Dear Fashion Week,
I love you but we need to talk. It’s cold, and of course it is beyond your control that New York has descended into a deluge of black ice slush water, but there is absolutely no reason for you to be wobbling around in six-inch heeled footwear and bare legs. And how you stripped off your coat to reveal some midriff bearing contraption right before you got into view of the street style photographers… sorry to break it to you, but most of them are bloggers of the .blogspot variety. Everyone who’s anyone is downtown at Jason Wu, or in–god forbid—Brooklyn, fighting for a shot of the back of Anna’s bob.
Fashion Week, you aren’t even about dressing fashionably anymore. When did this happen? Maybe it’s peer pressure from the bittersweet social media clique ruled by the Instagram and Twitter queen bees, but dressing for fashion week has turned into a competition to get your picture onto as many fashion blogs as possible. It has somehow become the accepted norm that the only way to accomplish this is through that ridiculous, clashing outfit or brightly colored faux fur outerwear that makes the wearers look like giant sesame street characters. Appearances and five second Internet fame is what this industry runs on.
The instagramming. It has gotten out of control. At fashion week, the one-hour turnover grace period has shrunken to… instantaneous. The plastic is stripped off the runway, alerting everyone in standing room to race down to grab whatever empty seats are left. The second the lights go down, every single person in the room sits up particularly straight with their smart phones at the ready. The room is filled with hundreds of tiny glowing screens. The whole thing feels like a slow song at a U2 concert (R.I.P. days of lighters). And if you don’t get that half blurry shot of a model in some un-wearable disco ball get up, blocked by three rows of heads, up and posted in Early Bird filter (no Sutro, no X-Pro II) by the time the model reaches the mosh pit of elbowing photographers, it’s already passé.
The branding. I get it, money makes the world go round, but walking inside the tents feels like entering into a nightclub-crossed-first class lounge with the highly calculated choice to forgo last year’s white tent walls for black. The inside looks admittedly sleek, like a physical manifestation of the internet, but I know what you’re really up to: the black is just to help the massive LCD screens with glowing adverts for Samsung, American Express, and the ever changing mosaic Instagram wall stand out. It’s just too much of a reminder of how this industry actually runs.
While fashion shows are being live streamed onto the Internet, even the actual attendees are watching them from behind their iPhone screens. Unless your visual experience was captured on the appropriate social media channels, you don’t count as having been there. And while New York Fashion Week might be held at Lincoln Center, theatre etiquette has been lost to subtle line cuts and passive aggressive elbowing. For the sake of the general good, call your doctors, refill those xanax prescriptions. It will be okay.
This isn’t entirely your fault, Fashion Week, after all, you’re just a highly elaborate marketing ploy puppet of the industry itself. But in an age saturated by bloggers, where 30k followers is considered sub par, and where print publications are desperately trying to adapt to the warp speed transformation of an industry into the digital age, what will the future of fashion look like? One thing is sure: we’ll be looking at it through a tablet screen.