Saturday, 12 April 2014

Over the pond: How fashion week makes me feel

I am that hopeful girl who believes her destiny is way over the pond – yep you guessed it in NYC – the big apple, the dog’s tuxedo (borrowed from Sex and the City) where the cabs are yellow and the fashion industry actually appears to be a business as opposed to a street style parade (light-hearted opinion). After a fun filled week at NYFW, lived vicariously through my laptop with the aid of Style.com and Bill Cunningham’s ‘On The Street’ voiceovers, I started to feel a pang of worry... London Fashion Week was approaching. I was buggered from the offset; as the surge of shocking weather continued, we’ve had floods instead of snow, I knew that by the time the end of the week rolled around there was no way I would be able to get a train into the city. Yep that’s what its like out here in the sticks for us urban inhabitants; you may refer to them as Upstate country bumpkins or Hamptons time passers.


Don’t get me wrong, as a born and bred Briton, I love London and the eclectic albeit often unwearable styles it produces each season. However there is something to be said about the way we have be doing Fashion Week as of late that dissolves any excitement I may have previously had. What sounds like a bitter rant from Fashion Week rejection (fine, I may have be shunned from a show now and then) actually stems from my experience of Fashion Week in the capital first hand. I remember the first time I stepped onto the cobbled courtyard at Somerset House (not rivaling the Lincoln Centre in any way), thinking this was it, I had made the big time – only to find that this wasn’t it, I had just entered the outer bubble that so many others relished being in. This outcast feeling comes from a few factors: I, for one am not a fan of being photographed for my “street” style, nor do I care to snap others on my iPhone just because there’s a swarm of photographers surrounding said person/ Z-list celeb. So off I went, skipping the breeds of wannabes to try and attempt to be a serious journalist, after all I was covering this for a well-known NYC publication so I had every right to be a bit smug. I was a somebody, right? Maybe not in the Suzy Menkes kind of way, but I was still a somebody.

Going three days on a nutritious diet of caffeine, popcorn and champagne I realized that I was just frustrated. I had ventured to the festivities alone, in my five-inch strappy Zara stilettos (being 4ft 11inches I need all the help I can get) in hopes to use my swanky new business cards as a launch pad to welcome new contacts and somehow end up as Anna Wintour’s new best friend to take selfies with. Instead I realized that being alone was err, quite lonely and there’s nothing worse than looking like a lonely fashion freak at Fashion Week (I rhyme!), when I could have just joined the circus outside the shows. In the end I took myself home - no after party and a shit load of shows to write up.

Talking about the shows for a second, and the shoddy PR’s who couldn’t spot Edward Enninful even if they had a clipboard sized photo of him, made life all that more difficult. Once inside a show, it was a battle between FROWING and BROWING (back row) as I like to call it, and restricted views caused a lot of issues – need I remind you that I’m 4ft 11inches in case it didn’t sink in the first time? Cue the knobbers on the front row restricting views with iPads to which I thought; HEY, IT’S HAPPENING IN FRONT OF YOU, WHY DO YOU NEED TO SEE IT THROUGH A BLURRY 11-INCH SCREEN? *And breathe*. It wasn’t long ago when I sat next to an overdressed attendee at Mark Fast a few seasons ago who turned and said to me: ‘I don’t even know anything about fashion, I just thought it would be fun to sneak in’. LOL! If I could insert an emoticon right now it would be the one with the scream face.

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Last week, following on from the concrete jungle’s fashion spectacle, WWD interestingly reported that London was fighting to keep its credibility, stating defensively alongside the BFC and other supporting schemes, it was trying its best to build new brands and turn talented designers into fully functioning businesses. Ultimately, as optimistic as this news is I fear that the quintessential city’s hard work often gets shunned and outshined by the posing, blurred social media imagery and pretend-to-be-somebody-to-get-somewhere nonchalant attitude.

I have to say, I don’t want you to view me as miserable mishap that never made it in fashion, my cause is more about enlightenment, and bringing reality to those who continue to comment on how glamorous the industry is. Deep down in my heart, I know that there is nothing more exciting than seeing a collection put together and its stylistic vision presented in front you. I also don’t want you to think I hate London; from Savile Row through to J.W.Anderson and Vivienne Westwood there is a wealth of talent embedded within this city that deserves the utmost Instagram glory. I just want to feel that buzz about it again; you know the same buzz you get when your followers on Twitter go up or you buy a new pair of shoes. So here’s a toast to LFW, host to London’s iconoclasts, eclectics and cobble stone crazies. You can catch me covering the shows live from my couch! 

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