WHY I MAY NOT RETURN TO NYFW
New York Fashion Week (NYFW); where fashion makes next seasons proclamations on and off the runway. One might say it is a dream and a killer opportunity, but unless you know what you are there for and how to maximize the experience, it is a waste of money.
My first time at NYFW, I realized right away the incredible networking opportunity that laid in front of me. I have always seen my attendance there as work because I am there to network to the best of my ability. I left my first NYFW craving more and knowing that I would be back for more the following season. In February 2018, I embarked on my 2nd season back to back and had the time of my life. I did exactly what I was there for which was networking and building new relationships. Scroll down for more…
This time around, I was met with a new reality that I haven’t encountered as a blogger thus far; fashion politics. I experienced some of the most discouraging and simply humiliating things this NYFW to the point in my head, that I vowed not to return next season unless going will move mountains in my blogging career. I experienced first hand women being disrespectful, rude, and mean to one another just to get a leg up. To be honest, my immediate circle of friends are all non-bloggers; they also are some of the most loving, supportive, endearing people I know so my world view is severely jaded. I know that this was a harsh reality I had to face one day, but it was definitely baptism by fire.
So first let me start of by saying, if you are a fashion blogger, I do not want to discourage you from attending NYFW. It is a POTENT experience and certainly a rich environment to foster new relationships with other people in the industry and brands. If I could have been able to skip over a few moments during NYFW this time around, I would be singing its praises without hesitation.
Let’s just talk about some super highlights of NYFW. My first day there was Thursday September 6th. Since I live in Connecticut, I took a bus from Hartford, CT to Port Authority in Manhattan which took roughly about 3 hours due to traffic. I arrived at about 1pm in the afternoon and headed straight to my hotel The Redbury New York which thankfully allowed me to check in early. I got dressed and ready as I had an appointment for a pull for NYFW looks at Dreams On Air showroom in Soho. That pull went great and I met two stylists there that were pulling for a show on Vh1. This is the thing; you never know who you are encountering during fashion week; be kind to everyone.
I had to quickly rush to the Pier 59 Studios at Chelsea Piers to catch the Supima show at 4pm. Can we just talk about how amazing that show was? It was super incredible. Six student designers from schools all over the country came together to present their designs and a chance to win $10K. It was quite the show and post show, there was an after “party” or I like to call it open bar reception where I met an editorial photographer and an executive editor of an NYC based magazine. It is ALWAYS about networking and really maximizing on that. Later that evening, I met up with blogger Vonnette Stewart to attend the “Texture On The Runway” hosted by Naturally Curly in partnership with Sally’s Beauty. The show was a highlight but it was also my first encounter of discomfort during fashion week (will expand later). Honey, that goodie bag was awesome per usual. I definitely would recommend attending this show.
On Friday, my CT blogger bae roomie Diane of Style Context and I met up with my other CT blogger bae Yinka of Yours Truly Yinka in Brooklyn to experience 29 Rooms. This excursion had been in the works for weeks and a group of 7 of us were supposed to do it together beginning with coffee and photos in Dumbo. Due to timing and traffic, Diane and I ended up doing photos and coffee alone and making it to the venue to meet Yinka. The three of us ended up navigating Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms experience and we had a blast! It was worth spending 3 whole hours and also the $40 to see it. It was a complete sensory experience dripping feminism and they even had a whole room by Refinery 29’s Unbothered dedicated to black women and black feminism which was a major win. The three of us continued being amigos for the rest of the day but I have more to expand on later. Also, due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up at one of my fave NYFW venues, Samsung 837. I always can rely on that place for rejuvenation between shows.
Saturday was such an interesting day. It started of a bit somber but our black girl magic brunch went of without a hitch even though there were only about 1/3 of the original members present. I met Star of 87 Pages, Tammy of My Beauty Jars, and was with Yinka. The four of us had a lovely brunch followed by your standard black girl magic photo taken by some willing strangers. I spent the afternoon doing Oxford Fashion Studio shows at Pier 59 Studios. Following that, I went to catch the last few minutes of the Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka US Open match. It was certainly bittersweet; Naomi played her butt off though and that was such a powerful moment for her. It was somber AF for Serena but her being the queen she is, she celebrated Naomi and gave everything she could so that she could have her moment. The evening was a simple night with Star of 87 Pages over dinner, chatting. It was lovely, it was refreshing; it was just what I needed. Thank you Star!
