fashion week feels, or "heavy water/ i'd rather be sleeping"

Hey guys look out, I'm about to have some FEELINGS.

Fashion Week has come and gone. If you follow me on any of my other social networking arenas, you'll notice I didn't post much about it at all. I didn't even take any photos of my outfits that I wore to shows. The truth is, from the moment my plane touched down at LaGuardia, I wanted nothing more than to go home. My fourth Fashion Week was almost entirely unenjoyable and left me wondering if that is a world that I want to continue participating in.

A "see/be seen" Fashion Week party. I felt the sequins on my dress tug slightly as I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, the tender pailletes clinging to whatever drink had fermented on this leather couch. The music throbbed, warbled by the crowd of Cool People, and amplified the anxiety bubbling beneath me. I knew no one and no one cared to know me. There were so many grownish men with the same sort-of slicked back Ryan Gosling hair, each of them lacking any facial hair at all, a male accessory that I didn’t realize comforts my Midwestern soul as much as it does – perhaps it is because my own partner’s beard is a symbol of comfort to me. His friendly smile framed by his facial hair lights many dark days, and at that moment, I ached for him more than anything.

The air was dark and succulent. I met industry folk whose work I idolized – only to find their personalities to be disappointingly cold. I met famous faces that I’d always been afraid to speak to, and after a few moments I find that they are filled with a dazzling inner glow. People who will probably never remember me, but I will always remember because of their kindness. But I’ll remember the sneering faces too. The faces of those whose noses crinkled upon realizing that since I am Not Famous, I had nothing to offer them except my admiration, which they certainly don’t need. I was ignored by people I was standing right in front of.

I mean, I get it. Everyone wants to feel important. But when your desire to feel special completely overwhelms your soul, is it really worth it? Aren't you really just but a caricature of yourself? And Fashion week is this culture, amplified a million times. I hesitate to use the terms fake and superficial when thinking about it, because I don't want to be judgmental but the term truthiness comes to mind. Fashion Week brings out everyone's truthiest versions of themselves.

Dirty snow still clung to the New York City sidewalks. The slush formed icy pools which my unsuspecting feet had plunged into more than a couple times, dampening them immediately, then piercing my shoes with cold. I wearily trudged across the courtyard of Lincoln Center. No photographers buzzed around me to take my photo. Whereas some might see this as a grievous insult to their pride, for me, I was grateful. It meant that I did not have to act the part for these cameras, that my face was not going to splashed across some website whose sole purpose is to induce envy. And I find it telling that my style is not deemed laudable enough to be immortalized by photographers because if it were, I would become all that I loathe in order to please them.

Rather than strengthening it, Fashion Week has a funny way of momentarily erasing my identity. And that erasure is somewhat jarring. It is hard to maintain my love of fashion when Fashion Week itself seems bent on killing any spark of inspiration I may have. I mean, in what other possible context is a person's worth determined by what street style photographer takes their photo? Or that "casually" mentioning your blog's 500,000 blog hits is an fascinating topic of conversation? In what other world am I, a totally average-sized person who has fought to accept my body, made to feel horribly inadequate because I am just barely heavier than everyone around me?

Truthfully I'd never harbored delusions that Fashion Week is anything beyond a celebration of the most irritating aspects of fashion, but I thought I was strong enough to handle it. As it turns out, I'm not. I spent much of Fashion Week telling people about how anxious I was to leave. And by the time I got home, I hugged my partner and fought back tears and collapsed into bed. 

I’m not passing judgment on fashion people. It is important to accept people for who they are – flaws and all, and strive to give others the benefit of the doubt, even if they do not offer you the same courtesy. I am simply acknowledging that this world isn’t for me. With fashion for the time being, I am going to continue to create my own place within it, and maybe take a step back from Fashion with a capital F. I honestly don't know if I'll go to Fashion Week again. But I do know that the most special moments for me were those in which I got to see my friends, and I treasure those times, which were much too short. But I can see my friends whenever I like, and I don't need the threat of fashion shows to do it.


☯ZERO STYLE☯ said...

oh geez, i'm sad about this. mostly cause i feel ya. disillusionment is honestly one of the worst Feelings. i had a similar experience recently. like if you are So Over It, then why are you still doing it? sucks to take things for granted when there are people out there that still get joy from whatever it is you'd rather not be doing.

Katie Zoretic said...

i just read your hot topic essay on rookie mag! i loved it! I grew up in Hawaii and San Diego among other places and ended up at Ohio State since my family is all originally from Columbus, I still have tons of friends from Westerville and Hilliard. It was a weird adjustment but most of my best friends are all from Ohio now.

Meagan said...

