Fashion Week in New York City used to be the shit. As a New Yorker who was torturously close to the scene of gathered opulence, there was always the deep-seeded envy that was harbored for the decked-out elite, that comprised of the usual suspects, converging at Bryant Park, before it was switched to Lincoln Center.
But lately, the annual runway extravaganza has become a roving circus act for restless designers, who are desperate to explore ways to restore the glory of a wilted tradition.
Needless to say, the fashion and beauty industry have become caricatures of what they used to represent to avid consumers, who paid close attention to the forecast by trendsetters, relying on the genius of masterminds to assist in maintaining a sense of reverence around distributed products that earned the right to cost a fortune.
Back in the day, thick fashion magazines didn’t just contain provoking editorials that took readers on a trip around the world, there was also the collage of models, modeling accessories and attractively assembled pieces that served as the compass for the future.
The appetizing platter made a splash and then disappeared until the battle of the runways commenced months later.
But the invasion of bloggers that began almost a decade ago, galvanized the lookbook of an industry that was desperate to evolve with the times; and thus began the era of excessive exposure.
Suddenly the mystery behind the curtain was ceremoniously unveiled, as the pressure to fete the demands of influencers with an impressive number of bots as currency, created the atmosphere of competitiveness that had very little to do with honoring the culture of specificity, and everything to do with drastically reducing the currency of brands that had once enjoyed the privilege that accompanies “behind-the-scenes” entry and exit.
Instagram arrived to extend the rabid habits of social media superstars, by providing the hosting of 24/7 coverage of events that require the stamp of approval from viewership based on the bombardment of recognizable labels that are defiantly fighting for attention.
And that major shift in focus naturally changed the game, as it became clear that the only way to capitalize on the current themes of exploitation at all costs, is to abandon the quest for originality by targeting society’s high and mighty.
This means relying on established familial legacies that boast well-suited offsprings, who can conveniently keep Vogue magazine in business and offer validation to luxury brands.
Kris Jenner single-handedly repurposed the graphics by bullishly hijacking every vital outlet of artistic expression. As the ruthless momager of the family that Kim built with the sex tape that was converted into a goldmine, Kris secured the modeling career of Kendall Jenner with the guarantee that her sought-after daughter would be the first and only choice for ambitious campaigns, as well as the obsessed default for high fashion magazine covers.
Those trends have carried over to D-listers with ordinary-looking daughters, who are White enough to wow the crowds in lucrative territories like Japan, Singapore, etc, while also managing to garner top dollar for branding campaigns that shamelessly and lazily leave the hawking to spoiled brats, who feign ignorance about the “True Hollywood Story,” regarding seamless admissions into Ivy League schools.
The dismantling of a system that reserved the right to be unapologetically stringent for the sake of authenticity has weakly succumbed to the commonplace status that massively devalues the artistry and laborious investments.
Fashion week has lost the luster that gave gawkers like me, who were shut out, the incentive to marvel and visualize what was transpiring on the other side, where the majestic shows were sprawled for chosen revelers.
It’s all about the endless streaming, multitude of viral clips, and the non-stop pictorials, that combine into a vibrant mess, that positions fashion labels into a pit of mismatched items that tragically recall the cellars of bargaining spots, where eager hands fight for what has been discarded by the seasons.
Instagram has made fashion brands nauseatingly accessible, with the added misery of propelling commoners into believing their modeling prowess based on their ability to amass hearts of approval for successfully donning over-priced pieces that arrive without price tags.
But it’s not all tragic when you consider how platforms even out the playing field by highlighting the viability of darker-skinned women, who are systemically devalued by an industry that still uplifts Whiteness as the preferred aesthetic. Gorgeous Black women with skin hues that are deemed inferior because of the disease of White supremacy — are proudly displaying their shimmering templates with the pride that is undoubtedly boosting the self-esteem of those who need the elevation.
They say “too much of anything isn’t good for you,” and in this climate of extremes and the level of excess that makes the eighties seem downright demure, it’s difficult to garner respect for units that are suffering from the avalanche of presentations that distort your gaze.
Everything is everywhere, and regardless of how pretty they seem, nothing really stands out enough to dazzle and fascinate unless there’s an unsettling goriness, and even then, you’re easily distracted by the un-related post right beside it, that minimizes what you barely had time to appreciate.
I was never a slave to brands, although there was a period some years ago when I was open to sporadically indulging, but thanks to the never-ending deliveries that clog timelines — the world of fashion and beauty, and the staple muses that are rotated without flexibility for new faces — have become the worn out trends that sadly give designers a bad name.