Thanks to my job, I've been going to various fashion weeks for a few years now. Usually, when friends find out I'm going, they start begging for invites and guest-list spots for parties and free goodie bags (or something—I've pretty much stopped listening). This is because everyone is an idiot, and you have been lied to about Fashion Week. Fashion Week sucks balls.
Here's what happens at Fashion Week:
As you approach Lincoln Center (where the main NYFW events takes place), a terrifying, dark desperation hangs in the air. Dozens of photographers wait outside the door, hungrily looking from person to person, hoping to see either a celebrity or someone with a bloggable outfit that they can photograph.
Though there are close to 100 different photographers there, they're not shooting for anyone you've ever heard of. They all "work" for "online magazines" that have ".blogspot.com" in their URLs. You will see the above scene (a woman, who is probably a fashion student, being mobbed because she's wearing a "funky hat") play out multiple times.
Once inside, you join some kind of line, which you will be in for a very long time. And it's not like some relaxed Space Mountain line, either. Fashion people are fucking INTENSE. There are different line heirachies, which leads to a lot of shoving and shouting (especially if you're in the plebe's line, like I always am).
Obv most stereotypes about groups of people are untrue (J.K.), but everything you've ever heard about fashion people is correct. Zoolander is pretty much a documentary.
At one show, I was stuck in a line behind two girls who had a 13-minute debate (I timed it) about whether to eat their free sample of a yogurt-covered pretzel (they decided to not eat the pretzel, but take a three-mile run the next morning anyways, phew!).
Also, this is an actual conversation I overheard in another line:
Girl: You should have a theme party!
Boy: Eugh, I would love to, but I can't really do parties.
Girl: Why not?
Boy: It's just that I have too many friends. I couldn't invite everyone, it would be impossible. And I hate excluding people.
Girl: That sucks.
Boy: Yeah, it really bums me out.
There's something a little upsetting about being around fashion people, too. Does the thought of this kid staying up all night hot-gluing feathers to his shoes make anyone else wanna cry?
Also, Mercedes sponsored the main event space, so this car was positioned at the entrance. Which made me think of some car-crash pictures I saw on Reddit a few days ago (don't click that link if you ever want to relax in a car ever again, btw), so I spent a lot of my time at Fashion Week thinking about being trapped inside that car as it burned and having panic attacks.
Anyway, Fascinating Fashion Week fact: Over 100 percent of shows at NYFW used that one Grimes song as the soundtrack.
I had no idea it took so much equipment to play a Grimes song, though. Who knew DJing was so complicated!
If you're lucky, the event you're at will have free drinks. Usually made by a mixologist who has been hired to mask the taste of whatever, recently-launched-and-destined-to-fail booze brand is sponsoring the event.
Also, that is the tallest man in America. I'm not sure why he was at Fashion Week. Maybe he'd been hired to add some excitement to the crowd? At the show where I saw him, he was hanging with a high-fashion dwarf, a guy with hundreds of facial piercings and a furry. It was like being at a casting for a P!nk music video.
Some shows also have food, and it is always really, really tiny. I don't know why it's always so small. I could make some kind of joke about fashion people not eating, but IDK, I get the feeling it's something more sinister than that.
One of the big myths that is perpetuated about Fashion Week is that there are famous people at these things. There will be a group of people sitting in the front row who are surrounded by angry PRs trying to push back the throngs of photographers snapping at them. And, often, I have made the mistake of thinking it might be someone exciting. But inevitably, once you catch a glimpse of them, it'll be someone like these guys. Who, without googling, I can tell you are definitely a European DJ, an ex-model, and a blogger.
I guess the amount of photographers and made-up publications that exist in the fashion world have created an environment where everybody is famous.
The only actual famous person I've seen this fashion week has been Jenna from 30 Rock. I sat behind her, and she smelled inhumanly good. You know how, like, the human brain can't comprehend the shape of the universe because it's too complex? Or how there's those colors that we know exist, but nobody can see them because the human brain can't handle it? That's the only way I can explain how good Jenna from 30 Rock smelled.
And then it's time for the clothes!
I'm not sure if I have words to describe how anticlimactic the actual runway shows are. I think this is something people don't really think about before going. Have you ever watched someone walk one direction and then another in clothes before? It's pretty boring. Seriously, go try it now. Go outside and watch some people walk past you in the street.
