NYFW: My Wild Ride at the New York Fashion Week ‘19
Until this September I had never been to the New York Fashion Week. Actually, I had never been to any “Fashion Week” for that matter. While always having had an intense interest in NYFW, I realized that despite seeing it on TV here and there when certain programs would cover parts of it, reading some articles, looking at photos, I didn’t know what it was really like to be at such a legendary event. Not only as an emerging woman in the fashion industry, but as someone who has always dreamt of being there, that when I was invited to attend the latest New York Fashion Week it only took .07 nanoseconds for “YES!” to escape my lips. At least I hope that is what I said, in my excitement I may or may not have momentarily forgotten English, which is my second language, and let out a garbled nonsensical shriek, which anyone would know in any language translates to “HELL YEAH!” I collected myself and said “Have your people call my people and we’ll see if something can work...” I’m joking of course because I was probably already on the plane before they even finished inviting me. Who knows, it was all such a whirlwind. What I am certain of is that I am so thankful to have had this incredible opportunity and to now be able to share my experience with you!
Upon arrival I first observed that while there is a hierarchy at Fashion Week, but once you’re through the door, you have access to anyone, and they have access to you. I couldn’t contain my excitement or believe what I was seeing and who I was meeting. I had hoped to have a good time and just be able to meet people that worked in the fashion industry who I could learn from and connect with. But let’s keep it real okay, seeing celebrities is fun. It just is. Anyone who plays it off like it’s no big deal is full of it. It’s so much fun! Especially when they are people you admire and look up to. I thought perhaps if I spent the whole entire week there I’d get lucky and see one of these celebs at some point and maybe if I was super lucky I could actually meet and talk to one. I didn’t have high hopes. I’m proud of the work I am doing, the business I started, how much it has grown so soon, but still, I’ll be honest, I felt like a nobody. Compared to everyone around me, that sure seemed like the case. Even being here I thought there was no chance little o’ me could meet the people and make the connections I’d want to.
I have never been so wrong.
Right away I found myself face-to-face with hundreds of amazing people. Fashion legends, designers, models, celebrities, and the industry titans who decide what the world will soon consider beautiful. Two minutes in and next thing I know I bumped into Anna Wintour. Literally. She looked over at me and I probably went completely white. What had I done!? I’ve only just got in and I’m about to be kicked out! To my surprised she smiled sweetly and said “Hello there.” I’m not sure what language came out of me but I said something then started quickly walking away. Then there was Lais Ribeiro, the gorgeous Brazilian model known as a “Victoria’s Secret Angel”. Too shy to say anything intelligible I ducked away and found a place to sit down. I took a breath and asked myself “Self, what are you doing?” Then I said “Listen crazy pants, you are actually here at NYFW, yes there are famous folk everywhere. Get over it and have fun!” Then I thought “I talk to myself too much”. I ignored that and with a new sense of bravery, got back up, but couldn’t find Lais. Disappointed, I told myself “Mikhaela, you will engage in a conversation that consists of intelligible human language words with the "next person you meet". That next person was Courtney Quinn, a designer, influencer, and personaly a big inspiration to me. I introduced myself and she said, “I hear you’re the competition!"
(Courtney Quinn and I)
I was kinda freaked out by how nice my heroes were! It was all so much better than I thought it could be, yet, I felt so shy. I was having so much anxiety like how I used to when attending even my own trade shows back when I first started, and let me tell you, this here was on another level, another planet, another solar system, another galaxy! I also remembered what I would think about back then which always calmed me down and that is how lucky I am to be able to work in the field that I love and am passionate about. I have so far spent just four years in the United States and I barely spoke English when I first arrived and here I was, running my own business and attending the New York Fashion Week. I was grateful for this amazing opportunity to learn more about the field, meet new people, network and have fun. I wanted to make the most of it. So I did just that. It ended up being a great first day to marvelous trip.
SO WAIT A SEC, HOW AM I HERE?
“NYFW: The Experience”, which is what I was invited to take part in, offers VIP treatment and it blew my mind.
This all happened after I was invited to take part in a new service called “NYFW: The Experience”. Full disclaimer, I was invited to experience “The Experience” to then write about it and my time there. Obviously that is what I am doing right now. Why they asked me of all people to do this I can’t rightfully say, but hey, I’m not looking no fashionable gift horse like this in the mouth! Also, writing things like this are a lot of fun! I was honestly a little nervous going into this as it’s something new for me and I assumed the purpose of writing about it was simply to entice others to attend, and I didn’t want to be part of an advertisement. That being said, I was asked to simply share my time there however I wanted. Afterwards I was relieved when I knew I could write this: The “experience” blew my mind balls!
Now for the bragging! I didn’t have to wait in lines for the shows and had guaranteed reserved seating and behind the scenes tours! There were staff members beside me all the time to assist and take pictures for me!
(With Nicole Krasnov of Endeavor Experience)
(Starting the night)
Hanging out in the Skybox VIP lounge on the 6th floor was such a treat, sipping champagne from the open bar, enjoying hors d'oeuvre and gourmet food while watching the rehearsal pre-shows. I had my make-up done by their in house make-up artist and my own personal hairstylist who was sponsored by Tresemme. Speaking of, I’d like to give a big shout-out to Shanda who’s been doing my hair the entire time and managing those stubborn tresses. I sat back relaxing as she worked on my hair thinking: “I could get used to all this!” There were photo opportunities on the runway, showroom visits, and the true highlight for me: meet and greets with designers! I got to watch Q&As with fashion insiders.
