This season, like so many before, I joined in the phenomenon that is London Fashion Week. As always, I was eager to get down to the Strand to shoot street style and I was even lucky enough to have scored some tickets to see some collections thanks to a generous friend of mine.
It was a beautiful sunny day, the best weather I’ve ever experienced during London Fashion Week actually having spent many a season running from show to show in the pouring rain. For once I actually liked my entire outfit and felt comfortable having sensibly selected some beautiful lace up ASOS shoes over my usual heels. For all intents and purposes it had been my smoothest LFW to date and yet, fast forward a few hours and as I stood in a room overlooking the beautiful twinkling London skyline, surrounded by majestic models and fabulous fashionistas kitted out in their couture clober, complimentary cocktail in hand, it was then that I told myself, ‘I am never doing this again’.
For me fashion week has lost most of its allure. The truth is that it’s all seems a bit forced. Once upon a time I would have given my right arm for the chance to possess one of those magic black neck passes that let’s you sit amongst the ‘cool crowd’ in front of the catwalks. There are times like this season when I vlogged that I had a great time. Having done it a few times though, I can tell you that it just ain’t always all that. Sure, celebrity spotting provides short lived fun, albeit a flashing glimpse as they’re always in a harried hurry to get from show to show.
The runway shows, where let’s face it, the real excitement and exclusivity lie, are reserved for the celebrities, fashion writers, megabloggers and, in my case, ‘Social-Media-Managers-working-for-company-whose-invester-just-happens-to-be-on-the-British-Fashion-Council-and-has-a-spare-pass’ of the world. Really, where’s the fun in that? Do I really care what prints Balmain is planning for this AW17 collection? Nope. Never going to be able to afford it anyway, beautiful as they may be. I could lie and say that the catwalk collections still inspire my everyday dressing but the truth is that the outfits are usually either so beautifully unique (or outrageously outlandish) in their design that I can’t draw any imitatable inspiration either way. Yes, the excitement before a show is electrifying but it’s all over in a flash and before you know it you’re turfed back out into the real world where Olivia Palermo still don’t know your name despite having been within touching distance mere moments ago.
Sure, there are the fringe Fashion Week events, pop up shops and presentations for us common folk. Usually these kind of places are where I’d shoot a lot of street style but even those this year felt too self aware. For every genuine fashion appreciater I saw, there were ten posers trying to look aloof yet photo ready at the same time as they gazed wistfully in the distance. Oi mate, you can’t look effortless in a fauxhawk, platforms and a pink PVC trench coat. It just doesn’t work.
I can’t claim to be totally innocent in all this too. When considering the inevitable upheaval that fashion week brings, I console myself by saying, ‘well at the very least I might be able to hand out some blog cards’. So I make sure that I wear something fantastically perfectly photogenic, just in case. This season, it was only when I spoke to a new acquaintance, Ben, who was attending for the first time that I realised I think I’ve exhausted Fashion Week for a while. As we marched past Nicola Roberts (of Girls Aloud ilk) and he excitedly squalked, ‘I just feel so out of place walking amongst all these fabulous people!’, I realised that, much like Wendy in Peter Pan, I had lost that wondrous innocent eye that I had the first few times I attended.
You may think that one reason I’ve gone off Fashion Week is that I could be jealous of the premium perks that established influencers enjoy. The expensive outfits, the personal chauffeur, luxury travel, 5 star hotel stays, and of course the full ‘frow’ treatment but it’s not that I promise you. I fully understand how actually the pressure surrounding the global Fashion Weeks must be a lot for an established blogger. I find it stressful enough going just for ‘fun’ now and working out where I want to be and when etc so I couldn’t imagine having the added pressure of having a strict schedule, lots of brands expecting coverage, multiple outfit changes, traipsing through the crowds (usually in six inch heels – ouch!) and trying to fit in breathtaking ‘candid’ blog photos, all whilst having to look amazing.
That’s sort of what adds to my feeling of being ‘over’ the whole thing though. When I see glossy photos of bloggers beaming as they stride stylishly through the streets of London in Louboutins all I can think is, ‘how many times did you have to walk up and down to get that shot?’. How badly their feet must hurt! How we know that there are a pair of comfy old Uggs in the Uber she’s had booked out all day but – god forbid we should see that! So when I returned from this season’s shows with a nearly empty memory card and an emptier feeling in my stomach I decided I would still write an honest post about my time at Fashion Week. It just wouldn’t be the post I had planned.
This post is certainly not meant to belittle those who still love Fashion Week so I hope it hasn’t caused offence. Who knows, this time next year I may be suffering from withdrawals and find myself gearing up to do it all again but since I didn’t have the best experience this year I thought I’d share it with everyone who feels like they’re missing out. Sometimes it just ain’t all that. For those who still love Fashion Week and go just for the sheer love of style spotting and being around other people who love fashion, I salute you. I wish I was you! And I hope to be you again in a few seasons’ time but for now I’m gonna leave Fashion Week to the Kendall Jenners and the Bens of the world and sit the next one out.
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x