London Fashion Week (or NYFW, or PFW): Does the mere mention of fashion week make you think, Yay! Lots of new collections to view on Instagram! Or does it make you think, blah blah fashion week, blah…?
Now don’t get me wrong – if LFW or NYFW is your thing and you love it, I think that’s fantastic. Many do, and as I believe the case is with all hobbies and guilty pleasures, if you like something, then damn well LIKE it (I believe in #iwillwearwhatilike and in the same way I believe people are free to enjoy whatever pastimes they want in life without fear of ridicule or being labelled as nerds or geeks).
But I have to admit that whenever fashion week season rolls around, I tend to switch off somewhat and brace myself for the onslaught of repetitive catwalk posts on Instagram. And the endless street style photos on Who What Wear and other online fashion publications. When I attended a couple of London Fashion Weeks when I started blogging, attending LFW was very much THE thing to do. As was getting yourself photographed in a street style shot that may or may not pop up in Grazia and Cosmo.
I was actually forcing myself to enjoy it. I wasn’t admitting to myself that I really wasn’t having a good time… I thought it was all part of being a fashion blogger.
I went to fashion week two seasons running (SS14 and AW14), and now I think back I was actually forcing myself to enjoy it. I wasn’t admitting to myself that I really wasn’t having a good time… I thought it was all part of being a fashion blogger. I’d started having some success in terms of recognition with brands and gaining a solid following; I’d just gone full time with the blog, and everything I was reading on other blogs led me to believe that attending fashion week was THE thing I had to do regularly as part of my job.
What fashion week was really like
What I must say first is that I attended two LFWs with my lovely blogging friend Anna Lou Elliott and we actually had a really nice time together – I’d somehow managed to get hold of two tickets to a Simone Rocha show (I won them in a local competition that I reckon I was the only entrant in) and I asked Anna if she wanted to come with me. She was a seasoned fashion week goer and I was glad she’d be there to hold my hand, because I was seriously worried about what to do and where to go.
And that was the thing – I was in a major panic about being seen as cool enough to be there. I agonised over what to wear. On my first day I wore a 70s vintage shirt with a classic trench (draped over my shoulders of COURSE), and I really expected some sort of Mean Girls-esque vying for seats once we got inside. To be honest I can’t really remember.
I wrote about my London Fashion Week experience and what it was really like straight after that first time I went, and it’s funny reading back on it now. I definitely think I was trying to enjoy it, but who enjoys THAT sort of stress over what to wear? Or getting stressed just walking around Somerset House, desperately waiting for someone – ANYONE – to take my picture?
Why I decided to stop going to London Fashion Week
After doing a second fashion week the following season, where I managed to get invites to a few small shows thanks to Anna, I decided that enough was enough. I’d “done” fashion week. The thought of spending money on going up to London for nothing that paid me back in any way seemed ridiculous. What did I have to show for it? No one wanted to take my picture. No one was really interested in the blurry catwalk pictures I posted on Instagram taken from four rows back. I mean, even then, I wasn’t interested in other bloggers’ super-sharp catwalk pictures on Instagram taken from the FROW… why would I inflict my blurries on my followers? It’s the blogosphere equivalent of showing every single person you know thousands of baby pictures or your holiday snaps… generally people just aren’t interested in pictures of the “you should have been there” moments.
What with the circus that is influencers (because not all attendees are bloggers…) being seen at fashion week – it’s kind of ridiculous now, with the top dogs being given designer clothes to wear, sitting front row and drawing a massive frenzied crowd of photographers. I don’t feel like I’m the only one that thinks it’s all very fake (are they really enjoying it? Isn’t she freezing her tits off in that tulle dress?) – as I just mentioned it’s all a big circus, it’s all for show. Though some – many! – may enjoy that show, and I’m not here to berate anyone for enjoying it, nosiree. It just ain’t for me.
The irony is that now I get sent a LOT of invites to (small) shows. Unless it’s a blanket, not-addressed-to-me-personally email I always send a Thank you but I can’t make it reply. I can’t imagine anything worse than agonising over whether I’m cool enough to be photographed, spending a lot of money on train fare and accommodation, posting things on Instagram no one is interested in, then wondering what to do with all the blurry catwalk photos I’ve taken because I really should put them in a blog post, shouldn’t I?!
I think if I could just attend a few really great shows from the front row (like our own Queen Elizabeth did this week – kudos, your 91-year-old Majesty) WITHOUT all the circus hoo-har and the dressing up and the fake strolling around hoping to be papped, I think I’d quite enjoy it. But I think I’m just too old and grumpy to join in with what’s expected of me.
In the words of the wonderful Frances McDormand at the BAFTAs this week: “I have a little trouble with compliance”.
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES OF FASHION WEEK THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE – DO YOU GO? DO YOU WANT TO GO? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
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