We don't need to be at New York Fashion Week


New York Fashion Week. To the newbie, the words evoke an almost indescribable sense of excitement, glamour, fast-paced intensity and that elusive touch of exclusivity everyone seems to so desperately crave. When I attended my first ever season last September, I was similarly fresh faced and engulfed in starry fascination with the blur of activity around me. Was that Marc Jacobs entering the tents with Hanne Gaby? You bet. Pat McGrath working her magic backstage? Yep. Linda Fargo, garbed in something deeply fabulous scribbling front row at Proenza, whispering to Altuzarra? A-huh. You might catch a glimpse of a Fanning or an Olsen. Karlie Kloss might hand you one of her Kookies. It's all very seductive. Almost like a weird hyper-real fashion mirage. 
You're seated in rooms with people from the highest echelons of the industry (albeit in the nether regions). You're almost rubbing shoulders. You go to a smattering of shows, attend some presentations, sip sponsored cocktails on rooftops at after parties. You're a mere 5 feet away from Amanda Brooks and Jenna Lyons. Derek Blasberg fervently tweets close by. You're giddy with a sense of being a part of the whole circus (although all that caffeine you're mainlining to stay up at night writing reviews and editing photos might also be contributing to the shakiness). How could you not be?

Soon, you're two seasons in, practically a veteran and you're spending increasingly less time being grateful for a rare opportunity and more time complaining about the long hours, the 15 band-aids holding your heel-wrecked feet together, the fact that you no longer recall what a night's sleep means. The long hours, the peacocking outside Lincoln Center, the endless barrage of people who don't really need to be there, over saturation of content, it's all starting to get to you. You churn out little pieces on the shows and presentations, but why should someone be listening to you when they could be reading one of 800,000 other sources (most more reputed) who are writing about the very same shows? So why are you there?

This question is posed to bloggers and the general outliers who by some stroke of luck (and entrepreneurship coupled with the ridiculous digital bubble) like myself have attended these shows and gone through said motions. To be clear, I am not referring to those who blog as their day job, the heavyweights, the digital mavens a la Leandre Medine, Kelly Framel, Blair Edie, Aimee Song and the rest. I'm also not referring to news blogs and websites like Fashionista, Into the Gloss and Business of Fashion who provide original reporting, critique and thoughtful industry centric articles. I'm looking at all of us mid level "personal style bloggers" who vociferously Instagram and hashtag about the myriad shows, previews and events.

"But the internet has made fashion democratic! It's a dialogue instead of a monologue! Etc." And I wholeheartedly concur. But democratic doesn't equate to everybody assuming the role of the creator. It means everyone is able to participate in a conversation and engage. Not that we all start covering each show and putting more and more clutter out into the internet. Especially not if it means that 50 bloggers need to grace NYFW like an army of iPhone wielding, Celine toting, self-proclaimed Twitter cognoscenti. We need to take a step back, take a deep breath and extract our egos from the situation. One doesn't need to attend fashion week simply to say one attended fashion week and have consequent anecdotes (and war stories) to relate at dinner. Simplistic concept and yet until this season, I hadn't fully committed to it myself. Major style bloggers bring press. Or they cover for their vast audiences. That's legitimate grounds for being a new voice and present at these shows. Most bloggers however, do not. This aspect of the digital bubble is on the cusp of bursting and I'm glad for the most part. There is such a thing as too much content, and much of it bringing nothing new to the table.
Fashion likes to cling to the past. It's what makes designs beautiful and nostalgic and relevant in a larger historical and cultural context. But it means it takes us a hot minute to catch up. So now, after being a bit tardy to the digital game, (some) designers in mortal fear of being "left behind" are, instead of smartly targeting and curating compelling new, interesting content along with select bloggers that speak to their customer, just running helter skelter and partnering with every blogger with a url and an affinity for sneaker wedges.

