Notes on Fashion Week

j.w. anderson ss15 london fashion week
J.W. Anderson Spring 2015, London Fashion Week

I’m highly irreligious about fashion week.

I like to know enough about what’s going on with the major players that I can listen to my fashion-literate friends geek out about the latest collection without feeling completely out of the loop, but my knowledge is grossly uneven. I suppose this is inevitable when you consider how many shows happen in all the major cities over the course of this month—much less over the course of a year—but still. (One day, an editor at my fashion internship asked me to do some trend research that required me clicking through all the fall menswear collections on Style.com in alphabetical order. I spent almost the entire day working on the project and only got to the “M” section. Needless to say, there’s no way that the average person is going to be able to look at every look of every collection every season).

Nonetheless, I often feel a bit guilty about my ignorance. I feel like there’s some sort of moral obligation to know what kind of work the biggest names are putting out there if I really want to participate in this crazy system we call the fashion industry. But on the other hand, I’m perpetually overwhelmed by the sheer number of shows. If I allow myself to look at some without looking at all, then I have to decide which ones to look at, and that’s complicated in itself. I want to form meaningful opinions on the most influential shows, which generally means being familiar with the biggest designers. But I also hate the idea of only looking at designers because the establishment already worships them, because I don’t want to miss the little guys or newcomers who might actually have more freedom to make honest work because they have nothing to lose yet.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014 Milan Fashion Week
Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015, Milan Fashion Week

On top of that, I often find that I don’t like who I want to like. For example, I have great appreciation for Miuccia Prada and Yohji Yamamoto as artists, but I rarely find myself wanting to wear their clothing. On the other hand, there are designers that I don’t have much respect for based on the conceptual aspect of their work, but I consistently find myself drooling over their shows (Dolce & Gabbana is a prime example in this regard). I want to like the artist who uses clothing as a way to engage important ideas, and instead I like the guys who are consistently dealing with accusations regarding their racism or chronic tax evasion, but who make really pretty clothes. This makes it hard to just look at the shows of designers I “like,” because my own likes are frequently in conflict depending on whether they’re driven by my intellect or my eyes.

What really ends up happening, then, is that one of my best friends texts me when certain designer’s collections go live online or sits down to click through certain shows with me, or I find out about other buzz-worthy shows via some of my preferred fashion news outlets. Other than that, I can be kinda ignorant.

And maybe that’s ok; maybe it isn’t. I’m still figuring out what I think it means to participate in capital-F Fashion meaningfully. Until then, though, I’m going to keep doing it this way—which means that anytime there’s new collection you’re obsessing over, please point me to it.

All photos via Style.com. For more images from shows I’ve loved, check out my Tumblr or Pinterest.

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