~*something takes a part of me*~

So the folks at Laundry Magazine invited me to Growing Works, a fashion show that they were hosting. It was billed as a presentation of "emerging Chicago designers". Admittedly, I don't follow "emerging Chicago designers", so I figured this would be a good chance to learn about who's making clothes in the city that I live in. Plus, what midtwentysomething can resist the lure of free alcohol and an excuse to wear a new Risto dress? Surely not I!

The event was held at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which is really just a big glass building with lots of plants inside. I attended the pre-show schmoozing event alone with the intention of conquering my social anxiety, if just for a night!, and making an honest attempt to mingle. Yet, none of the other attendees said a single word to me. None. They were clad in Birkin bags and dripping blood diamonds, and I was the recipient of forced smiles and awkward stares. Going into the event I jokingly assumed that I would be ignored, but was kind of irked when it actually happened. The only other human being who acknowledged my presence in any sort of friendly a manner was a cocktail server who took sympathy upon my situation, and proceeded to keep my plastic cup flowing with mid-level champagne precisely garnished with a sprig of mint. A moderate buzz ensued. Not content to wallow in my wallflower status, free booze in tow, I set about exploring the artificial winding paths through the flora.

The sun shone just perfectly and the entire place was bathed in a soft, inviting light.

(aa mesh long sleeve and leggings, risto bimbiloski dress, spike necklace, chloe boots)

I got this spike necklace from a BDSM shop in Lakeview. I plan on wearing it all summer long.

This Risto dress was hunted down from Filene's by way of Jamie. It was marked down to almost 90% off retail price. I picked up the falcon face print and another dress in the same style in a plaid print. I love being able to purchase clothes by my favorite designers at a price I can afford!

My outfit was inspired my 15-year-old mall goth self. In 1999, I was your typical suburban angsty psuedo-goth who shopped at Hot Topic and snuck out to raves and voted daily for KoRn to be on Total Request Live. I got into that lifestyle as a way to rebel, sure, but not in the way that you'd think. I was going through some heavy shit at the time and that was the only I knew how to, like, "deal" with it. It was a way for me to proclaim my disaffection from the suburban Abercrombie & Fitch zombies that trolled the halls at school, but also a way for me to create a visceral world that allowed me to escape from the real-life problems I was dealing with at the time. So the mall goth thing, while kind of pathetic (and hilarious, to me, at least), it is also a very associative. It reminds me of how I dealt with those issues at that time, utilizing what little emotional maturity that I had access to, what little life experience and subsequent resilience I had come to possess.

So it was a little disconcerting to be completely ignored in a grown-up social setting simply because I was wearing an outfit that poked fun at my awkward teen years. I mean, it's one thing for preppy high school Plastics to make fun of me because I was wearing Kikwear jeans...it's entirely different in a conservatory full of adults who supposedly like fashion and embrace dressing in unconventional ways. I wasn't simply ignored - I was actively gawked at and the questions "who is that girl? and why is she here?" were splashed plainly across their faces. Fuck, these were adults! And I wasn't even dressed that ridiculous! IndeedI was quite disappointed at the lack of maturity on behalf of the other guests. And suffice it to say, I won't be attending another similar event. Free booze or not. I can drink at home with my puppy and my boyfriend and dance to OMB records in my living room wearing my Rodarte shoes, and not be judged.

I am praying that New York Fashion Week isn't like that. Praying. Lighting Jesus candles in hopes of not dealing with that kind of bullshit.

Because my experience at the event was so negative, I don't believe I'm in any sort of position to offer an unbiased review of the clothes.* Here are the photos I took. You can make up your own mind.

*I will, however, mention that I thought the model's makeup was a complete miss. Not pretty, not complementary to the clothes, and garish in comparison to the lighting of the venue. So there's that.


brodie said...

I had to scroll back up in my Googs Reader to make sure the girl in the pink blazer wasn't Busy Phillips.

Kat said...

it's definitely one thing for people to gawk in high school (i would know, being there..) but that's just outrageous. people just piss me off sometimes..

i would have talked to you.

well probably not actually, because of my social anxiety too.. hah..

but i don't know, a few of their dresses are kind of cute. but you're too good for their snobbery.

HF said...

How horrid about being ignored, and worse, given /looks/. Some people never grow up I guess, it's just a shame in this setting- 'coz like you said, I'd have thought at a fashion event no-one would judge you on your different taste in clothes.

Well from your photos you're far better dressed than the rest of the audience. And I for one am in love with your dress. Incredibly much.

ZANA BAYNE said...

Here's my two cents regarding fashion'esque events. First off, was there anyone there who you WANTED to talk to you? Second, you sometimes have to take these situations and turn them around, like maybe some of the people staring at you are waiting for YOU to talk to them. The more you feel isolated, the more you will radiate that sentiment.

It is the hardest thing in the world to strike up a conversation with a stranger (I suck at it too), but chances are that you will at least engage yourself in a short dialog and people around you will see that you are friendly. Nobody is going to talk to you (not you personally) if they don't have to, and it really is the same thing even at New York Fashion week.

Albeit, in NY there are plenty of us fashion children and its easier to pass off a compliment about a goathair bag, mesh cape, or spiked shoe.

PS Who the FUCK brings a baby stroller to a fashion show???

meagan said...

