Monday, September 20, 2010

Ticket Me.

The shows used to be industry functions, now they are theater that begs for a loving audience.

I'm not rich. I can't afford to buy "off the rack" unless that rack is in a big box retailer. It's the truth, and instead of loathing the state of my financial affairs, I use it as a challenge and many of my fellow fashion forward friends do too. We go to vintage shops, thrift stores, clothing swaps, and sample sales. We gather what's old or used, and mix it with what's newly made in China and come out looking pretty fly if you ask us. That's because we love fashion. We study it and seek it out. We get our hands dirty and get creative with stitches and sewing machines or glue or seam rippers and wear what becomes something new. I'm not boasting, I'm just truth telling. The way we put things together becomes the fuel that fires the trend driven fashion machine. We are such a big part of the big business, and yet we can't get into the tents without a scheme or a name badge that reads "Tavi."

Now, I wouldn't ask to touch anything. I'd just look with my eyes.

I'm not trying to seem entitled, there is a sense of earning your place in the tents. Those runways are nothing if not hierarchy on display. I don't want or need frontrow seats, or even a seat, but what about a standing pass? My plea is this: I wish designers would designate a certain section of space at their seasonal shows for fans who show their love in ways other than whipping out their wallets. In the past fashion shows were industry events. They were a fairly straightforward means to an end. Designers would open their studios, or set up satine sofas in salons to show their latest creations to buyers and editors. There were few if any outside viewers that were there simply for spectacle. My, how that has changed. Fashion shows now are performances. They are brand building exercises in theater with the best costumes this side of Bollywood. They beg to be seen and we want to see them with the thump of the music in our chests, not our earbuds plugged into laptops.

Any room for me at that table? I'll do the dishes.

What if houses held contests for design students, aspiring stylists, or wishful photographers? What if writers could submit design reviews, ad copy, or press releases? Someone somewhere could take a few hours to judge the group and select attendees. This would be two fold, helping to source up-and-coming talent for the industry. Or, even easier? Do student rush tickets. Charge a flimsy fee and let people line up to buy tickets before the show. It would make some peoples' lives to be let behind the velvet ropes and see a show in person.

There used to be empty chairs.

This thought was sparked by my dealings with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week's new venue. Lincoln Center was remarkably un-fan-friendly. I happened to slip in on the coatails of a friend who had an invite to the Christian Siriano show. Inside the tents was fabulous, outside was dull and awkwardly inaccessible. In Bryant Park the tents and their environs were a fantastic place for a fan. There was the back entrance where the celebs would breeze in surrounded by squabbling paparazzi. There were the many tiny tables and chairs in the park where editors and makeup artists took phone calls or checked email. There was the plume of smoke rising from the corner where the made-up models would smoke their lunches before the shows kicked off. It was delightful eye candy for a fashion fan, even if you couldn't get in to see the show. I miss it. I'd love a way to participate in this world that I love even before I become an employed, card carrying member of the fashion industry, and I think the ability to see contemporary designs upclose and un motion would benefit my studies immensely. Well, that and it would just be an effing thrill. I'm just throwing it out there.

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