It wasn’t too long ago that Fashion Week felt like an exclusive club for the fashion elites. Before the likes of social media and e-commerce, us “mere mortals” had to wait for fashion publications to post the best runway looks online and hold out until the following season to own any of the pieces we saw. New York Fashion Week was not only exciting, it was inspiring. Now, it feels like we’ve moved on from seeing fashions future and focusing on today’s “of the moment,” fads.
In an interview with Marc Jacobs, WWD’s Bridget Foley asked, “What’s the point of a show?” There’s an honesty in this question; if we’ve become so accustomed to seeing things through a lens even when it’s happening right in front of us, why bother attending a fashion show in the first place? Marc states, “I don’t know what an audience thinks a show should be. It would be unfair to say all press, because nothing is absolute, but it does feel that – in this moment – people pay much more attention to who one’s showing on than what one’s showing. You know, whether it’s the Kendall’s or the Gigi’s.”
Even further, there’s a whole new breed of NYFW attendees whose sole purpose feels as if it’s just to be photographed as a “Street Style” star. We’re all guilty of it, I am a fashion blogger, after all. But, between the shows, the snaps, instant uploads and poses, there comes a moment where it no longer feels authentic and feels like a pile of bull****.
A few seasons ago, I attended a Men’s New York Fashion Week show; I’m not sure when it happened, but there was a moment where I looked around the crowded, hot room (a small studio in SoHo with no AC and about a hundred people) and started laughing. I thought to myself, “What is all this pretentious s**t I just entered?!” I’m not saying all but the majority of individuals were not there for the clothes!
When did Fashion Week become an “I was there,” moment and not an “I experienced it,” one?
This year, I saw on three separate occasions the same Zara outfit. I didn’t even have to ask, I knew it was Zara; I knew the price and that it was most likely purchased just for Fashion Week in the hopes of getting photographed and into a Street Style slideshow. During a week that is meant to demonstrate an innovative, provocative and statement-inducing industry, it felt as if many were there for themselves and the notoriety that comes with a standing room invitation.
This is when I noticed how much I was playing into it, myself. Halfway through the week, I said, “enough,” and started experiencing the true essence of fashion week. I only photographed a few pieces and then I put the phone down and lived in the moment. I didn’t pay attention to who was on the runway, but rather, what was on the runway. The way Miguel Vieira’s pleated leather skirt flowed down the catwalk or Taoray Wang’s play with proportions and suits for women. I let myself fall in love with fashion all over again and remembered why I love it in the first place. I let myself really feel the honor of seeing shows I only dreamed of attending as a little girl. I let myself have a real experience.
And it was amazing.