There are two kinds of people in the world: ones who obsess over the glitz and excitement that is New York Fashion Week and ones who could not care any bit less about seven days of dress-up. Who can blame either side? Especially the ones who say they don’t care, because really, isn’t all Fashion Week just staring at a bunch of ridiculous, impractical outfits that would never find its way into every day life?
Fashion Week is an event that takes over the four fashion capitals of the world – London, Milan, New York and Paris – twice a year for the seven to nine days per month. The female-dominated spectacle is the biggest stage for aspiring designers, models, and everything in between to make their mark on the world and let everyone know their name. As much as I wish I was sitting front row at Alexander Wang or Calvin Klein, we simply can’t have it all. I pay my NYFW respects by keeping up-to-date on Fashion Week details with news stories and Instagram. I find Fashion Week to be the most overlooked event of the year when really, it’s one of the most important.
Whether people acknowledge it or not, fashion plays a huge role in our lives, as it is one of the best representations of society at any given time. It’s social commentary and a base in the diamond that is culture. First the event takes place; then the people react; art is created (have it be through music, a painting, photography or in this case, through design); the topic is discussed and engrained in the stitching of our lives. Even anti-fashionistas/os would be surprised to know that some of the smallest details of design in NYFW sneak it’s way into the most regular pieces of clothing. Designers also use this week to speak on current issues and shed light on topics that some parts of society would rather ignore.
We’re only halfway through NYFW and the statements are boldly political. During this season’s fashion week, Public School NYC donned their models in red caps, exclaiming to “Make America New York” and Calvin Klein’s creative director Raf Simons used his time in the spotlight to touch on unity in this country. His models strutted down the runway to David Bowie’s “This Is Not America” and he sent gifts to the audience of white bandanas with a note saying: “Unity, inclusion, hope and acceptance: Join us at Calvin Klein in wearing the white bandanna. #tiedtogether.”
Designer Prabal Gurung sent his army down the runway wearing simple and bold feminist-inspired tees. Christian Siriano took a similar route with his debut of “People Are People” shirts, which had all proceeds donated to the ACLU.
Specifically speaking, Fashion Week plays a *huge* role in the New York economy, generating nearly $900 million every year, which is more than any major NYC-based event (i.e. the U.S. Open, 2014 Super Bowl, or NYC Marathon). NYFW draws in over 200,000 attendees to sit pretty at its 500+ shows.
Basically, you could say it’s quite the occasion. Next time someone tells you that fashion week is a waste of any time, give them the facts and let them know the impact it’s actually making.