The Devil Wears Prada lives behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week

The Empire Hotel was located across from Lincoln Center, where fashion week was held. I don’t know what the hotel looked like during the usual week, but during the fashion week it was a scene. Every blogger and his or her entire team have turned their hotel rooms into locker rooms, hair and makeup suites, and even production centers. E! The news recorded its coverage of Fashion Week from the roof of the Empire. It was the center of Fashion Week. And the pedestrian crossing that led to Lincoln Center was a place for “walks” – how, when and with whom those present came to fashion shows during Fashion Week and later returned to the streets.

No one really talks about it or admits it, but there was nothing accidental or spontaneous about the walk, and that was true long before bloggers even existed. For years, editors and other fashion industry titans have been planning their clothes, arrival time, and even with whom they entered the show weeks in advance, all so that street photographers waiting in front of the show could capture it with a camera. .

Before blogging, these photos would appear in Sunday Timesfuture numbers Vogue, Vanity Fair, and other fashion magazines, setting trends for the upcoming season as well as the items themselves that appear on the runway. By 2015, bloggers were a big part of the equation. The fashion photographers who filmed the show also filmed us as we arrived. In addition, we often hired our own photographers and posted these images on our social networks and blogs, leaving an even greater and more immediate impact than most official fashion reports in newspapers and magazines. Some bloggers have even hired their photographers to act as street style photographers off the show, just to cause confusion. A flood of photographers would inevitably follow the example of these hired weapons, resulting in even more photos of the bloggers who hired them.

When only fashion magazines were supposed to present these images, it was at the discretion of the editors. We’ve all seen it The devil wears prada, Is not it? That person has chosen which photos of which clothing combinations according to which label they will present to the public. When readers bought items they saw in magazines, it led stores to buy more of these items and brands to create them. More affordable brands often followed, making similar but cheaper versions of these items for the general population. This caused a huge downstream effect on the whole industry and so the trends usually started. Therefore, these editors had disproportionately great power over the entire industry.

Blogging has changed all that. Nobody told us what to publish. There were no goalkeepers between us and our readers. The images we decided to share came directly to the eyes of our readers. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they made purchasing decisions based on what we published, which means we had a direct impact on the industry in the same way that magazines once did.

The editors, of course, hated this. There have been so many articles written around that time in which bloggers are furious and saying we have no place in fashion shows. I have to admit, there were times when I myself questioned our value. But with time and selling shit out of the clothes designers wore to fashion shows, we finally proved ourselves. The editors hated us though.

Our influence intensified when bloggers decided to work together. Think about it. If one blogger shared her image of entering a fashion week show in a particular outfit, only her followers would see it. But if two popular bloggers were photographed together in a seemingly random but well-matched suit and both shared those images, they were seen by twice as many eyes. Potentially twice as many people would choose what to buy and wear accordingly, but only if we worked with another blogger who had about the same number of followers as us. So it often seemed that who we were seen going in and out of shows was just as important as what we wore and which shows we were going to start with.

With all of us staying in the Empire, it was easy to send a message to a friend and say, “I’m going downstairs in five; let’s meet in the lobby,” or go into someone’s room to see what he’s wearing and wear an item of the same color. In this way, you have become the whole trend that you are entering the show together.

One small example of this is a simple wooden basket bag from Cult Gaia. When the bag first appeared on the market, it did not make a big impact. But when several bloggers (including yours really) discovered the bag and took photos together as they carried it, it became the “it” bag that girls everywhere suddenly wanted. The industry has followed, and now there are similar wooden bags available at all prices, starting at $ 20.

I’m not trying to exaggerate my importance or the importance of blogging at all. After all, we’re just a bunch of girls jumping around the world and taking frivolous selfies. But fashion week has always been about anticipating and reporting on trends. What bloggers like me were doing at the time called into question who exactly was setting those trends. Were they fashion houses, magazine editors or bloggers? If women changed their shopping habits based on what they saw bloggers wear in shows as much (or more) than was actually presented on the runway, it meant we were real players in the industry with real power.

Even great fashion photographers have recorded and photographed fashion bloggers entering and exiting fashion shows. I will never forget the infamous day New York Times Street style photographer, Bill Cunningham, was the first to take my picture. I called my husband Grant and said, “Guess who just took my photo?”

He immediately replied, “Bill.” Even Grant knew Bill’s name; it was a big deal.

Of course, this influence came with the dark side. When it seems that it is really important how you look, what you wear and when you walk, the situation is ripe for the flourishing of pettiness and competition. For years I found myself under the impact of this.

For a long time, I had fewer followers than other bloggers who were considered at my level. My readers were loyal and my conversion rate was high (meaning that my followers often bought items I posted about), but all everyone saw when they clicked on my Instagram was my follower number. So it took me a long time to be among the few selected bloggers who planned to get in and out of the event together. It seems trivial, who you entered the fashion show with really influenced the trajectory of your career.

When I started, I told the brands that I was happy to be able to stand behind, and I thought so. As my career progressed, I was terribly grateful to have found myself advancing line by line at exhibitions. I bit my tongue when the popular blogger came in with her assistant, publicist and the whole team, stood with her back to me, and then asked me to go back to the second row so she could take my hard-earned place when the show started. I bit him again when I was in front of a long queue for a small elevator after the show and that same blogger approached me from the back of the queue and acted like my best friend, chatting with me until the moment the elevator door opened and she and her whole team ran inside, leaving no room for me inside. I realized that this is part of the song and dance industry. If I wanted to be a part of it, I had to play together. But some of these little things hurt more than others.

This is an excerpt from I like the return: The journey of an influential man from self-doubt to self-acceptance (Park Row, June 7, 2022), available for purchase here or wherever books are sold.

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