Indiana has had a great influence on fashion. People here care about style but they’re not too quick to adopt everything New York throws at them.
I was still sitting in front of the computer yesterday morning when something came across my Facebook newsfeed that made me smile. Not a meme nor a picture from the past, it was a status update from designer Marlene Thomas, leaving Fort Wayne for New York. For a brief moment, I almost wished that I was going to New York as well. Watching NYFW from Indiana has some challenges that are often frustrating, especially this season when the spectacle has ramped up a bit. If I don’t stop to think about the chaos and confusion that is hitting Manhattan this morning, I’m tempted to actually miss being there.
Then, I come to my senses. While being at NYFW and the other big four fashion weeks was exciting enough back when I was 30, today it would be exhausting and perhaps even a bit torturous. All the walking. All the security checks. You can take your camera here but you can’t take it there. Where’s my town car? Nevermind, I’ll take the subway. How am I supposed to get across town in 15 minutes? The pastries before that last show aren’t setting well with my stomach.
There are advantages to staying in Indiana and watching NYFW from here. The Internet makes a lot of things possible that we couldn’t have dreamed twenty-five years ago. Still, if you’re going to do this with me, there are some things you really need to know before we start. Pay attention.
Hashtags Are Everything
Want to know what’s really going on and what’s really hot? Watch the hashtags for changing trends. Almost every designer, at least those whose PR teams are on top of things, has their own hashtag for their show. When a hashtag takes off and starts trending we have our first clue that the brand has achieved a level of popularity and is worth watching. That’s not to say that less-popular brands with less-popular hashtags should be dismissed, but the power of the hashtag has become a dominant part of fashion PR.
Sitting here in Indiana, we don’t feel the power of the hashtag quite so much. In fact, there are still a lot of people in Indiana, especially those of us over 40, who don’t really understand the whole hashtag thing and how it works. For those whose minds still think old-school, a hashtag is like a brightly colored marker stuck in the middle of a card catalog. In a mind-numbing sea of excess information, hashtags not only allow us to find specific information faster, but to group information quickly on a given topic by searching for that hashtag. The more people use your hashtag, the more markers are placed in that sea of information.
Business of Fashion even ran an op-ed piece yesterday declaring that fashion has hashtag cults. Calling the obsession with hashtags a cult might be a bit over-the-top, but the basic premise of the article is correct: hashtags are everything in fashion and the only way to keep up-to-the-moment the next four weeks is to follow those hashtags religiously.
Start Your Social Media Engines
I am not sure how we ever surfed the Internet in the days before browsers allowed users to have multiple tabs open. I’m sitting here with 14 of them open now and I haven’t even started pulling up all the social media sites I know I’m going to need to get through the day. In addition to social media, there are a plethora of fashion magazines and blogs that are worth watching this week more than normal. I try to keep them sorted from left to right across my monitor in order of relevance. Sometimes that approach almost works.
Following the schedule on NYFW.com is the logical starting point. Be very much aware, however, that the listing there is incomplete and only contains the presentations showing at official NYFW venues. If you want a more complete listing, you’ll want to take a look at Fashion Week Online. Even that list doesn’t have everything, though, and times are definitely subject to change. For example, Marc Jacobs is still listed as showing at 6:00 PM, which is his traditional timeslot. He’s not. He’s moved his show up to 2:00 PM. Be careful and double check the designer’s website and/or social media feeds.
Speaking of social media, you need them all. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are must-haves. If you don’t have accounts on all four, get busy. You’ll have to follow your favorite designers on every platform possible. There’s no way to know which designer is going to favor a specific platform. Set alerts for the designers you care about and keep everything open.
The Indiana Connection
Anyone can show in New York who has the money to pull off a show. Each season, I have someone contact me who is all excited about their show in New York. I go to check the official schedule, though, and they’re not present. Sorry, kids, if you’re not on the office NYFW schedule it doesn’t count.
This season is different, though. I was excited when I got the message from Indiana-based designer Marlene Thomas that her Marlene H Couture collection is on the schedule for Thursday at noon. Okay, so that puts her up against Creatures of the Wind which is a favorite of the fashion editors. Still, she’s actually there and she’s in a prime spot on the first day’s schedule! How incredibly awesome is that? Marlene is showing at 404 NYC, conveniently located at 404 10th Ave. The space is fantastic and I’ve no doubt she’ll fill it wonderfully.
In addition to Ms. Thomas’ presence in New York, Indianapolis-based LModelz is sending at least six models (possibly more) to walk in various shows. Of course, models don’t wear signs telling us where they’re from and by the time they get through hair and makeup it can be difficult to tell who’s who. Still, we should be proud that Indiana is so very well represented at NYFW this season!
All The Reviews
Watching all the shows is impossible. Catching all the streams and Instagram feeds is impossible. Even major magazines who can deploy multiple staff members don’t manage to cover everything. That’s why we write reviews. We cull through all the clutter and do our best to cover the shows that matter. For the sixth season, we’ll be posting all our reviews on Pattern at least twice a day, more if I can manage the time. No, it’s not real time, especially when we move away from New York and are trying to cover shows at 2:00 in the morning. We are expecting some incredible shows over the next four weeks and do our best to catch all the important moments.
Let’s be honest, Indiana is never going to be a fashion capital. Fashion doesn’t need nor want any more capitals. Indiana is a strong fashion participant, though, and there are a lot of people here who are eye-ball deep in the stuff. Therefore, it makes sense to give NYFW an Indiana perspective. We’ve made a lot of progress here in the past ten or so years. I think there are probably a half-dozen or so designers who have what it takes to follow Marlene’s lead and jump onto the official schedule. I see more people actually paying attention to what they’re wearing.
Watching NYFW from Indiana isn’t the same as being there in person, but it does have its perks. Grab a cup of coffee and a piece of sugar cream pie and follow along. Oh, and should you happen to want to send over a dozen donuts or so, I won’t complain.