There's a reason that we have stuff like movie theaters and amusement parks rather than people-watcher stadium seating set up on sidewalks: watching people walking around fucking SUCKS. Maaaaybe if you got to go to one of those ultrawacky shows that idiots make fun of on the internet afterward it would be interesting. But look at these clothes. Who gives a shit about these clothes? You could go to, like, Banana Republic and see stuff that looks exactly like this.
And the women they put the clothes on are TERRIFYING. You're not stupid. I'm sure you know that the entire industry relies on making people feel shitty about themselves so that they'll buy the clothing to make themselves feel better. But the industry standard of beauty has gotten so far removed from what a human being actually looks like, that the only way they can cast these girls is to go to Eastern Europe and look for teenagers who have become developmentally advanced from inhaling Chernobyl fallout.
I'd imagine models are similar to those pedigree dogs that have been crossbred too much; they look adorable, but they're gonna run into all kinds of breathing difficulties and stuff later in life.
Also, I'm pretty sure the only purpose of these shows is to make the people who attend them feel important. In the age of the internet, these shows have no other reason to exist. They're live streamed, and the photos are all instantly uploaded.
For instance, if you click here you can see style.com's photo of the above look. If anyone actually gave a shit about what the models were wearing, they would stay home and look at pictures online instead of straining to see it over rows of heads.
The other type of event people have at Fashion Week is a "presentation." Where, instead of walking down a runway, the models stand on one side of the room while everyone takes pictures. (I'm not sure if the model in the middle got the memo RE: "posing.")
And when I say everyone takes pictures, I mean EVERYONE. I have no idea where these pictures are going, or why they're so important, but people get VERY angry if you get in the way of their shot.
Though fashion people like to talk a lot about experimentation and innovation and stuff, the shows all play by a pretty standard set of rules. The only variatons, generally, are which Grimes song is playing and what kind of space the show is being held in.
However, occasionally someone will try to "make fetch happen," and reinvent what a fashion show can be. And it is always, without exception, fucking HILARIOUS. Like this show, where the models were brought out on dollies. Watching the models attempt to hide the terror in their faces while holding on for dear life was one of the best things I've ever seen.
Or this one, where there was a fucking INTERPRATIVE FASHION DANCE. It was incredible. The two models came out and then danced, like, right in the faces of the audience (luckily not in mine, I would've lost it) before stripping each other, then getting dressed in one another's clothes. It was amazing.
Another myth about these events is that you get good freebies. You don't. It's mainly USB sticks and elaborately packaged bottled water and completely useless cosmetic products (hi there, "curl enhancer"!). Nobody gives away anything good for free. They're usually new products that the manufacturers are paying to get into the hands of the "early trend adapters"—but it's 2013. Any kind of good product already exists. New shit sucks.
Once the day of shows is over, there will be some kind of party. Which means there will be some kind of guest-list situation. Which means you'll have to deal with a fashion PR person.
There's is nothing more demoralizing than talking to someone in fashion PR. I find PR people in general difficult to deal with, as their entire job is to be disingenuous. No matter how crappy the product they're promoting is, they have to stay in character 24/7 as someone who doesn't think it's a piece of shit. It makes me nervous. Like when someone comes up to you at an amusement park dressed as a pirate or whatever and starts talking to you in character. I just have no idea how I'm supposed to react to them. They don't have souls. They're Death Eaters in fancy gowns. I have never been more aware of my own mortality than when conversing with a fashion PR person.
And, for people whose entire job is "checking if a person's name is on a list," they're incredibly serious. They all have headsets and iPads like some kind of shitty reboot of the Charlie's Angels franchise.
I'm not talking specifically about the woman in this photo, btw. I didn't deal with her, I'm sure she's lovely.
This is what an exclusive Fashion Week soiree looks like inside. There'll usually be a couple of famous people who are being paid to be there and will sit in a separate area at the back, waiting for the hour or so that they're being paid to be there to finish so they can leave.
The rest of the crowd is made up of fashion students and friends of the PR girls who are running it. The favorite activity at these parties is to stand around looking one another up and down. Everyone seems to hate everyone else. Occasionally someone will dance, and 100 photographers will run over and start snappng pictures, but the moment will be short-lived.
The drinks are free, yes. But wouldn't you rather just pay for a drink instead of having to fight your way through a sea of fashion bloggers for ten minutes each time you want a refill?
And that is it. That is Fashion Week. The end.
More fashion week crap: