But it ain’t so, baby girl.
And that’s the sad truth about it.
Whenever I bring up Fashion Week, I’m typically met with blank stares (all of my family and 90% of my friends aren’t “in the industry”). On occasion, these looks are replaced with comments along the lines of, “Oh wow, how exciting!!” or “Sounds so fun, can I come too?” or “You have the most glamorous life!!“. Whatever their responses, it’s always the glossy parts that surface. The bright, fun, glossy part. Rarely, if ever, does the not so pleasant, not so pretty aspects see the light of day.
That’s what my post is about today.
And yes, this is what I wore to the first two shows of my very first day at NYFW 2017. A tried and trusted bomber jacket from the defunct Dereon line, complete with faux fur collar. A polka dot button down peeking out discreetly from a strapless, bustier dress concocted from vintage fabrics, and festooned with antique, estate finds. Signature oversized sunnies. All of which have been thrifted, save for the boots (gift from the man).
In actuality, things aren’t always as “fabulous” as they seem (no duh, Sheela). In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, I’m madly dashing around from gallery to gallery (in as much as someone with 5″ heels and bad knees can dash), waiting in line to be allowed access into the room, find a seat (or standing area), and that’s if I’m lucky enough to be attending consecutive shows at the same premises. Which doesn’t happen very often.
Throw in trying to master juggling heavy coat, bag, iPhone and, for some us, camera, and it’s one of the most finicky balancing acts ever. Completely void of glamour, my friend, completely. Snapchatting away. Filming insta-stories. Taking photos for the blog. Pleading with the batteries of our phones to last just a few more minutes. Eating whenever (and whatever) we can. Disclosure: I existed on drinking Coca-Cola throughout my 5 days at NYFW, and my skin is still reeling from the damages (although I did manage to shed 6lbs, I know not how). Desperately seeking bathrooms in between shows. Getting blisters from the heels we’re simultaneously ruining in the snow.
Tres, chic, non?
Do not get me wrong, though.
I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF FASHION WEEK
And I realise it’s a privilege to see the collections as they unfold, and being able to experience their debut in person is one of my fave aspects of this blogging gig, but that’s because I genuinely love clothes. Not because I love the mad frenzy. Or the long hours that, more often than not, turn into wee hours of the early morning. Or the hard-to-fight-off feeling in my heart that my outfit isn’t enough (or that my words aren’t enough, or that my access isn’t enough, more on the latter, later).
This stuff comes with the territory, of course, but very few are talking about it. As it is with most not-so-happy things in life, it’s just not as well-documented.
Yet another unglamorous aspect of NYFW that doesn’t make it into Instagram feeds how 90% (if not more) of your schedule will be spent sitting in traffic and rushing like crazy from show venue to show venue. All whilst cussing under your breath. Or loudly and colourfully, pick your poison.
Gone are the days when shows were all held in the same spot (come back, Mercedes Benz, we miss you). These days, Fashion Week is naught but a moniker for the most stylish scavenger hunt through New York City ever.
IN SHOES THAT WERE CLEARLY NOT MEANT FOR SCAVENGING
On top of all that scurrying, chances are your wait time for the show to start will be far longer than the duration of the actual show. Yes, I kid you not. It’s an absolute given that you’ll wait anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes for the less-than-15-minute runway show to begin. Anyone else see the irony in that circumstance?
Here’s another not so glam tidbit. Nine times of out 10, you’ll get to enjoy a seat that’s practically on the lap of the person right beside you. So many egos, so little seating space. And, as has happened to me several times, if you’re not blessed with a front row seat, good luck attempting to view the looks over a sea of iPhones. Even my 5″ heels didn’t help. There were others in equally statuesque shoes, and they were much taller to begin with.
There is a silver lining though.
You can still watch the show on the screen of the phone of someone in the front row. That’s one to scratch off the bucket list, eh? GRIN
Now, all these things (yes, even the collective mad dash for the exit as the show ends), I can handle. What I cannot stomach is an incident which happened when I was making my way to the Milly show. I’d just come out of the Dan Liu (honestly, I wasn’t in the least bit impressed, I felt I was viewing a line-up of Lolitas parading in clothes meant for ageing starlets, long past their prime) and Hakan Akkaya (one of the strongest collections I’ve witnessed this season) shows. And as I turned the corner to get in line for the show, I bumped into a blogger friend. Let’s call her P. She’s gorgeous, just gorgeous, in her early 20s, and immaculately stylish in a mainstream prep way (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that). We started chatting and that helped pass the 30 odd minute wait.
We finally reached the door and presented our tickets. The person/guard/security (I don’t even know what to call him) looked at P’s ticket, smiled and waved her in. Looked at my ticket, at me, and said, “I’m sorry but we’re at full capacity. You can watch the show from our TV panels outside if you like” and gesticulated at a trio of couches by the side. Now, both P and I have identical tickets. Identical. Issued by the same PR agency, even. I was very perplexed. And as I sat down, I saw the very same guy check the tickets of three more ladies (all PYTs in their 20s) and LET THEM INTO THE SHOW.
I was so pissed I got up and left.
I’ve contemplated writing to the PR agency and officially documenting my sentiments over this blatant prejudice but I haven’t. I’m not sure what to do, to be honest. If I do, would I ruin any chances of ever being invited to shows in the future? And would I even care? If I don’t, am I being a coward and allowing this horrid biased treatment to continue, unchecked?
What would you do?
Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps.
p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa
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