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 [pictured below]? 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. I'm also not referring to news blogs that 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.
Arushi Kholsa is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a Digital Intern at Nanette Lepore, and has held similar positions at Tory Burch and Oscar de la Renta. Check out Kholsa's blog, Bohemian Like You, here!