(The make-up and hair retouch area)
Jeremy Scott – Spring Studios
Scott is known for his eccentric designs and power forward edgy look. For this season he did not disappoint. He brought the 80’s punk look back for his Spring collection 2020. Talk about retro revival! Everyone was going nuts about it but I personally enjoyed how it was full of such rich colors. I got the sense that he is really having fun and enjoying his work and I liked that.
(Candice Swanopoel walking for Jeremy Scott)
Bevza – Spring Studios
A new leading Ukrainian brand whose designer invented the “white dress concept”, which has become well known and the most essential element of their label. Bevza explores the color white and it embodies their minimalistic approach and attitude. The designer, Svetlana Bevza, is a finalist of “Vogue Talents International Contest” held by Vogue in Italy in 2014. I learned he is also the winner of "Best Women’s Wear Designer of 2013" award at the “Best Fashion Awards”. Svetlana is famous with her minimalistic style and is considered one of the most significant designers of Ukraine.
Kate Spade – Elizabeth Street Garden
Located in Elizabeth Street Garden, Kate Spade was the only show I attended that was off site. The area was designed to have a very cozy yet spring like vibe with an abundance of pink motif. Designer Nicola Glass offered up a take with a refreshing mix of models and non-models, which made me happy, and they all wore her designs with ease. It felt less like the traditional fashion show and more a gathering of women just having a grand ole’ time adoring fashion. Contrary to that, they were quite strict and no cameras were allowed during the show. Which on one hand I respect, but on another just think is also annoying and kinda pretentious. It drove me crazy because I just wanted to snap pics of all the awesomeness that was going on around me. It will take a lot of intense therapy but someday I’ll get through it.
Nicole Miller – Spring Studios
This was one of my favorite shows for many reasons. First off I felt really connected to it as her designs are more my style of what I wear. For the Spring 2020 her design inspiration came from a trip to Tokyo. It’s to no surprise that there is a lot of Japanese influence and culture incorporated in the new collection she released. I loved that and I also found it interesting how she also added bit of a French touch here and there which made every piece unique in my opinion. It was evident that Nicole maintains a connection between her old and new designs to keep hold of her trademark. This is very tricky but she still managed to pull off the “old meets new” concept.
(Meeting Nicole Miller, my fairy god mother 🧚🏻♀️)
I had the opportunity to interview Nicole and found her very friendly and approachable. She was down to answer every question I asked. I was also pleasantly surprised that she seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me and my little jewelry line. She provided advice about how to make it in this business, the importance of patience, strong guts, thick skin, and the most vital aspect of maintaining relevance in a crowded and ever changing market. Her time and words was so meaningful and spoke volumes to me. Thank you so much Nicole Miller for the support! Meeting you there was one of the best things that happened to me! I know you are reading this, obviously.
Prabal Gurung – Spring Studios
(Lais Ribeiro walking for Prabal Gurung)
It is Prabal’s 10 year anniversary so it was an extra special show. The whole line he created is also something I can see myself wearing. It’s a mixture of beautiful colors and textures. The theme of the event was a love letter to all American Immigrants and being a recent one myself, it really left a mark on me. I was pleased to see the audience all responded very positively. The models were of very diverse races and nationalities each accessorized with "Who gets to be American?" sash. The show’s message went straight to the heart. Watching the runway show gave me chills. The set up, vibe and message behind it all made the show spectacular.
Prabal made a fashion statement, literally, with his NYFW spring-summer 2020 collection. Everything was brilliantly made and appears to hold a deep meaning. At a time of such immense political upheaval in the country, I would have been surprised for fashion not to reflect on the turbulence. Gurung, who's no stranger to political statements on the runway, didn't just slap a catchy slogan on a T-shirt and call it a day. Instead, his entire collection—from the colors to the prints and fabrics—re-examined and dissected the roots of American identity. Kudos, Prabal, kudos.
“STROKE OF MIDNIGHT”:
(Bidding Goodbye to NYFW)
The trip came to its dreaded but inevitable end. I felt like Cinderella changing out of all the fashionable clothes and back into my normal wear. But being back into my favorite comfy hoodie, leggings and rubber shoes was comforting and a relief in many ways. It was fun being able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Sure, leaving behind the VIP treatments was hard, but having all the the trendy exclusive accessories from the gift bags certainly helped. I sat back and relaxed in my comfortable “me” clothes while flying back to Los Angeles reflecting on a beautiful and memorable week.
Fashion week is a wild event. I can’t say it will be for everyone. But for those who are interested in this world and or enjoy living like royalty for a week, I’d highly recommend it. It is certainly luxurious but also very hectic with tight schedules to make the shows and events. If going, I’d suggest you do some research on what you want to see and do, prioritizing the most important, and prepare yourself accordingly otherwise it could be overwhelming. Also bring comfy shoes. Suffer for fashion all you want, but let me just say the glitz, glamour, perks treatments are not quite as fun when your feet are sore and aching from running around all day. After I figured things out the first day, I had so much fun! I’d do it again in a heartbeat but “NYFW: The Experience” is not cheap. For those who can afford it or are willing to shell out the green, it will be a memorable and enchanting experience. Yes, I really do want to go back, but I need either my business to reach the next level or I need get invited again to write some more!
All and all, what I loved the most was to be able to see behind the whole glitz and glamour to all the hard work, time, labor and talent that goes into the shows and art of the fashion world and there is no better opportunity to see this than NYFW. After the first day, once I decided to let loose, dress up, express myself, make new friends, socialize and enjoy the shows and the talent, it became a memorable experience of a lifetime.
Lean more about “NYFW: The Experience” at www.nyfwexperience.com
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