The Skirt: Is New York Fashion Week Just the Ultimate Amateur Hour?

"The Skirt" is an ongoing series in which Four Pins' resident lady friend, Rachel Seville, becomes the most important woman in your life.

I’ve just returned from the abyss of my first ever New York Fashion Week, and everything is totally different now. Thanks to a set of photos of me holding a school of shark balloons in front of Milk Studios, my blog now receives six million uniques per minute. Every single HSN host just emailed me to do a design collab--look for Pizza Rulez x Candace Cameron Unshakeable Faith Irons on TV next March--and I now boast over 12 Twitter followers.

Yes, for me, New York Fashion Week did exactly what it is designed to do: make a person famous.

In reality, though, I came out none the more famous. In fact, I came out super bummed. Because what I found out is that New York Fashion Week is just New York Amateur Week.

I suppose there are clothes there, too. But tell that to the peacocks wearing two different colored Litas (the official shoe of the would-be famous) with a tutu and like, I don’t know, a tiny snow leopard.

Fashion Week is no longer for people who care about clothes. It’s for people who care about clothes in the sense that they will be able to buy a cropped Mickey Mouse sweatshirt at Topshop for $40 a month from now. Mostly they are interested in someone being interested in them.

Here is how it works: wear something--anything will do, honestly, though the more you look like an absolute idiot, the better. Some overly-weirdly-friendly person with an okay camera will ask to take your photo. As they’re doing that, some other person with a lens that’s way too expensive for anything that’s not a National Geographic story on how plants bone will creep in on the photo. The denouement is some older Asian man with a point and shoot.

Worse still, a lot of people will just take your photo without asking. I’d walk out of a show, head down in my notes, and glance up to some small cadre of devils snapping away. I began to get the feeling those nineteenth century Baptist preachers had, like, “DON’T TAKE MY PHOTO. IT WILL FUCKING STEAL MY SOUL.”

Sometimes, they will ask what you’re wearing. “It’s all Kmart, except my skirt is Young Jeezy for Target,” I told a girl on my first day, when I was too green to know you just keeping walking. She furiously wrote this down. (I was wearing a Carven suit with Chloe shoes.)

The thing is, the entire enterprise is packed with people who want this. And it’s not just these weirdos in feather headdresses from Ricky’s; it’s women from the dregs of the West and East Villages wearing every designer thing they’ve ever thought about, kissing the headshot of Mr. Big they keep on their refrigerator on their way out the door as they always do for good luck, just wishing and hoping and praying to get photographed.

“Look! I’m on TotalKaosFashion.com!” they hope to say at the end of the day. “The photographer cut off my feet and I’m standing in a shadow but this definitely means I am on my way to worldwide fame which means a blog which means a free handbag!”

Even the establishment (of the Internet, at least), is waitin’ on it, trolling for Phil and Tommy and Garance and Scott with crazy designer shit as bait, as the New York Times pointed out yesterday. Bait they got for free, of course, but they wouldn’t take it if they thought it wouldn’t work.

The thing is, these people aren’t just outside the tents and Milk and warehouses in Chelsea. Early in the week, I ran into a personal style blogger acquaintance who just months ago was about as popular as me (e.g., not at all) as she took her seat four rows ahead of me at a show. She hugged me and kissed my cheek an ultimate amateur move that took me off guard not because of its degree of familiarity but because it didn’t seem like something she would’ve done in, say, April.

“Youuurrrrr blogggg isssss soooo funnnyyy,” she said in a voice that seemed far away and more vocally fried than I remembered, probably because I was hearing it through the elongated tube of sudden and dubiously warranted internet fame.

At a show the next day, I spotted a cast member from the Bravo atrocity Gallery Girls. “I think you’re the star of the entire show,” I deadpanned. It went over her head. “I was wondering when someone was going to recognize me,” she replied. (At least she knows what game she’s playing.)

Over the weekend, I watched a PR girl strut over to Bill Cunningham as he snapped photos before a show and demand, “Sir, do you have permission to be here?”

The best person I met during Fashion Week was a guy I’ll call Dad, in the Priority Standing line for show at the Stage.

“I’m just here to see what this is all about!” he said. “I’ve just never been to something like this before!”

He turned to me as the sartorial grandstanders filed in to chirp commentary like, “I knew I should have worn my feather turban!”

He was wearing a polo shirt, buttoned all the way up, creased khakis, and loafers, which he told me he’d gotten at Joseph A. Banks. He was refreshing and honest and above all, happy.

But the reality is that he was still interested. He still found his way here—a friend had an extra ticket—and took two hours out of his weekend to stand in a line to come to terms with his curiosity.

The lights went down and the ambient dubstep that is the sad aural reality of our time began to play, and a woman who looked like Tilda Swinton and moved like Fitzgerald’s jaunty Jordan Baker descended down the runway in an improbable suit over a bandeau top with six-inch-high flatforms.

He smiled. He loved it.

Rachel Seville is a writer living in Brooklyn who believes in miracles. Read her blog, Pizza Rulez, here and follow her on Twitter here.

  • http://cakesandcrown.tumblr.com Israel Daramola

    I just hope young jeezy finds this, reads it and rubs his chin going… “hmmm”