Sunday was probably the best day of them all. I began my day at Industria to see the Nonie show of course (my namesake). Then I went to 50 Bowery for the Bowery Block Party and networking event co-hosted by My Haute Society. THIS WAS IT! If I didn’t do anything else, that was the most worthwhile thing I did this year. It was a space of 50+ bloggers of varying follower sizes (500 to 560K+). Ego was left at the door and we all just had a great time over food and drinks chatting about everything. This is were I also met Ruthie Ridley who I have been following forever and Kachet of The Kachet Life who I adore. I meandered to Brooklyn for the Essence Streetstyle Event but the line was detestable and so I decided to donate my $25 to Essence and head back to 50 Bowery with Yinka. Our time there was so potent and very much worth it. I met a small group of amazing blogger gals and we all headed to my last show of NYFW, which was also the best show Rubie Fang. A couple of us wondered into Greenwich Village and got delicious Pho! Diane and I then hurried off quickly to catch the train back to CT.
Overall, NYFW is totally a must! However, it can be a complete waste of money if you do not make the absolute most out of it and can justify it for your side hustle! Altogether, I spent almost $900 to attend NYFW. Although it is not horrible compared to some others, post wedding, it was definitely a sacrifice. I had set aside money before the wedding specifically for NYFW but I still felt it for sure. Here is a breakdown:
Tourism (29 Rooms and Essence Streetstyle): $64
Even if I have been earning extra income from blogging each month, because of the wedding, I am feeling it. However, I made the absolute most of Saturday and Sunday in regards to networking and really extending myself in order to make new connections and so I do feel like I did get an excellent value for my coin. In addition, to save money, I had a NYFW buddy who I split most costs with, Ubers and Hotel. It was definitely worthwhile.
Another bad is the overbooking of shows. Specifically, we were supposed to attend a show Friday after 29 Rooms. On arrival, which we were about 15 minutes late to, about 100 people were standing outside. Security was refusing to let anymore people into the venue due to reaching capacity. I don’t really go to NYFW for the shows but after you spend on an uber and make and effort to make it somewhere on time, the last thing you want is not go in after RSVPing and waiting in line forever. Thankfully, we had things to do.
Lastly, I am never making plans with anyone during NYFW unless we are traveling together or they are reliable. I specifically had made plans for two separate events, one 29 Rooms and the other a black girl magic brunch with two separate groups of ladies. Due to schedule conflict, illness, traffic, and what have you, our group of 7 ended up being 3 for 29 Rooms and our group of 9 ended up being 4 for our black girl magic brunch. Do not set yourself up for failure. Both times, I felt disappointed especially at the brunch but its the nature of the week and you just have to pull through.
OKAY GUYS!!! Where do I start? This is what I had to take time to unpack before I made any sort of commentary. NYFW left me speechless at least twice that I can remember. I felt uncomfortable emotions of disgruntlement, disappointment, and humiliation. I learned a strong lesson about this industry the VERY hard way.
The last two NYFW seasons were AMAZING! I had no complaints really maybe because I had no expectations. I went into it with the same charismatic energy and let me tell you, I learned; baptism by fire. My most disappointing moment came at the moment I realized that “women supporting women” is conditional AF and worst of all, rings truest amongst skin folk. I am all for empowering the next woman beside me and I’m always ready to pour out whatever energy I have into fostering relationships with other women especially black women in the industry. During fashion week I realized that women empower the women they want to empower. It was a devastating reality. Scroll Down for More…
Let me go into more detail. Last NYFW I made acquaintance with an amazing fellow style blogger. We had a great time together, went to shows, shared ubers, brunched, and agreed to stay in relative touch. In my mind, we were cordial. Twice this NYFW I saw this blogger and went up to greet her in my usual friendly and warm energy and both times she was with other bloggers. The first time it was at an evening show Day 1 of NYFW and it was a bit awkward and I sensed a stand off ish attitude but I brushed it off as nothing. The 2nd time it happened was the following day outside a show when I received a VERY cold shoulder. In fact, I wanted to introduce her to another blogger gal pal of mine and we didn’t even get to that because of how quickly I was brushed off.
