Discover the transformation of Fashion Week from a centralized hierarchy to a decentralized ecosystem, welcoming diverse creators and job titles. Explore the evolution of entry criteria, the use of Web3 technology, and the quest to capture and reward contributions in the influential fashion industry.
From Exclusive Enclave to Inclusive Innovation: Inside the New Era of Fashion Week's Decentralized Landscape
Over a decade ago, I embarked on a five-hour Megabus journey from Washington DC to New York City, eagerly anticipating my inaugural experience at fashion week. Regrettably, our progress was impeded upon reaching the Lincoln Tunnel, ensnared in the clutches of relentless traffic. Consequently, I arrived tardily at a networking event hosted by a prestigious luxury watch brand at The Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side. Representing a political lifestyle magazine as an intern from the digital media department, uncertainty loomed over me, unsure of who would be in attendance and what I would have in common with them - of course fashion. As a fledgling fashion journalist, I dreamt of building a network of designers, models, buyers, and industry professionals I could reference or call on to natural mode my own ecosystem.
After checking-in my belongings at the reception and expeditiously freshening up in the hotel lobby's powder room, I made my way to one of the Penthouses, prepared to mingle with unfamiliar faces. Clad in a leather skirt, a sleek black turtleneck, and a fur coat that was gifted to me as a Christmas gift that season, I assumed I would be dressed enough for the occasion. Nevertheless, I remained uncertain about maneuvering through this realm of boundless style and passion, flowing with an array of impeccably chic editors and UES socialites.
In the bygone era of 2009, fashion week operated under a centralized hierarchy, traditionally sponsored by Mercedes Benz and staged within the iconic Lincoln Center tents. Solely designers, publicists, journalists, and buyers were bestowed with exclusive invitations. The advent of bloggers attending such prestigious affairs was met with an ambience of skepticism, as the media landscape experienced a momentous shift from print to the digital realm. Ascending to the echelons of this elite clique proved no easy task, as securing entry to fashion week necessitated more than a simple application for a media pass and a coveted seat in the coveted front row. In those days, attending fashion week meant you had to schmooze and network your way in. Once there, the perks of attending even a single show were never-ending - opulent gift bags, teeming with makeup, fragrance, and USB flash drives, could be meticulously arranged upon one's designated seat. Nowadays, you’d be lucky enough to get a seat assignment as an editor.
TL;DR Timeline of NYFW:
Today, NYFW remains a prominent event in the fashion industry, showcasing the latest designs and trends with a focus on US-based designers.
But aside from the perks, to procure an invitation as a member of the media or an official attendee, prospective individuals had to fulfill certain prerequisites, encompassing the following:
- Submitting an application to a press agency, accompanied by a letter of intent from their affiliated publication.
- Serving as a high-end customer of a prominent brand.
- Occupying a buyer role for a reputable retail establishment.
- Being an employee or intern within the fashion industry.
- Extending an invitation to a celebrity guest.
Once any of these conditions were met, someone on the other side had to verify that you were actually going to add value to the designer’s showcase. Afterall, fashion shows aren’t just awareness play, they are a huge line time investment to sell the clothes to department stores and VIP clientele. Back then, my job as a writer was to deliver the best coverage to the website or print magazine I was working with to get invited back!
Presently, Fashion Week has undergone a profound metamorphosis of influence, as an influx of creators and individuals boasting an array of newly minted job titles have been welcomed into the folds of the global fashion community. The notion of a centralized "fashion week entity" has been irrevocably shattered. There’s now a multitude of distinct entities that have emerged, empowering individuals to shape their own idiosyncratic experiences - from Harlem Fashion Row experience, to sustainable fashion week festivals that have all built up their own brand news. And if you're not a designer or media professional, there is an even an avenue to buy tickets to New York fashion week shows and afterparties.
Anyone can participant in fashion week as a :
...and other creative titles yet to be discovered.
The fashion community and the people who make up Fashion Week have naturally embraced decentralized fashion. This evolution of business presents novel avenues to harness this effervescent energy by building tools and software that foster an authentic sense of community while helping other newcomers discover who’s who in the industry, as well as help the flock distribute their talents, designs and businesses. Violet Verse is excited to deploy Web3 technology to document, forecast, and provide a semblance of organization for an industry whose influence reverberates far beyond the confines of the runway.
Within the realm of fashion, creatures of diverse sizes and shapes find their place and make it home. Some don multiple hats, while others adopt a more singular focus that brings them joy and shelter. Our objective is to capture the contributions of each individual, ensuring they are seen, heard and rewarded in a modern way.