This month’s New York Fashion Week is not for the faint of heart. For one, the high temperature in the city hovered between 5 and 15 degrees this week, which meant that the only place that I really wanted to be was at home in yoga pants, Uggs and sipping on some hot tea.

Yet, Fashion Week brings out the crazy, the committed, the creative and safe to say, the stubborn, folks of this world.

Here’s a peek into all of the above:

It’s 10 degrees outside currently, and I’m headed to my first show for this season’s New York Fashion Week. Being that it’s disgustingly cold outside, the last thing I want to do is leave my warm apartment. But my love of creativity and fashion pushes me fervently out the door.

Although the streets are filled with black ice and I would be much safer (and warmer) in snow boots and puffer jacket, I tentatively walk through the streets in my three inch heels, leather pants, and cute (but not warm) jacket. Three quarters of a mile’s walk and two trains later, I arrive at Milk Studio to sign in for the Marissa Webb show.

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The show starts at 3:00p.m. and it’s 2:45p.m. Shows never start on time, and there are always lines to get in, so I try not to show up too early.  Even so, I head into the line and wait for 30 minutes. The line is packed with fashionable ladies wearing ridiculous clothes, considering we are in the land of the arctic tundra at the moment. Hardly anyone is talking. Most girls are on their phones ferociously scrolling through social media feeds or ‘pretending’ to write a very important email. I stand there with a smile and a hello for anyone who looks up, and am wondering why on earth we are all waiting in this line. Is it even worth it?

Finally at 3:15p.m. they let us climb several flights of stairs before being checked again to ensure we have our tickets, and are ushered to our seats.

The runway is covered in plastic and there is a swirl of energy throughout the room. The photographers pit is exploding with photographers and ladies file in, give cheek kisses to friends, and anxiously find their seats. Then, we all just wait.

You know the show is about to start when security peels the plastic off of the perfectly white runway. And completely slippery, I might add. I always feel so scared for the models because I know I would fall flat on my face tromping down that runway in stiletto heels.

The lights go black and someone from the pit yells for the ladies in the front row to uncross their legs. This happens at every show, because if legs are crossed then pointy heels are on the edges of all the photographers pictures. (I know because I’ve shot runway over a dozen times and have had the pleasure of photo-shopping out those expensive, yet very annoying, shoes).

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All of a sudden the stage lights go up, music blasts, and the first model walks down the runway.

It’s magical and fast paced.

The camera shutters click rhythmically and like a choreographed dance, with each new look bloggers and editors hold up their phones to try and get the perfect shot for Instagram.

Most of the time — in less than ten minutes — the show is over, and before you can take a breath the room is in chaos again. Everyone runs out like they’re escaping a fire to catch the next show.

I sit in my seat quietly packing up my camera while there is a hurricane of movement around me, and even though I have been a part of Fashion Week for six years now, I wonder, is the madness really worth it?

Why does this matter?

Why do I still come back season after season?

And I realize that I don’t come because of the shows. I come because of what the shows represent. They represent commitment. They reveal that no matter if a designer feels uninspired, unmotivated, tired, or frustrated, her discipline wills her to create.

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Season after season, the creative creates. These designers, their teams, hair and make-up artists, photographers, models, and stylists are some of the most hard working people I have encountered. They are out of their mind committed to creating art with persistence and excellence. And those people are inspiring.  Those are the types of people I want to be around.

You see, the big moment isn’t the show; it’s the midnight runs to the fabric store, the last minute manicure for the model that was late, it’s the sketches on the 7:00a.m. subway of a jacket for next season six months before the show.

… the big moment isn’t the show … it’s the sketches on the 7:00a.m. subway of a jacket for next season six months before the show.

The same with athletes and anyone, really, who is committed to excellence in their craft. The big moment for the Olympian really isn’t the gold medal; it’s the 5:00a.m. workouts, the eating healthy when no one else around, it’s the showing up and giving her all at practice when the only place she wants to be is in bed.

So, Fashion Week for me is so much more than fashion. It’s a twice a year reminder of what it looks like to create day in and day out. It challenges me to hone in on my craft, too. To be excellent is to be disciplined and to intentionally, moment by moment, make movement towards my goals. No one else is going to go do that for me.

Fashion Week matters because each person is a part of the craziness, running around in below zero weather, committed like crazy to creating. Creative people create with resolve and purpose. They call forth excellence from anyone they come in contact with.

I don’t know about you, but I think those are the types of people that are going to do big things in their lives and in this world.

What inspires you to keep creating?

Images via Kat Harris 

6 comments

  1. I was just working a post for my own blog on Wanderlust and Lipstick, asking a similar question. Why should we care about fashion?

    I liked your conclusion: that it’s a commitment to creative excellence.

    I think fashion matters also—from the consumer end of things—because it is one of the most powerful ways we communicate who we are to the people around us—and how much we care (about both ourselves and the situations we immerse ourselves in).

  2. Love this, Kat. This kind of discipline is so hard to grow but it keeps me going (and writing) too. And moments like these remind us why we do it! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is perfect. It’s too easy to get caught up in the surface level elements of NYFW. The pretty clothes, pretty women…comparing yourself to everyone else. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about looking forward to the future and seeing just the tiniest bit of the process. To create everyday the way those designers do would be exhausting. And yet every year, they all pull it off. My hats off to all those creatives at NYFW.

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