Now, if you're able to gain access to the show or presentation of a designer you truly admire, of course you should go. I'm not suggesting some kind of draconian clap down. I think a dose of bloggers at fashion week is healthy, when they have a reason to be there. At the end of the day, amid the hoopla of the event, we conveniently forget that fashion week is a time for editors/journalists/bloggers/writers and buyers to work. So if you can honestly answer the question of why you should be another person attending the shows, maybe it's best to sit at home and watch the livestream/the tweets and Instagrams. You'll be more comfortable on your couch with a snack anyway.

This is just my two cents (despite how vehement I sound) but maybe it's time for a more in depth conversation about this without going on the defensive. I don't think anybody any longer questions the right of established bloggers and up and coming ones creating something original, to be at fashion week. But lets not group every personal style blogger into one and cast that wide a net.

I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. What do you guys think?
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18 comments:

Shakkablakka said...

'At the end of the day, amid the hoopla of the event, we conveniently forget that fashion week is a time for editors/journalists/bloggers/writers and buyers to work.'
This is so true.
Still I don't have any problem at all with bloggers enyoing the fact that they can be there as well and take the ultimate peak into the industry. If you love fashion that much, it is pretty cool that it is possible right?

Your point about bloggers being creaters, I don't really get it.(could also be my english.) The whole bloggerthig is a promotionmachine for clothing that already has been created in my opinion. And when gaining popularity true bloggers does not work anymore, the fashion industry will move on, like it always does. Like all trending bubbles, it will burst eventually. Don't stand back and take the deep breath: jump right in and enjoy it while you can!

Holly said...

Great Arushi, really glad you penned this!

I think the comment above (or below, idk) says it all.

FAIIINT said...

Loved this & you are so right. I've stayed away from fashion week for pretty much these exact reasons - plus, I've heard so many fellow bloggers & friends moaning about it & saying it 'ruined the magic' for them. I don't want the magic to be ruined! I'm sure it's fun & an experience, but sitting at home & watching the shows on my laptop is really as close as I need to be & so much less hassle/stress!

Gabrielle @ LookSharpSconnie said...

First of all, you're not "mid level" and you are "creating something original", so don't demote yourself.

Ok, so I ultimately think that this argument makes perfect sense IF you assume that Fashion Week as a whole is meant exclusively for "creators". If you hold this as true, then yes, I believe that, unless you have something relevant and original to say (not just regurgitate and name-drop via Instagram & Twitter), you should probably just scroll through Style.com instead of attempting your own blurry snapshots and tagging them "Lincoln Center".

That being said, I don't know if that's what FW is anymore. I think it's sort of like a high school party. Everyone watches the 4 cool kids do cool things, has a pretty bland time, and then comes to class Monday and brags about how awesome it was hanging out with said 4 cool kids.

Which seems annoying, I know - but imagining the opposite is almost worse. The exclusionary FW is as, if not more, annoying. Can you really keep people out without building even MORE animosity than there is now? How do you judge who is "original"? How do you judge who is "established"? What if they're "established" just because they're epically pretty? (see: nearly every big blogger ever). How is that fair?

I get where you're coming from - that not everyone "needs" to go - that's totally true. But the fact that many than before (note I didn't say everyone - I'm still here in WI) CAN go who WANT to go, is something I advocate over the alternative.

My caveat: I also think it's a lot easier to see it from your perspective when you've "been there done that". Many people reading this will want to go just as badly after doing so. It's better, in my mind, to do and regret/hate than dream of and never do at all.

Holy crap. I am so unbelievably not succinct.

-gab

VIENNA WEDEKIND said...

that’s so well written, dear! I love how you describe this circus. I’ve been to Stockholm Fashionweek some days ago and sometimes it really appears to me that the people (mostly blogger) forget what fashion week is about: FASHION and not them.

- VIENNA WEDEKIND -

Kelluke said...

Lovely post!

xx
Kelly

thekelluuu.blogspot.com

Win Gold Coins said...

nice post

Alex Haygood said...

