by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete, VICE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And that is it. That is Fashion Week. The end.