1. I'm sorry this happened

2. Even though I live nowhere and I have never been to any official fashion shows or parties or whatever I understand and see why this would be shitty

3. of course you know this because everyone has issues with their body but I have the "ideal" body type and I am very white and privileged and I am 106 lbs but I still feel awful a lot/NOT THIN ENOUGH and that "just barely" really makes a difference to me and many others who feel the pressures of weight

4. these are some of the main reasons I am going to be a hobo since I love fashion but everything regarding this is totally suffocating and awful so yeah wanna be a hobo with me

5. can we just have a happy fashion party with a bunch of people where we sit around and talk about happy fashion things without trying to make ourselves feel better/raise our crushingly low self-esteems by talking factoids that make us feel less worthless but are really just stupid and shouldn't be tied to our self-worth at all

Isabel said...


But rilly. Your writing makes me have feelings and I was sad that fashion week was disappointing but also happy that you have a wonderful partner who lifts you up in darker moments. <3

darcy dubose said...

This gives me so many feelings. The world that you create within your love of fashion is something I have such a strong admiration for. Your encounter with the monster that is Fashion has me feeling so anxious. The situation sounds so terrifying, but you share it so beautifully.

Jasmine Alvarez said...

I love this post....that's how I felt as an intern in fashion which sucks. I find the beauty industry to be more welcoming and less pretentious. However, I enjoy your blog so much please keep writing about your fab style pleaseee :-)

Lhizette C. said...

I love your writing, and I totally feel ya! *sobs*

Mahogany said...

The scope, function, and affect of fashion itself has changed immeasurably. One could posit that true trends must have significant time at ground-level and create appeal without coverage. Much of what we have now in ready-to-wear falls under 'retail fad' — an endless cycling of ways to reveal the body.

The couture houses who occupy the high crown positions in our beloved branded monarchy do not have a part in fads, and are above all of this.

Their job is to lead and play with ideas and form. Prada's collection was their most political and symbol-driven yet — almost like algorithmic analysis of global trade.

We feel you that it may be cold in parts of the Industry, but as such it is only a sign of change.

limssej said...

girls like you re-ignite my love for fashion. please don't ever stop!

Izumi said...

Sometimes I feel this way about fashion just looking at the photos of Tommy Ton's street snaps or whatever. It's hard to feel like you are a part of this world of 'fashion'. The disconnection can feel so overwhelming, as if you are not valid for a place in Fashion. I hope you overcome that feeling and make it your own fashion, unattached from the rest of Fashion with a capital F.

Magnet said...

Ah man, I've never been to any fashion week, but I can just imagine how awkward and uncomfortable I'd feel. I'd probably feel a lot of what you felt. I mean, I feel kind of like this on a normal day. I once did go to a fashion related exhibition and I had a very similar experience to what you have recalled, meeting people who only care if it appears that you are famous, or someone who could be important. That really irritates me. Ugh, I also hate the fact that FASHION makes it very difficult for a lot of people to accept their bodies. It does that to me, it sucks, I feel smarter than that, but I can't help it. For years I've wished my thighs were soo much smaller so I could kind of resemble the 60s twiggy style look. How sad and embarrassing is that?

Ria said...

I'm just glad we got to hang and that I didn't take fashion week seriously. I think that's the best way to do it. It's really just an excuse for me to go to New York at this point. I slept til 11 everyday and just did what I wanted to do with a little sprinkling of fashion and I was well rested and so much happier than any other season. I may not be splashed all over the internet this season but...really who cares. <333

Piper Alexander said...

It's interesting that you mention being made to feel inadequate because you're "barely" heavier than anyone around you. I was looking at street style pics from NYFW thinking that there is no representation of anyone not waif thin or older than age 26. I've never been to NYFW, but I've always suspected from pics and the general mentality of those in the fashion industry that it is exactly as you described. This is one of the reasons that I have never bothered to care. I enjoy fashion for how it makes me feel and how it fits into my life, but I don't enjoy most of the culture, and that goes for fashion bloggers, as well. (Shhh... don't tell.) Your experience at NYFW is similar to some events I've attended, but on a lesser scale. I feel it just breeds pretentiousness.

Cassandra Westfall said...

I just read this post after stumbling on your blog through GabiFresh. You have just made another fan.

I love fashion and style. I seriously can't remember a time when I wasn't standing in front of the mirror putting pieces together.

At the same time, I have struggled with my body confidence and self-worth most of my life (no matter how thin or thick I've been or how much money I've had, which has usually not been enough). The fashion world, as much as I love it, just turns me off with its pretentiousness and clique-ishness. The feminist in me bemoans the glorification of one body type and objectification of women's bodies that the fashion industry generally promotes.

Good for your for realizing what you want and don't want and for not trying to be accepted by false people who aren't worth your efforts.


Isa said...

I much prefer fashion than Fashion. Love of clothes, not love of glamour. Love of beauty, not love of status. I dream of a "fashion society" where pretentiousness is taken out of the equation.

PS: Those photogs must be blind...