me", where Daria covertly helps the Fashion Club survive in order to win a bet with Jane (neither cared beyond that).
The Fashion Club didn't think much of Daria, but as "Quinn the Brain" shows, the girl unnerved them: an attempt to talk to Daria went tits-up because none of the three had the guts to talk to her.
As what the Fashion Club means to Daria, that nightmare scene in "Monster" said enough.
The two original MTV Daria websites gave the Fashion Club their own website and online presence, the first in 1999 and the second in 2001.
That Lawndale Look
It ran monthly articles by the members ("Internet Shopping vs. Real Shopping"), a guide to the members, an application form ("automated rejection feature"), a Flaw Finder by Tiffany, quotes and wallpaper, and a copy of the Mission Statement.
- Hello. I'm Sandi Griffin, president of the Lawndale High School Fashion Club. I am also the Chief Executive Officer of this Web site, designed to inspire higher wardrobe awareness and heightened grooming excellence. Because you people need it so bad.
- As the millennium thing approaches, the Fashion Club must boldly look to and plan for the future. First of all, the ATMs better still be working in January. Second, it's time to realize that being on the cutting edge of style means more than refusing to purchase summer stock after Memorial Day or cultivating an awareness of body-heat-sensitive fabrics: we must also embrace the Internet, a vast source of outfit inspiration, like a digital closet that goes on and on and never ends. Wow. What if that were true? Imagine the shoes.
The Flaw Finder gives you a list of Fashion Flaws, Figure Flaws, and Face Flaws: tick each off and get an automated guide of what to do, "then you can spend the rest of your life trying to fix them."
In 2001/02, they'd created Selective Soulmate, an online dating site for popular people.
Sandi promoted it with a Guide to Digital Dating:
- Why on earth would a popular person place a personal ad on the Internet? Well, let's face it. It's hard enough to match accessories (especially greens), so how likely is it that you'll meet your perfect match among the panting losers at the local high school? Maybe it's time to look beyond your city limits, especially if you have somehow developed a completely undeserved reputation for paranoia and viciousness. When I find out who's behind those rumors I will skin them alive.
- Since it's bleak living in a landlocked suburb where the local dating pool is covered with scum, the Lawndale Fashion Club has created a new matchmaking site aimed at popular teens like ourselves. Our site is troll-free and highly exclusive. In fact, it's so exclusive that we're the only ones on it so far. (We have to maintain our standards, especially on the Internet, where even unattractive people shamelessly parade their pale jiggly cellulite in front of total strangers.)
- So click here to go to THE SELECTIVE SOULMATE and see if you qualify for membership. Note: Guys only. We don't need the competition.
Selective Soulmate opens with:
- You're the creme de la creme, so why can't you seem to meet the creme de la men? That's what I ask myself every day, especially when my date shows up at the door with candy-colored carnations. Well, I'm not the type to mope. I'd rather complain, and then do something about the situation.
- THE SELECTIVE SOULMATE offers a stylish online environment where quality guys can connect with upscale girls like me and my friends. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 (attention creepy old men, my cousin works for the FBI) and you think that you have what it takes to date one of us, fill out our questionnaire and see if you make the grade. We will contact you as soon as we're done reviewing your credit rating and background check (did I mention my cousin works for the FBI?).
- And girls, why don't you try one of those matchmaking sites with tacky MIDI music and clip art of baby cupids? They'll let anyone in.
Aside from the Fashion Club, they'd made Daria a member in the hopes that a boyfriend who wasn't Tom might take her out of the house when they're there. "If you step up to the plate, we'll make it worth your while."
Sandi was looking for a long-term (and wealthy) relationship, Tiffany thought three months was long-term, and Stacy admitted she'd change anything about herself if a guy would prefer it that way.
Other features included:
- Online Etiquette: "Quinn is full of useful advice in her usual know-it-all way." ("It is a bad idea to dump someone by e-mail. Doing it by phone or in person is so much more satisfying.")
- Safety Tips: "Tiffany tells us how to protect ourselves in an online world full of weirdo freaks and sorry geeks." ("Don't believe everything you read. Some people make themselves sound better than they are, like saying that they're rich when they're really upper middle class.")
- Success Story: "Stacy profiles a couple who met online and are still in that show-offy stage. It’s kind of sickening, actually."
Despite the above, it is a common fanfic trope to set up the Fashion Club as Daria's mortal enemy. In such fics, either Daria is out to destroy the club, or one or more members of the club is obsessed with making Daria miserable. C.E. Forman's fanfics, in particular, followed this trend, with Sandi and the other members tormenting Daria in stories like "All Washed Up." Lew Richardson's "Heroes" also shows the Fashion Club in opposition to Daria. "See Jane Spike" by TAG takes a more comedic, over-the-top approach to a Daria & Jane/Fashion Club conflict. In E. A. Smith's "Good Intentions", Daria's opposition to the Fashion Club takes a slightly different form, as she attempts to "rescue" Stacy from the Fashion Club.
The trope, while at odds with canon, makes narrative sense: antagonists are needed for drama, but Daria doesn't have any real recurring enemies in the show itself. The Fashion Club are absolute opposites to Daria, and seem like they should be her enemies.
A Coven of Teenaged *itches (choose your own word)
Especially in the earlier seasons of Daria, the Fashion Club was portrayed as a clique of young women having situational ethics, who would resort to the most outrageous methods to further whatever their aims were at the time. The FC members, especially Sandi, were shown to seduce young men or even commit crimes such as assault to get what they wanted. Stories such as "Clothes Make the Manson" and "Outbitched" are examples of this view of the Fashion Club. Also, the members were shown as being perfectly willing to turn upon each other in order to maintain their popularity; examples of this are illustrated in "Sins of the Past" and the AU-fic, "Darius."
There was a period of time where lesbian relationships between members of the Fashion Club were explored in Daria femmeslash. The most prominent pairings were Quinn/Sandi, with Quinn/Stacy a close second. This approach (along with many other Dariafic tropes) was deconstructed in The Angst Guy's And When Your Heart Begins to Bleed, wherein Stacy's advances towards Quinn are rejected, leaving her to pine.
The Fashion Club Band
In the fanfic Fashion Club Entertainment by tommyXmaserati, the girls start an indie band and become quite successful in their endeavors but also find out that success isn’t always everything.
- The Fashion Club are collectively and colloquially referred to as "Clubbies", "The Clubbies," or "the FC" by Daria fans. In post-canon stories, they are usually called the "Former Fashion Club" or "FFC"
Fashion Club Fanfics
"Don't Sweat the Mall Stuff" by Kristen Bealer
"The Latest Fashion" by Jim North
"Fashion Club Entertainment" by tommyXmaserati
That Lawndale Look (from first MTV website)
http://www.mtv.com/onair/daria/fashionclub/digitaldating/ Fashion Club's Guide to Digital Dating (and "Selective Soulmate" dating website) (second Daria website)