Don’t learn to do, but learn in doing. Let your falls not be on a prepared ground, but let them be bona fide falls in the rough and tumble of the world.—Samuel Butler
The first day of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is behind us and it has already been unusual in that this may well be the roughest start to the week that I’ve ever experienced. Had we had some of these problems last season, when the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) first took hold of the management from BMG, I might have understood. Last season, however, was a cakewalk compared to what we saw today.
Let’s start with the home base, nyfw.com. For those who are not CFDA members, this is where you go to find the official schedule for all the shows conducted at any of the three official sites. Designers pay a tremendous amount of money to show at these sites, and given that there are a limited number of times at which one can show, establishing a space early is requisite. Most experienced designers keep their space from one season to another. For example, Nicholas K has been the first show at 9:00 AM on Thursday for the past several years, followed by BCBGMAXAZRIA. Once you have your time slot secured, then you can begin planning the show.
This season, however, the first day’s schedule was rear-ended by a bully of a rapper who thinks that all his money and media pull means that he doesn’t have to play by anyone else’s rules. So, when he decided, at the last possible minute, that he wanted to do a fashion show today, he just chose a time and a place and began selling tickets. He didn’t consider who else he might be trampling in his wake. This jackass doesn’t care who he tramples. He cares for no one nor nothing but his own over-sized and obnoxious ego. I never have understood his appeal in the first place and one can be damn sure that were I in charge of a major publication I would issue a moratorium on even mentioning his name, nor that of his extended family, who are also glory-seeking jackasses with no shred of talent.
When the Jackass scheduled his show, he forced two others, Marissa Webb and Adam Selman, both experienced and respected designers, to move from their timeslots. Marissa moved her show to an earlier timeslot, 3PM, while Adam opted for later, at 6 PM. Adam was not showing in one of the official spaces, though, so the impact for him was somewhat less. For Marissa, it created a logistical nightmare. The CFDA tries to not have two shows streaming at the same time from their facilities, but when Marissa moved her show to 3, that put it at the same time as Desigual, which is a very different style and very different audience from Marissa’s. The end result was chaos. Photographers didn’t know where to go. Ticket holders were confused. And then, even the streaming feed messed up. Anyone thinking they would stream Ms. Webb’s show got the Desigual show instead.
This isn’t the only problem going on with the website. Previous seasons, shows have streamed directly on the website itself, which works for a majority of people. This season, however, someone decided that they needed to push greater use of the NYFW app, so live streams only happen on the app. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, I suppose, if my phone had the same 36-inch diagonal screen my PC does. It doesn’t, and neither does anyone else’s. The best one can hope for is a decent sized tablet, which isn’t going to be more than 13-inches diagonal. Good luck getting a feel for the environment or picking up on any level of detail.
Another issue with the website is that some brilliant person decided to post multiple shows, set for autoplay, in a slider at the top of the page. End result: all the videos start at the same time, creating a cacophony that ensures a headache in a matter of seconds. One can’t stand to watch one of the delayed shows because of the sound from another playing over it.
The shifting schedules seemed to play especially hard on contract photographers, several of whom were covering NYFW for the first time. Those whose instructions hadn’t been updated in the past week, and there were several that weren’t, were showing up late or not at all to some shows, early and bewildered for others.
Finally, the bully’s show lets out right smack in the middle of rush hour. The official NYFW schedule actually skips the 5PM time slot because trying to get people back and forth during rush hour puts a strain on an already impossible traffic system. Of course, the jackass with the ego doesn’t care, does he? He only thinks about himself, not the danger he’s creating for everyone else in the vicinity.
CFDA could have stopped this. They could have, and should have, grown a spine and told the bully no. If he doesn’t get on the schedule on time, he doesn’t belong on it at all. And no, he doesn’t belong on the fashion week schedule BECAUSE HE’S NOT A FUCKING DESIGNER! Everyone knows he’s not a designer. He’s simply a rich son-of-a-bitch who bullies his way into situations where he’s not needed nor welcome.
I know there were some hiccups getting started last season, but good grief, this rough start is among the worst I’ve seen. Hopefully, someone gets their act together overnight and we see a return of calm tomorrow. Otherwise, designers are going to start looking for other alternatives to NYFW and I can’t blame them one bit if they leave.