I was taken by surprise but before my gal pal and I could discuss, another CT blogger made her way into our circle to greet us with very high energy. Also, I peeped blogger extraordinaire Shalom Blac and went over to talk to her and she was so AMAZING! Such a great great person! A few moments later as we were walking away from the vicinity of the encounter, my gal pal and I got to unpack that stiff encounter. The conversation began with a request of a playback of how I know this blogger. I explained the brief relationship and as I was talking about it, I became increasingly upset and humiliated because to be frank, I had been snubbed. That was probably the most emotionally tense experience for me during NYFW and I believe it is because I didn’t see that kind of treatment coming from that particular person especially after our previous positive experiences last NYFW! It was a stiff lesson. And then I realized, it was just political. Yes, NYFW politics.
Specific to women empowerment, I attended Naturally Curly’s “Texture on the Runway” event Thursday evening.The actual show is always amazing and that goodie bag, is goals! However, what drew me back for the second year to this event is the feeling of being in a SAFE space since most of the curly haired women in that room are women of color like myself who are in the industry. What caught me off guard is how stiff people were in that space. I went with blogger extraordinaire Vonnette and her and I had a great time. We enjoyed the runway show with the other ladies who were in our vicinity. Following the show, Vonnette headed out and I was willing to remain behind and maybe get some networking in. Initially, I saw a couple of people I knew from brief in person encounters but per standard of this NYFW trip, talk was very minimal and shoulders were cold; well a damn arctic chill. People really stuck to themselves and their circle and it was perplexing especially because I had a magical time last year. I quickly called my Uber within minutes of feeling very alone and escaped with swiftness. This was so incredibly disappointing for me.
Lastly, I am a woman of my word. If I say I will be somewhere, I will make all efforts to be there. If I can not make it or if I am running behind time, I will immediately let the host or other attendees going that I am unable to make it. As stated before, I made plans this NYFW that just completely fell through multiple times. Lesson learned. “10 New York Fashion Week Lessons" read below…
Although after that paragraph I sound like a bitter puss, but overall I had a phenomenal time. Saturday and Sunday turned out to be amazing days and I just hung out with individuals who appreciated my company. I still met many new faces and also got to hang with AMAZING women like my girls Diane of @StyleContext and Yinka of @YoursTrulyYinka and new friends Star of @87pages and Tammy of @MybeautyJars. I really got awesome one on one time with Tammy and Star and we connected on so many levels. And of course, I got to hang with my CT girls Diane who I roomed with and Yinka who is my boo.
10 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK LESSONS:
1. Entertain people who want to entertain you.
2. Network your behind off. Make it worthwhile.
3. Plan ahead of time. Other than shows, look up blogger networking events, those are worth it.
4. Have a tribe or a NYFW partner. It really makes your life easier and just more fun and fulfilling.
5. Have thick skin. People can be vicious and not so nice, brush it off and keep it moving! Your time is precious and worthwhile.
6. Weigh out the pros and cons of attending. Is it fiscally responsible? What is the return? What are your goals for attending?
7. Connect with brands before hand and meet with them whilst at NYFW.
8. Create tons of content whilst enjoying every moment. Collaborate with other bloggers and photographers using platforms such as Facebook groups, twitter, Eventbrite, google, and of course, Instagram.
9. Collaborate on your style choices. This season was by far my best style season. I was styled by my bestie Armelle M.
10. Be flexible. There were several times when my schedule suddenly changed and I just rolled with the tide and still had an awesome time.
Finally, am I going back to NYFW next season???? When I was leaving this time around, I said absolutely not. However, after getting the opportunity to unpack some of this, I truly do not know. Only time will tell with how I’m feeling but at this moment, I am leaning toward a strong no for February. I certainly do not want you to think that I am not going due to some of my unfortunate circumstances, but mostly because as I move forward in life, I really am seeking financial independence. Overall, NYFW is an expensive endeavor and I want to make sound financial decisions going forward. Being newly married, you really start to analyze your finances and these student loans we have, no joke.
Thank you guys for bearing through such a LONG NYFW report. I actually have two other parts to NYFW coming and it’s all about style and how to get invited to shows. Until next time loves, big bisous!