Once upon a time there was a 16-year-old girl who decided she would one day move to New York City.
This 16-year-old was me, and I wanted out of Ohio. I wanted out of the small town gossip, judgement and aching feeling of boredom and safety to pursue a life of freedom, color and opportunity that is so often portrayed in movies, songs, and of course, style, that is so — how can I put this? New York.
As life often does not turn out how you expected it to — or how you thought you wanted it to — I did not end up moving to the City of Lights. Although I still plan to at some point in my life.
So every September when I see that first post informing the world that New York Fashion Week is approaching, I get a little sad and a little giddy, and I gain a lot of perspective in between.
(Style) Love Is In The Air
Frank Sinatra and Taylor Swift (among dozens of other high-profile artists) wrote love songs about New York. The greatest shows in history were filmed in New York, including — for the people of the likes of me — Sex and The City, Friends and Gossip Girl.
How can anyone say anything bad about this place? I defend it as though it’s an intricate part of me although I’ve only been there twice in my life. Why do I give a damn about a city I really don’t know all that much about? It’s because I feel like I belong there. I always have and I have a feeling I always will.
Cue the tie-in to the infamous, highly anticipated and much talked about event of the year where the fashion community gathers in unison, dressing in the season’s latest trends as they convey the formidable attitudes that will soon rule society’s reflection of an industry that is deemed empowering by many and superficial by some, comprised of an eclectic and political mix of street style stars, “it” designers, powerhouse editors and globally recognized business women — New York Fashion Week.
From that first Fall breeze to the reawakening sense of self that the back-to-school moment refreshes us with, all of the feels are felt during NYFW, and thanks to social media and hot-off-the-digital-press recaps, you don’t even need to be there to feel them.
These conjured feelings of heightened self-awareness, killer confidence and an undeniable sense that the future will be better, are almost inexplainable. From rich, jeweled fabrics to modern takes on plunging tweed blazers to spruced-up silk dresses, we can’t help but become obsessed with what our wardrobes may soon embody.
Maybe it’s the fashion? It’s definitely and obviously the fashion, but why?
The first weeks of September are all about celebrating you. Who you were yesterday doesn’t matter and who you will be tomorrow is the well-kept mystery that will only be revealed if you allow it.
People love this time of the year — yes, because of the art that is fashion — but because of what all of this fashion represents. If you think a knee-length, leopard print jacket with a red-hot orange faux fur collar is nothing more than an obnoxious and attention-seeking piece of clothing, think again. Look beyond the clothing. Better yet, look at the person who is wearing it. They are conveying a message. A message signaling new opportunities and second chances that we don’t always get, reflecting versions of ourselves that we aspire to improve upon.
The inspiration, energy and chaos of it all is the draw.
All of these people who spend months, years, decades and longer on making this event bigger than life have an unassailable responsibility to the rest of the world to project powerful messages that will shape our thoughts and narrow our life purpose.
Us humans are incredible and influential beings, and that deep-rooted consciousness doesn’t exist without distinctive presence.
I don’t think people — namely, people outside of the fashion industry — take the time to understand how political fashion really is or why it matters. Everything you wear is a statement about who you are and what you stand for — NYFW being the epicenter for calls to action on voices heard, gender equality and unequivocal commitments to serving the greater good.
You are the one that holds the power to how successful you will be in your career. You are the one that gets to design the life of your dreams. You are the one speaking your truth and telling your story so you can get a better grasp on things in the world that are confusing and disheartening and remarkable and magnificent.
All of these runway shows, while largely interpretative of the wildness, boldness and all-around dramatics that Fashion Week is known for, are what makes us understand that the why of things in life are so much more important than the what.
Thanks for reading!