Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward for the future. This is known as Fashion Week. -Carrie Bradshaw
Twice a year in New York the streets fill with young, tall, skinny girls running from casting to casting getting ready for the biggest week in fashion, New York Fashion Week. For just one week, anyone who is anyone (or even noone) in fashion swarms to the city to get a glimpse of the latest in fall fashion. The week draws in models, designers, bloggers, photographers, vendors, etc. The lavish events take over and for a week the city is turned into a creative Mecca.
New York Fashion Week is an official event with an official schedule and official shows with official guest lists of official fashion people. But, the best thing about New York is there is always an event for everyone. New York is such a large community for aspiring designers and aspiring models that there are plenty of shows running alongside New York Fashion Week that are open to the public. There are shows ranging from free to a couple hundred dollars and an open bar.
DapperQ’s fashion show for up-and-coming LGBT designers is one of my favorite fashion week shows to go to. It is a free event at the Brooklyn Museum. The Brooklyn Museum is a great venue. It’s in a very large, very nice room in the museum that makes the perfect backdrop for the show (and Instagram pictures, of course). The show also has a few LGBT charities with vendor booths to learn more about the charity and buy some of their merchandise. There is also a cash bar (most important part of any event). Of all the free/cheap fashion shows I’ve been to, this is the best one I’ve attended. It definitely has the best venue and the best overall experience.
- Refinery 29: 29 Rooms
This event isn’t necessarily a fashion show, but it has quickly become a fashion week staple for all Instagram addicts alike. The event is literally 29 rooms, each with it’s own theme. The whole point of the event is that your interaction with each room makes your own unique experience or creation. The rooms combine art, fashion, technology and brands.
The event is free, but you pay with your life (jk jk, but almost). I arrived at this event at 11:30am. The doors opened at 12pm. At 11:30am, the line wrapped the building twice. By the time we got in, we had been in line for 3 hours, I had sunburn everywhere, I was about 2 seconds from dying of heat exhaustion, and the line was closed for the day.
It was surprisingly not the most well-run event for the size of the event. They were letting in their own employees first while a line of regular people waited to get in. Their employees really should have separate times to come that do not interfere with the general public’s time. They also were letting VIPs in even though they had had a VIP event Thursday night before it opened. Needless to say, I was not happy standing outside for 3 hours while other people didn’t have to wait. The line was extremely mismanaged all morning with people cutting and the security at the door not strategically choosing group sizes to maximize the amount of people in the event to make the line move faster.
(Ok enough complaining about the line) Once you got into the event, (I can’t say the line was “worth it”) it was a very cool experience that was unlike any event I’ve ever been to. The rooms were fun and they made it very easy to interact with each room. And of course, they made it easy to share those interactions through social media. I unfortunately did not make it to all of the rooms because I had an event at night and had to strategize which rooms I had time to see. But, we made it into most of the rooms.
The event was fun and it was worth going, but I do wish it had been better run and I wish I had known it was going to take up the entire day. I missed another event, The Tommy Pier at South Street Seaport, because the rooms became an all day event just because the line took so long.
From the 29 Rooms, I literally sprinted to Manhattan for the Fashion Sizzle fashion show. It was a show for up-and-coming designers. From the event posting, it seemed like a large legitimate show with a big following. It was $25 for a ticket. The invitation named the location as the Holy Apostles Ballroom. In my mind that was a large venue space they were renting out. In reality, we were in a church. Not the church’s ballroom. Just in church. The event has an interesting crowd to say the least. It seemed to be a mix of people who go to that church and fashion students.
The designs were fun and interesting, but the event was extremely unorganized. The start time moved from 7pm to 7:30pm at some point no one is really sure of. It’s original end time was 9pm, but at 9:30 I had to make a swift move for the door because it was obviously nowhere near done and I had planned to leave at 9pm to meet up with friends.
Overall, the show was a hot mess. I think $25 was a steep price for such a small event. The most we got out of it was free lemonade. But, it was still a good time. The designs were fun and the experience was interesting (to say the least).
Fashion Week is an exciting time in the city when everyone gets to prove how important they are by what shows they get invited to. For the rest of us peasants, it’s a fun time to get involved in small events around the city and support up-and-coming designers.