@zana you're exactly right. i do suffer from crippling social anxiety and shyness, so it is very difficult for me to speak to people i don't know. i'm totally willing to concede that i may have come off as alienating. a way i deal with my shyness, aside from having a few drinks, is by gauging the social cues around me and taking action based on those cues. and i was getting really bad vibes from these people, the least of which involved dirty looks. so i guess i was more upset not about being ignored (though that was certainly unpleasant), but by people being actively rude. even the people who put on the event were kind of shitty to me. if NYFW is anything like that...i'm gonna need a lot of valium.

and to answer your PS question: chicago people. haaaa.


...was going to ask what's up with that baby stroller too.

isis said...

the majority of those people look extremely bored and boring. i personally love what you wore, that dress is sweet. 90% off is pretty amazing. i'm sorry you had a bad time, and seriously,what's up with the giant stroller?

M.Soleil said...

A majority of the people in this city don't get the self expression aspect of fashion. I get gawked at like I'm a tourist attraction for things that aren't even strange. If it's not at Nordstrom most Chicagoins won't get it. Fashion seems to be a Burberry coat, a Louis Vitton bag, Tory Burch flats, and black leggings. They even look confused by what is coming down that runway. "what's with that nun like jacket thing?"

Anonymous said...

I was at the event as well and I totally agree with you. As cool of an idea as it was to bring the opportunity of fashion show to people in the city, the execution was so wrong. It should have been more of a networking event for people who are interested in fashion to get together, as oppose to the schmoozing inner club meeting it turned out to be. Laundry Magazine says they do "the art kind" of fashion, but I would say after attending the Growing Works event, it seems like they don't stick to that ideology!

meagan said...

@anonymous I KNEW IT WASN'T JUST ME! thanks for the validation, haaaa. the execution was all wrong. none of the laundry magazine staff introduced themselves to me, which i feel like should be standard decorum for an event like this. even if they were busy, which is totally understandable, they should at least have had their interns milling about, making sure that everyone was comfortable.

you at completely right about the whole "inner club" thing. what's really silly about that is that none of bloggers or designers there were god's gift to fashion. not that that type of behavior is excusable anywhere, but to get all pretentious about fashion in CHICAGO? i mean, really?

meagan said...

@anonymous PS if you want to discuss this further, feel free to shoot me a personal email at lattershed@gmail.com. i will absolutely keep your identity confidential.

Dahl said...

Is this amazing or what...your camera must be wicked powerful because these photos look like paradise. Lakeview? What a coincidence! I was there this summer, my dad grew up there.

readysetfashion said...

gorgeous photos of the conservatory. love driving past that building.

funny, i was just tweeting the other day how i have always felt outta place in the fashion industry, and maybe thats because i have been here in chicago. i know what you probably felt like that night, cause its always been this way. its cause for a long discussion for another time. or its just something to be ignored and just push on being your d*mn self. i have a feeling you are gonna go with the latter.....

meagan said...

@readysetfashion that's all you can do. no use in posturing towards people who go out of their way to be rude. hmmm, maybe we should have this long discussion over food sometime.

Anonymous said...

you don't seem fun

Anonymous said...

So you attend an event with a negative mindset, don't put any sort of effort into socializing, and expect everyone to come to you? My dear, you define "joke." I sincerely hope you slip in your precious little Rodarte shoes, hit your noggin, and get some sense knocked into you. You write as if you're so "against the grain" but constantly reference Lindsay Lohan's shining moment in pop culture in between instant messages with your e-friends across the globe that you met on Four Chan. It's a shame that "reputable" sites like Refinery 29 feed attention seeking lowlifes like yourself. Perhaps you and some of the double digit empathizers above can meet in real life one day and learn that there's something more to life than shitting on a beautiful event behind your computer screen.

I'm actually quite happy I stumbled across this atrocity; I'll actually have someone to direct my Nine Inch Nails, Kurt Cobain, and Janis jokes at during future events around the city.

By the way, if you weren't zoned out of your mind on pills, maybe you'd actually have some inclination to talk to someone.

meagan said...

lol real hard

Anjali said...

LOLOL Oh my God ahahaha. Yeah Meagan you are like, um so totally lame, and you are shy because OF PILLS. NOT SHYNESS. Fuck these shitty ass people. You always look amazing.

Jen Lezan said...

Meagan, girl, you're my hero! Be a part of the revolucion and screw the bull. Unfortunately, the plastics grow up, but still maintain their plastic hearts. Next time I am out at a fancy "fashion event" I'll send over an evite and dress kooky with you because the whole point of fashion is to embrace it as an art and enjoy the ability to express yourself through it. NOT become a part of the system and all dress like suburban robots. XOXOXO You're going on my blog roll.

Jenny Lezan
The Chicago Fashion Trends Examiner


The Fashion Revolucion

phil said...

was gonna say pretty much what zana did.

but wanted to add that, "holy shit, you get risto bimbiloski dress at filenes basement???" i only ever see van heusen and z by zegna shirts

meagan said...

@phil hello there, thanks for commenting on my blog! i'm sure it was a combination of my shyness and rude people...things that are never a good mix.

yes i really did get it at filene's...one of the only good things about chicago is that no one knows about designers so i often find awesome stuff for way cheap at clearance stores and on consignment.