New York Fashion Week 2017

 Photo of me (left) by  Gizela Zaqueu . Wearing an outfit that costs less than my lens rental, and wishing I could look like  Aimee Song  (right).

Photo of me (left) by Gizela Zaqueu. Wearing an outfit that costs less than my lens rental, and wishing I could look like Aimee Song (right).

My dream came true! I finally made it to New York Fashion Week!

This past week was a blur, a beautiful blur. The streets of New York were filled with leggy models and fashion interns scrambling to run errands. Rows of Lexus SUVs escorting guests to their shows clogged intersections, which were jammed with photographers darting out into the middle of the street to get a shot of a well-dressed show attendee. It was the most crazy amazing scene I've ever witnessed.

People from all over the world crowd New York every time this year to join in on the fun, get dolled up, and find their way into shows. Editors, buyers, media, and industry professionals are joined by bloggers in the front-row seats at runway shows, creating a huge spectacle in the tabloids and online. FOMO-stricken, everyone wants to be wearing designer clothes, working with big brands and getting invited to dazzling big shows and afterparties. Everyone wants to be somebody, and put on an illusion of a fabulous life in New York City. 

But the streets are a little different. On the streets anyone can express their style, and it's amazing. There is little commercial incentive; street style is pure love for fashion, whoever the heck you are.

The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been, and always will be. 
— Bill Cunningham

I wanted in on the fun, so I joined the street photographers. I found out the locations of big shows, and waited outside with the others, most of whom worked for big newspapers and media. I've never done anything like this nor do I love paparazzi photography, but the excitement and adrenaline of being in the midst of the it all was multiplying with every shot I took. Every important face I captured was a tiny victory for me, and at the end of the day, I was happy to go home with aching feet, full memory cards, swapped business cards, and even some new friends! This week reminded me just how passionate I am about photography, that I'd easily be willing to go the extra mile, sacrifice sleep, forget to eat, or stand in the rain just to shoot. I love to take pictures more than anything in the world.

Shooting street style at NYFW is an opportunity to test shoot with the industry's top models and celebrities, if you're willing to wait outside every show. You never know who's attending, or when they'll be there, but it's the uncertainty that makes the wait worthwhile when your favorite models suddenly appear. All the attendees are dressed to the nines and the models are walking out of the shows with perfect makeup and hair. And it's just up to you to catch them, not be afraid to ask/direct them to pose, and shoot to your heart's content. :)

Luckily, I did get into some shows as well. I collaborated with bloggers, who took me as their +1, and from there I requested invitations. Here are some photos from the Banana Republic presentation, backstage at the CAAFD Emerging Designers Collective Showcase, and the Leanne Marshall show.

This was my first time interacting with the fashion industry, and I realized some things. Despite how trend-based it is, fashion's never going to die out. As I stand amongst all these girls who appear to have spent an enormous effort into their outfits just to wait in the standby line of an unknown new designer's show, I realize how much all these girls want to be in the fashion world. Fashion will always have that glamour appeal that will never stop drawing people in. Consumerism lies in the desire to be popular and trendy, and buy into an image of a beautiful lifestyle. And as the forefront of American fashion, New York City is the ultimate destination for people with these dreams. I'm so blessed to have witnessed my first fashion week in this amazing city.

Since this is fashion week, here were some of the styles I've been seeing everywhere and loving:

  • printed/studded/embellished handbags
  • long non-flared skirts + heeled boots—goodbye boring old flared skirts!
  • slicked back wet hair—fresh off the runways and so effortlessly chic
  • colorful printed everything—the more the better
  • off one shoulder tops/dresses—asymmetry is so in! 
  • power suits, in bright solid colors. ("I've always thought a woman in a tuxedo was sexier than a girl in a gown." - Ralph Lauren)
  • don't go anywhere without a pair of signature sunglasses
  • and if you're really out of things to wear, throw on a baseball cap and baggy denim jacket and pull off that super cool model off duty look

Basically, whatever you wear, just rock it. Confidently strut down the streets and, no doubt, all eyes will be on you.

Last but not least, I want to acknowledge models, for being literally the coolest people ever. These badasses possess a gaze that kills, an attitude you crave, and a walk you'll never forget.

One last shoutout to the unsung heroes of New York fashion week, for willing to do the unglamorous and making sure we made it out alive and unscathed:

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Coming to New York Fashion Week has been a dream of mine for so many years. Fashion was my first love, before I ever picked up a camera. A young teenager, I'd spend hours every night flipping through fashion magazines, dreaming that someday, I'll get to be with these beautiful people and beautiful clothes in this beautiful city. Why not make my dreams come true?

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Now to figure out how to start getting paid doing this... stay tuned for the exciting (more like miserable) journey of a starving photographer artist and watch her story unfold in real time on this sad blog that probably no one reads. What'll come next? Who knows? I certainly don't.