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.