It saddens me to face the fact that I’ll never experience a Bryant Park NYFW. I’ve heard amazing things: Tales of a time when the focus was still primarily on the new collections and the [business] of fashion, the stands were filled with the industry’s most elite individuals, and the street style wasn’t quite as “fanciful” as it is today. It was a different era, and like all eventually do, it met its end. Looking at the bright side, however, this latest chapter at Lincoln Center not only welcomed a totally novel dynamic, but also introduced a new generation of budding industry figures — one that I’m excited and honored to be a part of.
Last September, my friends and I had a moment of enlightenment as the season’s fun came to a close: We ARE the fashion industry — extremely small parts of it, of course, but nonetheless, we’re full-fledged, day-to-day members of this fantastic, absolutely invigorating world and that’s amazing. It’s such an inspiring feeling, and every fashion week invite, be it to a show or a party, reasserts that we’re doing something right.
At the same time, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. It grinds my gears when people think the industry is some sort of fan club that you can submit an application to (i.e. create a fashion tumblr or street style Instagram account) and suddenly find yourself on the inside. It takes a lot more than that, as Suzy Menkes champions in her legendary “Circus of Fashion” rant. There’s been a huge appropriation of the spots and lifestyles that the “legit” members work hard for — and in spite of my rather unconventional entry into this universe, I agree and respect her position completely (and am grateful to have a place here).
With that sentiment at heart, I kept things pretty light this season by my own choosing. I started looking around and constantly found myself lost in thoughts of those unfamiliar golden days I wish I’d experienced. The primary thing I’ve gathered from the Bryant Park era was that it wasn’t diluted by a million fashion fans playing dress up for the street style paparazzi or tons of non-industry derrières — as in, not the butts of editors, buyers, or even high-income/high profile consumers — filling up seats in the tents.
And I don’t have to have lived through that past to know that things aren’t the same.
So I decided that if I’m going to be attending all these events, I want to make sure my presence means something. I’d rather be WORKING, not just Instagram-ing and partying, and the fact that I was just there for fun this season made me feel like I was more in the way, taking up space, than contributing to the experience…
With all of that draining some of the excitement, I realized my iPhone wasn’t the only thing that needed some charging… Since there’s not a human-sized Puku I could plug myself into to get my enthusiasm back to 100%, I went ahead and sat out for the rest of the week — but trust me, I had more than enough fun to last me until the spring shows.
With this being the final season of the Lincoln Center era and the last run for Mercedes serving as the lead sponsor, not to mention the MAJOR introduction of mensweek this coming summer, you better believe that it’s going to be a whole new game moving forward. And while I still consider myself a rookie in the game, I’m glad to have gotten past the “training wheels” phase of my career here at Lincoln Center. All the shows attended, articles written, connections made, and open bars abused have made for an awesome collection of memories, and I’m looking forward to all that’s ahead. -J