I Dressed Like an Idiot at Stockholm Fashion Week to See If I Would Get Street-Snapped
Trying to become an 'It Girl' is a lot harder than it looks.
All photos by Nadja Endler
I have always wanted to be someone's muse. Someone's Gala Dalí, Francoise Hardy or Toto Koopman. I mean, it must feel pretty sweet to inspire creativity in others just by being you. I imagine it's like doing teamwork without contributing and still getting an A+. All praise, no effort. Sounds like my kind of dream life: do fuck-all and steal all the cred.
In the world of fashion, being a muse seems like a pretty big deal. Without their muse, a designer is just an empty vessel. Do you really think that Hubert de Givenchy would have created such beautiful dresses if it wasn't for Audrey Hepburn? Or that Zac Posen would have been so successful without Natalie Portman? And let's not even get to the Kim Kardashian / Olivier Rousteing love affair. She basically created the latest Balmain collection just by taking a couple of belfies.
Clearly, being an It girl is the best job in the world and after careful consideration, I decided that I would try to become one too by trying to get street-snapped at Stockholm Fashion Week.
I chose my outfit the night before the fashion show. What I was going for was a combination of Miley Cyrus post-drugs, Hansel from Zoolander and Lady Gaga. Three figures that can be considered as the enfant terribles of the fashion world: not giving a fashionable fuck about dressing minimalistic and instead going for shock value in their choice of outfits. Since my budget was low but my creativity high, the outfit consisted of e-Bay mistakes, cheap accessories and a whole lotta moxy. I also added my piggy bank to the mix, just for some extra bewilderment.
I was ready to enter the fashion realm and become Stockholm's muse. I just hoped everyone else was ready too.
To kick things off, my photographer and I decided to hit the Ida Sjöstedt fashion show which was being held at Berns – a nightclub in central Stockholm. Outside the venue was a crowd of people looking very important and serious. Their dark outfits stood in stark contrast to my own colourful ensemble.
"Perfect," I thought. This was the ideal crowd to test my sartorial powers on.
I started power posing in front of the nightclub with my piggy bank. My photographer snapped a couple of pictures of me while people silently watched. There seemed to be a cool, disenchanted aura among the crowd and no one even pretended to check their phone in order to take pictures of me.
Even if people were a bit taken aback by my style outside the venue I thought the ambience would warm up once we were inside. Sometimes people need to lighten up with a couple of glasses of champagne in order to appreciate art. I walked in confidently past the queue, and went straight into the toilets. A couple of heads turned while I walked by. "Good" I thought. "Now photograph me. Ask me questions." No one did.
In the toilets, I fixed my make-up and practiced some It girl facial expressions. I was going for a Bambi-meets-Neve-Campbell look. A scared sensual face. The models (who by the way were using the regular toilets) skillfully avoided being caught in a photo with me in the bathroom. I didn't blame them though. Alexa Chung must give Gigi Hadid a massive headache.
Having snapped some cool street style pictures of my own in the bathroom, I was ready for the runway theatre. I just knew someone would approach me to ask me who I was or where I had gotten the fabulous pig I was carrying around. As I walked in into the spacious theatre people did look. But not in the approving way Andy Warhol must have looked at Edie Sedgwick. They looked... almost angry? Like I was a freak. And not in the "ces't chic le freak" sense.
I tried to shake off the odd looks I got and walked past the front row with my head high. The only thing I was concentrating on at this point was not dropping my pig, scattering pink plaster and coins all over the runway. I felt like that was the only thing the fashionistas needed to kick me out of the venue.
With everyone's disapproving looks burning a hole in my back, I slowly started to lose all the confidence my bathroom posing had filled me with. Why were people so angry? Why did no one want to take a selfie with me?
I thought my unconventional outfit would make people interested. Instead I was met by a blonde woman's angry face. She kept turning around from her seat to look at me, and signal with her eyes that what I was doing WAS NOT OKAY.
When the show started I was immensely grateful. Not because I was dying to see the clothes but because it was the first time that people looked at anything else but me. Except the angry blonde woman. She kept on turning around throughout the show to give me evils.
When the show was finished and people started to make their way out into the room, I thought it would be the perfect moment to start making contact with people and tell them a bit about myself, and my potential as a muse. But that turned out to be impossible. The fashionistas attitude towards me had radically changed.
What previously had been attention, even if it was framed with depreciation and a lack of cameras, had now turned into a complete rejection of my existence. Gone were the disapproving looks. Instead I was met with the back of people's heads, frosty silences and pursed lips.
My dream of finally being discovered had died. I went from wanting to get noticed to just wanting to be mercifully ignored. I left the venue feeling a lot lonelier than when I entered it. A couple of giggling bloggers looked away when I passed by them on my way out. I suddenly felt hopeful again. Would they take a picture of me? But the bloggers just glanced at each other, their faces a combination of pity and bemusement.
As I took the bus home with my pig, I thought about the evening and what I had learned.
I wasn't cut out for the fashion world – that was clear. I am not sure what I had expected when embarking on my quest to get street-snapped but it certainly wasn't a clinically sterile climate and dead stares. I slowly rubbed my forehead as the bus navigated through the dark streets of central Stockholm. I had come to several realisations about myself and the fashion world this evening. One was that the public rejection of my clearly displayed need for validation was super awkward: There aren't many things that trump the awkwardness of those in dire need of attention.
Another realisation was how easy it is to create uneasiness in a space where consensus is key. To openly and abrasively break the rules of something we all have agreed on – in this case, a discreet fashionable appearance – is not acceptable. The experience also made me realise the logic of Swedes dressing exclusively in black a lot of the time – we Swedes have a long-standing tradition of not standing out too much in a crowd. The Law of Jante is something we take seriously in Scandinavia, and breaking that law unsettles the societal structures that these countries are built on. Apparently, trying to get street-snapped by breaking all the rules of fashion is an oxymoron, at least in Sweden.
I also learned that nobody cares about piggy banks. Who would have thought?