Stephanie Huang: Why I chose not to attend New York Fashion Week

I had it all planned out since late last August: I would skip New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer (S/S) ’13 and Vancouver Fashion Week in September, and attend New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter (F/W) ’14 in February instead.  It was blatantly obvious that I could not attend all while balancing a full course load and my wallet.  Up until a month before the F/W ’14 shows, I was deciding on which days to fly, which courses I could afford to miss, and which shows to attend.  Yet as the sacred dates neared, I couldn’t avoid asking myself whether it was all worth it or not.

Six-hour plane rides, the nightmares of LA’s beloved Super Shuttle, blizzard weather, make-up coursework, and a lack of time to truly enjoy one of my favorite cities (hello, brunch and five beautiful boroughs) didn’t seem quite so enticing the more I thought about it.  There were also the odd rituals involved with Fashion Week that I wouldn’t mind missing, either: outfit changes three times a day, peep-toes in the snow, a refusal to take the subway and overuse of cabs, and a superfluity of social media and iPhones—all of which I’m not the biggest advocate of.  

And while it was somewhat saddening to ignore the increasing number of unanswered event invites in my inbox, I told myself that I was distancing myself from the antics of the fashion world rather than the fashion itself.  With the new era of street style and editor/blogger self-promotion at Fashion Week, the event is jarringly different from how it was years ago.  Oscar de la Renta himself expressed frustration with the celebrified “megashows” of Fashion Week, stating that they were full of “20 million people with zero connection to the clothes.” It has become more and more difficult to separate the designer’s work from the chaos of the event that surrounds it.  

Ultimately, this is an aspect of the industry that I want to separate myself from, and I hope that the industry will not become even more entangled with the celebrification and hype in the Fashion Weeks to come.