I believe that fashion is meant to be enjoyed. Ultimately, the goal for designers is to create something that their customers (established or potential) will enjoy and BUY. That being said, if someone truly just enjoys fashion and writing about it then let them go and enjoy what makes them happy.

When it stops being enjoyable and turns into a gripe-fest, then that individual might need to explore other career opportunities or hobbies. You can always tell when a blogger is just throwing up outfit posts with a little, "Sorry this post is so short. Threw this pink dress on and heels for a quick shoot because my life is so busy and wanted to get something up on the blog so you guys can see and hopefully click on my affiliate links." Things like that benefit no one. Readers want creativity, interesting writing (like your own I might add :)), and style inspiration. If attending Fashion Week contributes to their ability to create these types of posts, then they should go for it!

~Alex
Vast Aspiration

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Very interesting perspective!

Sharon said...

This is so well written and very thought provoking!!
Although I've never been to NYFW, I have been to my local Australian Fashion Week.
While I was waiting for one of the shows, my neighbour said to me 'Some younger bloggers forget that we are here to work and not to flounce around in our most outrageous outfit.'
She wasn't referring to me hopefully because I was quite underdressed but that comment and this post will stick me with throughout my blogging days :)

Sharon said...

This is so well written and very thought provoking!!
Although I've never been to NYFW, I have been to my local Australian Fashion Week.
While I was waiting for one of the shows, my neighbour said to me 'Some younger bloggers forget that we are here to work and not to flounce around in our most outrageous outfit.'
She wasn't referring to me hopefully because I was quite underdressed but that comment and this post will stick me with throughout my blogging days :)

Modupe Oloruntoba said...

Well said. It's amazing to go to a show to experience seeing a runway presentation for the first time, but going to fashion week with the intent of actually covering it is different. If it's relevant and useful to you, your blog, and your readers, I think you should cover it. If not, there are other ways to be part of fashion week. It is harder, being there and feeling like you're not on the in. But if that's why a blogger goes - just to feel like they're on the in, and make sure everyone sees that they are - then there's a good chance that their time and energy is better spent working on a new post or maybe a post fashion week trend report. Speaking from experience here - Cape Town fashion week 2013 was one I did not need to be at, but I wanted to be on the in, and I wasted a lot of time I could have spent on other important work for design school. Learning to curate and edit, not just your words and images but your experiences and how you spend your time, is essential. You could waste a lot of time creating content your readers don't even care about if you don't ask yourself some questions. This is most relevant to fashion weeks, but it makes sense for pretty much everything fashion bloggers do: ask yourself if it's relevant and if it's necessary for your 'brand'. Know why it is, and don't do it if it isn't.

Dyna Wilson said...

Amazing post Arushi.Interesting!!

Anonymous said...

So poorly written. You definitely haven't made it to mid-level. But that's why you're at FIT.

dagmara cintron said...

I'm in love with the fact that you ARE a personal style blogger, and you posted this on your personal style blog. I love the honestly and the truth this post holds.

I feel like the more personal style bloggers attend NYFW, the less exclusive it seems. Which, in a way, is not necessarily a bad thing. But I can't help think about the people who worked hard (buyers, for example) to get there and how they must feel sitting shoulder-to-shoulder to personal style bloggers. Not to say personal style bloggers don't work hard, but we can agree that they probably didn't work years into the industry to get where they are like some of these other people. Or maybe these buyers and models and photographers don't care? I don't know. But it's definitely something worth thinking and talking about, and you're right, how much content is too much content? There certainly comes a point in which I'm completely overwhelmed by my Instagram feed of the 30 consecutive pictures from the same shows coming from 10 different instagram accounts, only varying in their angles.

Anyway, I know I'm a little late on this post, but I'm glad I came to visit your blog and found this.

We should catch up sometime, if you'd like!

Best,
Dagmara

Shubhi Garg said...

Well said! I agree!

sepatu murah said...

me too. i agree with that.

Anonymous said...

I think it is unnecessary if your not generating revenue for your brand or the brand that is hosting the show .

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