With NZFW recently ending to a resounding chorus of “social media integration is the new…mustard(?)”, we thought we’d bring you a taste of how New York Fashion Week, on the other side of the world is nurturing a similar relationship with social platforms. Alex Catarinella is a freelancer who writes for (amongst many others) The Huffington Post and PAPERMAG and lives in New York.
I’m a New York-based freelance writer and, considering NYFW has recently come to a close, I’m still tidying up the mess of what is left of me. NYFW no longer just means dealing with an unforgiving hang-over from the flowing champagne from the evening before. Or experiencing a full-on panic attack due to the apparently non-functioning subway train to the city and the thirty minute wait for a taxi to bolt to the show I’m assigned to cover which is set to start in 10 minutes. Nope. New NYFW means I’ve gotta tweet about my hang-over, TwitPic me as I’m changing shirts in the backseat of the car because I’m a sweaty wreck whilst losing my mind again because someone at the show just tweeted that Nicki Minaj arrived and, hello?!, it’s a NYFW rule that once the A-List celeb is seated, the show starts, and, well, I’m screwed.
But those studded, metallic fashion stars must’ve been aligned on that day because I made it just in time for the (45-minutes late) show, and even had a moment to be snapped by a street style photographer, get a quote from Nicki Minaj for PAPERMAG whilst being poked by her terrifying bodyguard, and, obviously, tweet all about it.
Social Networking’s relationship to FW is like Anna Wintour’s relationship to her bob… severe, chic, ubiquitous. One doesn’t exist without the other. Tweeting, FBing, Instagram-ing, it’s all the same — just like that ex-boyfriend who just keeps you hanging on with every “miss you ;-)” text every three months at 2 a.m. I just can’t stop. It feels kinda good. It feels kinda bad. Everybody’s doing it, so you absolutely must. Without an online persona – TTYL! – you don’t exist. Oh, and just like IRL where an individual must eat and breathe to survive, digital you thrives off of “Likes” and “Re-tweets” and via followers and friends… Especially so for a Fashion Week blogger. NYFW can be pretty LOL and OMFG and downright :-/-ing.
It’s a battle of battles, and it kind of goes like this. Journalistic integrity VS web traffic hits. Which often translates to, should I ask Karl Lagerfeld about the future of fashion or play a game of marry, fuck, kill (with Gaga, Ke$ha, and Bieber) with him? (FYI: the answer is BOTH). Should I honestly blog out my feelings regarding an overwhelmingly lauded emerging designer’s collection which I believe to be utter hyped-up crap driven by marketing ploys and kissing editors asses? Or should I take some pics, tweet how OMFG I’m obsessed with @ItDesignerOfTheMonth just so I can get an upgrade to third row and maybe a free pair of last season’s overpriced slacks and a wristband to the after-party? When did fashion-related Social Networking become the Fashion Institute of technology cafeteria? Why do we have to sit at the same lunch table? Sry, I h8 bacon bits with my salad but croutons are kewl. No thx, I don’t wanna BS with Alexa Chung yet again about her walk-in closet of creepers! Oh, but she’ll @ me on Twitter: “thx 4 the article! xx” to which I’ll obviously RT with a “;))” ??? Now we’re talking, err, tweeting.
It was pretty surreal witnessing a sea of respected journalists and editors circa the print-only days crazily jotting down notes in the front row. And then sprinkled between them are the A-List bloggers clad in the free duds from the designers whose, you know, show they’re attending, playing with their fancy gadgets. To which I, admittedly semi-jealous, say good for them! Those bloggers better work! New school ought to co-exist with the old school, because, for one, if we didn’t, I sure wouldn’t have the pleasure to sit behind Nicki Minaj’s pink fro at a runway show or nab like three more followers after tweeting about Jessica Alba totally dissing me at a GQ party. I’d still get the soul-crushing STANDING ticket if it weren’t for the blogosphere and SNS. (SMH!) In this dodgy economy, we are all trying to do our own thing; Social Networking helps us to do just that all the while showing off our digital trophy wall a bit. Really, my only actual issue is more about when show reviews are replaced by 140 characters and a slew of high-res backstage shots of sulking models getting their hair did. We are all mini-celebs; we must upkeep our digital personas to keep them thriving (translation: to not lose friends/fans/followers). And that’s totally fine. It’s actually awesome. I love a good discovered-on-YouTube sensation just like the next gay. But let’s strive to be a Diane Sawyer of the blogosphere, or even a Carson Daly of the Twitterverse. Just not a Kardashian, girl. Have some integrity, even if it’s just shot-glass sized. Use those 140 characters wisely and fearlessly, even if @AlexanderWang doesn’t approve of what you have to tweet about his latest oversized sheer sweatshirt.
Listen, I had no shame in TwitPic’ing a snap of me and supermodel Iman from Fashion’s Night Out — especially when she RT’s it to her 25,000+ followers who will, you know, hopefully/maybe want to check out the article that went along with it, in addition to my other work (which is obviously found on my Tumblr…!). But printing out that photograph and placing it on my refrigerator in my tiny Brooklyn apartment? Only I can “like” that, and that’s fine by me.[Image source]