Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Truth About Fashion Week - T-Files

I heard someone say once, "Show me what you're looking at and posting on social media and I'll show you your life." I believe that to be a pretty fair and honest assessment actually...well, at least 75% anyway, wouldn't you say? It's all about what amuses and inspires us. Anyone who knows me personally and certainly my readers can usually come up with a pretty sound idea of what I'm about. In addition to the blog, my Facebook page (both business and personal), Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are flooded with all things fashion and style from every aspect. Hence... StyleMayvin.

Remember back when I said I'm going to start sharing more of my "experiences"? I've even dubbed myself an "experience chaser" to be exact, so here we go again.  Another installment of "T-Files".

The Truth As I Know It:
As the various fashion weeks/months continue, something that has been weighing heavily on me since NYFW ended is sharing the truth, my truth about fashion week. I titled this blog post as such because many people who look at the fashion industry with an eye of admiration from afar have a very different view than those of us who live this life everyday. By no means will I ever profess to say that it is not glamorous or fun and exciting but what I will say is that it is not for the faint at heart and I think it's high time I take my readers beyond the perception, and behind the scenes if you will.

The days of fashion week in any of the many locations; New York, London, Milan, Paris and the list goes on, are long. And when I say long, I mean LOOOONG! The thing I like to tell myself is that "fashion people" are either mad or they really love what they do. Most often there's a bit of madness mixed in with all that love and affection but it creates the perfect combination. After all, most of the great creatives were pretty much off their rocker judging from society's ideas on accepted behaviors. In essence, #DoWhatYouLove and #LoveWhatYouDo applies more than ever to the people in this industry.

So let's take an in-depth look at what my schedule looks like on any given fashion fueled week. Meanwhile I can only imagine how "interesting" it gets for those who receive even more show invites than I...and the poor PR girls...Yikes!

During what I like to call "Pre-Season", these are the days and sometimes weeks leading up to the start of fashion week where invitations are going out in the mail (yes some do still go out via snail mail) and email. These are always a welcomed pinch of excitement as they start to trickle into my in-box. Then there are the shows that you already know you want to attend, yet somehow the mailman or the evil email demon has suspended delivery. Listen, that's what I like to tell myself so let's just run with that. Ok? Anyway, for those shows, now it's time to put in work. First, hunt down the PR company or contact person in charge of invitations (no easy task there), next, craft a respectable yet intriguing email requesting an invitation to said show. Finally, wait...then wait some more...and maybe just a bit more waiting before you receive a response. Sometimes I score a seat at my newest designer-crush's show...sometimes not. But hey, life goes on and for those I don't get into, if I'm still infatuated by next season, I go for it again.

Now, the smart person in me says, "T, make sure you put every appointment on your calendar in advance and make sure all looks for the week have been selected." and during pre-season, I usually listen. It's what happens during the middle of the first, second and third quarters that changes the game. Ready. Set. Go.
First Quarter:
This is where my schedule for the week still "looks" exciting. It's slightly overwhelming to the naked eye and at this point I realize that fashion week is like giving birth. After 6 months, you forget how painful it was and when it's all said and done, once you look upon your "accomplishment" with pride, all the memories of discomfort fade away. Don't judge me for that analogy! I have three kids so I know, believe me...it's the same thing. (Kinda). So... I breeze through Day Zero (part one and deux) which has now totally become "a thing" as I previously reported, yet the first two day or so go off without a hitch. Or at least I think, until I review my schedule and emails days later realizing I somehow missed a show or two, or three. Let the games begin.

Second Quarter:
At this point is when I realize, yet AGAIN, that I need an assistant. Side note: I come to this realization seasonally, go figure. Running from show to show and getting seated used to be the hectic part. Now reviewing the run of show, taking notes of looks I love, taking photos...one hand with my favorite Samsung camera and the other hand holds the iPhone (with Mophie battery case attached) which I use to Instagram, Tweet and Facebook said look, and on my lap? Well, that's the back up camera phone just in case. Seriously, I'm slightly exhausted once it's all said and done and that's the drill for each and every show. This is a great time to note that asking fashion folks what's so exhausting about fashion week, is a really mute question. I digress... The presentations I've grown to love because the previous Retail Buyer spirit I still have deep within totally kicks in. During a presentation I am able to really get a good look at each piece and with no model movement, the amateur photographer in me comes out in full force too. Second quarter, I'm still in the game and although I haven't eaten a proper meal in a few days I'm somehow hanging in if only from the adrenaline.
Third Quarter:
By now I'm barely sleeping because I'm online updating the blog nightly and connecting with the fabulous PR girls for last minute show invites at the end of each full day of attending shows, blogger lounges, fashion events, stylishly pulled together cocktail receptions and straight up dance parties thrown by elated designers who have finally finished the last stitch and shown their runway collections for the season. A few new connections made over cocktails and it's time to make the commute back to NJ. Just 25 minutes through the Lincoln Tunnel to my doorstep seems like an eternity after such a long day but guess who can't wait to get those 3.5 hours of sleep in before I'm out the door and back at the tents again for the next full day of fashion excitement? Yup...you guessed it. Me!

Fourth Quarter...The Eleventh Hour:
Here's when delirium has officially set in and I'm really being pulled like a magnet to each of the final shows I have accepted invites to. It's like a moth to a flame...I simply cannot stop, even if I wanted to which I don't. I continue to chant #DoWhatYouLove #LoveWhatYouDo and genuinely, even in all of my "tired-ness", I mean it...hashtag and all!

As I put on my shoes for the day, I realize that the shoes I wore yesterday (so cute by the way) were not only hurting my heels because my feet were tired but because they were new, I wore the wrong socks and thus I now have two huge sores (not to be confused with blisters because this was way worse) on the back of my heels. Do you know how hard it is to find shoes that don't hit squarely and relentlessly on that exact spot with each excruciating step you take? What about finding band aids somewhere, anywhere in your house in a rush? Or maybe a good alternative for Neosporin because your children (who pretty much know you don't exist during fashion week) have used every last drop? Yeah...didn't think so. The struggle is real.
Pushing Through:
I know I'm nowhere near the only one who pushes through these days doing exactly what we love, inner squealing with excitement through each experience, who's husband and children are supportive enough to never complain and actually love to see the happiness on our faces as we describe each show ad nauseum (not that they understand a single word) but it's what make us happy. The fashion addicts, the style enthusiasts, the lovers of all things chic...well, the true students of this game are in it for the long haul. We are in it simply for the love, not for the fame. This is work...it is our jobs! There is something that lives deep inside us that has been there for years, in fact, as long as we can remember and each time we may have tried to walk away in a moment of pure exhaustion (ie. "I'm so NOT doing fashion week next season."), it pulls us right back in. It is a love story. One that never ends and can only be genuinely appreciated by those who are desperately addicted too.

Once the tents have come down and life has resumed to its more manageable chaotic level where kids football games, gymnastics classes, daily meal preparations, QT with the Hubby and a somewhat lower dose of fashion pharmaceuticals come into play, I settle back into the off season. Now if I am lucky, it's off to London, Milan, Paris, etc... for my next fashion fix. (#Manifest) If not, I prepare for next season, promising (once again) to actively look for an assistant and photographer while I let it all melt away laying on the table of my favorite spa while getting a full body massage... and remembering 2/16/15, the day I met Anna Wintour.

This is my life and I love it. It is the life I have proudly chosen and make a conscious decision to tirelessly pursue everyday...fashion week and beyond. I am thankful for ALL of the opportunities it affords me through hard work and dedication so although I joke and make light of it in some instances, I have the greatest passion and respect for it as well.


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