Fashion Week was the week before I moved into my new house, meaning I was in a strange limbo of sofa surfing and living out of messy suitcases. I had to accept that I would not have the time nor the means to intricately plan perfect outfits, read up on designers, get my nails done or shave my legs.
Yet,this was something I’d wanted to experience since my days of being an awkward teenager in Frankfurt which,diligently , remains unaffected by the world of fashion. Growing up there, I constantly lamented the lack of spectacular garment wearing individuals and made do with salivating over magazines and blogs; dreaming of escaping to somewhere more creatively explosive. Attending London Fashion Week one day seemed as likely as getting an A* in P.E. (read: very unlikely).
For me, most fashion is rooted in creativity and art. Designer branding within the industry however, cannot be tethered from an air of elitism. Similarly, focus on aesthetics often leads to the easy assumption of superficiality. Thrown into a situation where all present are a part of this ambiguous industry, would fashion week be a soul crushing, intricate social dance where I would have to arm myself with a pretentious disposition to get to know the fashion troops of London?
For SS16, Brewer Street Car Park in Soho replaced the infamous Somerset House as the main showspace. While streetstyle photographers huddled around the entrance, waiting to spot fashion deities and loyal subjects, the inside housed an impressive runway, the designer showspaces (a maze of covetable accessories and garments), a cheeky press lounge and areas that offered free makeup a blessing when I overslept on day three.
For five days I was running around London, googlemapping venues for a plethora of runway shows and presentations, my decidedly unstylish tote bag a mess of fashion show invites and press releases. There was no time for sit down meals, but I was content with complimentary drinks and popcorn.
Although I was lucky enough to attend a couple of major runway shows (Jasper Conran, Toga, JeanPierre Braganza), my favourite events were hosted at smaller venues by independent designers who were eager to talk about their collection on the occasions I found myself backstage.
The vast majority of people I met seemed more genuine than I initially suspected. Yes, I overheard fashion bloggers gossiping about people’s instagram posts in the toilet, observed arrogant expressions decorating front rows and my friend who was handing out magazines got asked for one with “no rain on” by a moody model during torrential downpour. But overwhelmingly, I met wonderful people everywhere I went. Beautiful collisions of humans, queuing up for shows, in overcrowded coffee shops with free wifi, on the street all through exchanges of smiles and an expression that said “I’m super tired and kind of stressed but how amazing is all of this”.
On the last day of fashion week, I spent my morning in the press lounge coming to terms with the physical and mental repercussions of early mornings, nonstop days and after parties, trying to finish write ups in a dreamlike state of contentment, whilst getting served infinite free lates by gorgeous men in suits covered in fake tattoos.
Fashion week solidified what fashion means to me: a fun and creative global connector, which encourages individualism and confidence. The assumptions of superficiality and ostentatiousness within the industry are there for a reason. But importantly, these prejudices made up only a small, almost insignificant portion of my experience. I am now fully convinced that, as with most areas of life, it is in the fashion world’s collective interest to approach everyone and everything you encounter with a hopeful, positive attitude.