Outside The Theater Doors At New York Fashion Week

Disclaimer: In an effort to show you all that I am not, in fact, whiling away my time here, I’ve decided to publish an article that I’m actually extremely proud of. A few weeks ago, I got to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and even got a chance to go to a few shows. This is what came from it. Enjoy!

New York Fashion Week always brings an eclectic crowd to Lincoln Center, where a myriad of designers, models, celebrities and socialites gather in throngs of mismatched outfits and funky accessories, dodging both wardrobe mishaps and the blinding lights from the paparazzi. At Monique Lhuillier’s show on Saturday, September 7, the crowd watched with bated breath as Paris Hilton walked out of her limousine and made her way past the onlookers and up the steps reserved only for the fashion elite. Photographers clicked picture after picture, style aficionados looked on resentfully, and fans were heard shouting, “Oh my God! Did you see Paris Hilton?”

            Apart from the privileged few who traipse into the theater without a second thought, New York Fashion Week attracts dozens of young hopefuls who want to catch a glimpse of the action — or better yet, be a part of it. These aspirants come in a number of forms, be it the fashion blogger who has just gotten a ticket to her first fashion show or the optimistic model looking for his big break. These are the people who stand out the most – the ones with the look of longing on their faces and the complete and utter devotion with which they view the fashion world.

For Alina Fayer, founder of the fashion blog The Style Socialite, Fashion Week represents her journey from an unknown intern at Women’s Wear Daily to a self-made entrepreneur. “I was literally the girl outside handing newspapers to all the guests at Fashion Week, can you imagine?” laughs Fayer, her eyes covered entirely by her large Prada sunglasses and her hair expertly styled in long, tousled waves. Vowing to herself that she would “get to be on the inside” whatever it took, Fayer claims that she worked her way up and got to the point where she could get a ticket to Fashion Week all on her own. “I am now self-made, and believe that if you take risks, you can get there,” she smiles, with a twirl of her red and ruffled skirt as her friend asks her to pose for a picture. Continue reading

Why Fashion Journalism is Important

The Twitterverse is clearly a major forum for debate these days (which my old Columbia professor, Sree, will attest to the growing power of social media), and one of these topics in the recent past was about women’s magazines and so-called ‘serious’ journalism. An article in the New Republic recently reinforced the idea that women’s magazines do not produce serious journalism because it isn’t their ‘mission’ to do so. Which is not only an insult, but also completely untrue. The New Republic article’s main gist was that men’s magazines and other ‘general interest publications’ (why men’s magazines do not get their own category like women’s magazines do, I don’t know) often have longer pieces that cover more types of journalism; literary and investigative journalism in particular. In comparison, women’s magazines apparently don’t care about writing serious articles as much as their male counterparts (particularly mentioned here were Esquire and GQ), and their pieces are apparently much shorter. I don’t really seem to understand why word length must even be considered a factor for serious journalism. If I can explain the same thing to you in 2000 words that someone else might take 5000 words for, doesn’t that, in effect, make me a far better writer? Apparently not.

The June Issue of Vogue India

Robbie Myers, editor-in-chief of ELLE Magazine USA, thankfully also had some words to share on the subject. Her rebuttal was, in effect, the same as mine. She says that people often confuse length for quality, and since she was speaking specifically on behalf of her own magazine, she clearly stated that even taking into account this ridiculous criteria for serious journalism, ELLE has written a number of substantial longer pieces that range from topics like selective reduction in pregnancies to policies in American government. While I understand that she can’t speak on behalf of her competitors like Vogue or Marie Claire, it is true that these magazines, too, have some articles that I think should qualify as serious journalism. Take this article from Vogue about CNN anchor Arwa Damon’s time reporting in Libya or this personal story about a shooting survivor from Marie Claire; a plea for gun control reform. Why do these articles go unnoticed? Continue reading