Fashion Week. OH, Fashion Week. People lose their minds, their manners and their shit over you. For some, you are the highlight of the year. For others, your presence spells contempt and a social media hiatus, as your hashtags and your handbags spam our feeds (and, in my experience, very few people like to be fed spam). A few years ago, as I gleefully scrolled through the visual smorgasbord of delights attached to the #LFW hashtag, I could think of nowhere else I’d rather be; except for maybe Kakslauttanen, in a glass igloo, mesmerised by the Northern Lights. It’s true: Fashion Week, as witnessed through the lens of an extortionately priced cam, looks majestic. ‘Tis a ceremonious occasion which brings together the crème da le crème of the fashion and the celebrity world, enriching our lives with a solid months worth of Daily Mail features, on-point outfits and enough #frontrowsquadgoals photos to keep your Instagram afloat for a good three months. Back in the day, the arrival of London Fashion Week gave me ALL the feels. Nowadays, London Fashion Week, you give me one feel. You make me feel a little bit shit.
I’ve touched on this topic before in a post entitled The Unfashionable Truth About Fashion Week, but my older, and marginally wiser self has a taken a slightly different stance on the subject. Social media has opened SO MANY DOORS for us all, both literally and metaphorically. Specifically, social media has opened the doors to fashion week. The same doors that were so inaccessible, so exclusive and so impenetrable, they may have well been the gates of Mordor. But today, we have an in! Where we once waited with bated breath for the next issue of Elle to hit Tesco’s shelves, we now have instant access to every angle. BTS? You got it. Front row? You got it. Ever wonder how the whole shebang looks through a models P-O-V? One sec, lemme just hook Gigi up with a GoPro aaaand… hold up… YOU GOT IT. We have been in attendance to every single party and we didn’t once have to RSVP. This, I can’t deny, is a glorious thing. RSVP’ing can be a real ball-ache. The reality, however, is not. For me, anyways. And here’s why:
1. You spend a lot of time on your one’s.
I am completely and totally socially inept. I have written in great detail (here) about my ability to circumnavigate the opening of a door, for fear that I would somehow cock up an act so important, so pivotal, so personality-defining, as opening a door. Navigating a party full of people I know is a struggle. Navigating a courtyard of people I don’t know is reason enough for a breakdown. I imagine that hitting up LFW with a partner in crime would be bundles of fun. Alternatively, if you thrive on the very real possibility of being shot down by a stranger as you attempt to network, FASHION WEEK IS FOR YOU. I spent most of last season sat alone, scrolling aimlessly through tweets and ‘grams that I’d seen a thousand times already that day; largely because people weren’t updating their shit as often as I was scrolling through it, i.e. every second of every woebegone minute. Photographers come and go, entranced by your regalia for a precious few seconds before they realise someone else wildly more important and impressive has strode through those gargantuan iron gates. So, what do you do? You resume cyber-stalking strangers, ofc. WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO? You have a show in an hour and it really isn’t worth dragging your weary, fluff-ridden hiney anywhere else. Just suck it up and take note to make some friends.
Side-Note: Friends also come in real handy when you need someone to take a photo of the outfit you spent half your year concocting. You don’t know awkwardness until you approach a stranger in Somerset House and ask them to take a photo of you, and then ask them to take another, after realising they clearly put no effort into the first try, as they hand you your phone featuring a photo that’s entirely blurred.
2. You’re basic, even if you’re so not basic it hurts my eyes because you look so fucking fabulous. If you are unknown, you are basic.
I hate the term ‘basic’. Hate it. Think it’s gross. Am beyond offended that anyone could deem anyone else ‘basic’ – like, who do you think you are? – and thus stripping said human of any individuality they were the proud owner of moments earlier. But, for the sake of my second point, I will parade the word and its ugliness in a manner befitting to the most well-known among the fash-pack: brazenly. Note to self: No matter how awesome your attire makes you feel, someone, somewhere will consider you ‘basic’ and throw you a look that should be reserved for EDL’s Facebook page members. The look translates a little something like this: ????⚠️, to which you can only truly reply with a look that suggests they’re, in fact, this: ?. I was not-so-patiently waiting in a queue last season – berating myself for being a loner and cursing Apple for creating a phone with a battery life of 60 minutes – when I heard the fashion folk behind me discuss, and subsequently snigger at, my outfit. The audaciousness nearly sent my head spinning off: ‘They know I can hear them, right? I mean, they’d have to both be suffering from hearing impairment to think that I couldn’t hear them at this level. And the chances of these two people both being hard of hearing does seem a little unlikely. So what that I’m wearing head-to-toe bubblegum pink. So what that I’ve chosen trainers over ostentatious shoes that I can’t walk in. So what that I look about 12. Rather look 12 than act 12, dickheads.’ I, of course, said none of this to their faces. I chose to take them down within the comfortable confines of my own mind, all the while wishing the ground would swallow me up and then spit me out as a Fash Ed-at-Large who had the power to banish these queue-dwellers from fashion week altogether. I later spied these same barbarians front and centre of a few street style publications, whilst my pink-ridden mug resided on the back pages; proof that, sometimes, the nice guys finish last, and the douches finish on the front page.
A ticket to a show does not mean you will get in to said show.
So, you’ve spent a good hour wishing your day away, stood on your jack jones, awaiting the arrival of the show you’re meant to attend (in my case, for editorial purposes). You’ve died a thousand deaths as the crowds sentiment at Somerset House has switched from “OH, she looks cute!” to “Oh cool, the glorified bear I wanted to photograph is still here. Great!” to “What the fuck is that fluffy bish still doing in that goddamn corner!”. You positively sprinted to queue for the show, exalted that you were anywhere else other than still stood there, and now you just have to endure the guffaws of your fellow queue companions. Time passes, slower now than it did before. How many times can you watch one friends Snapchat story? It’s got to the point where you are avoiding Instagram like the plague, because all those people you barely know seem to be having a blast at fashion week. And yet, here you are, pining for an episode of The Office. Ahead of you, you spot movement. The queue is shuffling. GLORY BE! Not long now, Daisy, not long now. But, oh wait. No. That can’t be right. They’ve stopped letting people in. But I have a ticket?! I have spent most of my day waiting for this moment. It is the only reason I have endured the snide remarks and bemused stares of strangers. Someone else approaches the front door and they hurriedly whisk them in. They’re turning us all away. Today, it seems, is not my day. The late-arrivers were VIP so, naturally, they are catered to. I get it: there is a hierarchy and the needs of the most important need to be adhered to in order to keep them sweet and keep the publicity machine a-rollin’. But I will never get back that half a day of my life. Half a day that could’ve been spent imagining I worked at Dunder Mifflin.
Of course, these are but a few downers to what could be an awesome week, full of fashion frenzy, frugality and freebies. The kind smile from a peer; the divine compliment from a stranger; the buzz of being close enough to the runway to actually *see* the clothes parading down it; the wave of jamminess that washes over you as you nimbly run into the show and watch as the powers that be turn away the rest of the queue directly after you; the sense of relief at your loner respite, as you spy a pal making a beeline for you amidst the sea of photogs. These things are, undeniably, positively glorious. I simply suggest that, when looking at LFW, you replace your rose-tinted glasses with a different pair. Maybe Linda Farrow. Street style photogs love a pair of Linda Farrow sunnies. So fetch, so not basic.