What Fashion Month Looks like in the Age of Instagram

What Fashion Month Looks like in the Age of Instagram

You’ve seen it everywhere. Bella Hadid or Kaia Gerber snapping selfies in their runways looks. Vogue’s fancy 5 minute makeup tutorials with models like Winnie Harlow or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And we can’t forget Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty performance that went viral.

It’s pretty obvious that Fashion Week is in flux. It’s changing and morphing to match the current social media-crazed culture. Just searching the hashtag #FashionWeek on Instagram brings up 20.6 million posts.

So, what does that mean for the industry as a whole? One recent development is the inclusion of many freelance writers and bloggers who are now getting the chance to attend these high profile events–an opportunity not many had before the Internet.

This year, I had the privilege of chatting with two journalists/media communication professionals who attended New York Fashion Week.

Amanda Randone

Amanda Randone is a journalist, New Yorker and fellow French speaker. She was also formerly the editorial manager at Barney’s New York and a regular contributor to Refinery29, Cosmopolitan.com and Coveteur.

Briefly tell me how you got started going to fashion weeks. What was your inspiration? How long have you been attending?

“Believe it or not, I started attending shows at New York Fashion Week seven years ago when I was in college! Which I thought was simply the coolest thing in the world (it was). I was representing the NYU school newspaper, the Washington Square News, where we managed to land invites to higher-profile shows like Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose, and Rebecca Minkoff. I even covered a party hosted by the legendary Patricia Fields (also an NYU alumna!).

This exposure to the fashion world was thrilling, and I loved channelling the creative energy I witnessed on the runway into my own writing. The whole experience helped me envision what a future in fashion journalism would look like, and I knew it was a path I wanted to pursue professionally.”

What were your favorite shows this year?

“I was utterly inspired by the Burnett New York Spring 2020 show this season. A very talented friend of mine is a cofounder of the label, which is still in its industry infancy. Having a personal connection to the talent behind the collection–especially when the brand is so authentically committed to empowering women—and watching their vision materialize in all its beaded, vibrant glory gave new meaning to the whole experience. Plus, the venue was the sun-drenched Elizabeth Street Garden, a dreamy garden oasis tucked away in Nolita. It was the perfect Sunday afternoon.”

What trends did you see the most of? What do you think will actually hit the streets this fall and winter?

“I was definitely seeing geometric sleeves (a good example is the strong circularity around the arms of a few Maria Cornejo looks that were unforgettable… examples here and here).

I also can’t get my mind off of two-toned pants and dresses à la Cynthia Rowley and Dima Ayad (Dima is actually a Dubai-based designer who’s showing in Paris, but here’s a sneak peek of her take on the trend). And there were a few billowing shirt/dresses styled over pants, see Brandon Maxwell and Rosie Assoulin for reference!”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue fashion journalism?

“Write your heart out! And read trade journals like WWD to better understand the business behind the fashion. It’s an ever-evolving industry, and there are a lot of brands doing innovative things that’ll inspire you to think differently about how retailers hope to further engage with their customers (aka, your readers).

I also think it’s important to understand the major challenges facing media companies today. Get your feet wet with all things digital so you can dive into your first position well versed in SEO, e-commerce partnerships, and data analytics.”

Where can we find updates about you/your media company/your experiences as a journalist?

“I update the selected clips section of my website regularly, which is also where you’ll find the reporting I do outside of fashion (I cover women’s issues and write a lot about Islam, examples here and here!). My thoughts are occasionally on Twitter, and my looks/family/friends are often on Instagram.”

Hannah D’Avanzo

Hannah D’Avanzo is a journalist and founder of HD Access Media. She also happens to be someone I met (and became friends with) in college.

Briefly tell me how you got started going to fashion weeks. What was your inspiration? How long have you been attending?

“I was promised an interview with Jason [Derulo] during Fall Fashion Week of 2017, which was the start of my attendance for fashion weeks. Since then, I have attended Milan Fashion Week, Rome Fashion Week, New York Winter Fashion Week, and this past New York Fall Fashion. People have always inspired me. Everyone has a story to tell, and I became addicted to learning and hearing from others. Creators in particular inspire me because there is always a story behind their clothes and designs. I love a good story.”

What were your favorite shows this year?

“My favorite show this year was Cynthia Rowley.  Cynthia held her show outside which was a nice change from being indoors at shows all day. She had the most fun, summery outdoor theme. Some models even carried surf boards and wore bright colored clothing. I also liked that Cynthia featured one model that was much older and shorter than everyone else. This left me wondering, ‘What the story was behind the older model and who was she?’

I also enjoyed Bibhu Mohapatra’s show because he featured beautiful gowns that displayed his vibrant Indian culture. I’m also obsessed with sequins and details, and each of his gowns were beautifully embellished. I was so thrilled to get an interview with him!”

What trends did you see the most of? What do you think will actually hit the streets this fall and winter?

“Though all the shows were very different, I saw a lot of pieces featuring shades of mustard, orange and dark turquoise on clothing. I noticed lots of models on the runway wearing leather throughout the show. This did not only include black leather but all different muted colors on leather. I would not be surprised to see lots of leather trends in the near future.”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue fashion journalism?

“Stay up to date with trends. Dress the part you want to play ahead of time because the industry can be very superficial. I’d also say be friendly and get acquainted with publicists. Ultimately, they control everything and know everyone. I’ve had many publicists help me beyond measures. Just this fashion week I was able to watch a show backstage with the designer himself because of a publicist I talked to right when entering the show. I’ve also had many publicists tell me no and brush me off. Though this has happened on several occasions, I’d always recommend reaching out to publicists. This could potentially help further you in the industry.”

Where can we find updates about you/your media company/your experiences as a journalist?

“On my Instagram @hannahdavanzo or website www.hdaccessmedia.com.”


What have been your favorite Fashion Month looks so far? Leave a comment below! Also, follow this blog for more updates about upcoming fashion weeks.


P.S. If you’re looking for more information on London Fashion Week, I’d suggest starting with this article by Man Repeller.

For the styles at Milan Fashion Week, check out Refinery 29’s recap. Oh, and this video of J. Lo sporting the iconic dress that literally launched Google Images.

Advertisements

Does Makeup Harm Femininity?

Does Makeup Harm Femininity?

I was 13 years old when it happened. I sat down in front of the mirror and took a deep breath. My left index finger glided across my eyelid, leaving behind an electric blue residue. I smiled. Despite the fact that the eyeshadow was actually a hideous shade of blue that did not match my complexion at all, I felt

From that point on, makeup became a mini-obsession. Unfortunately, at 13 years old I did not yet realize all the nuances that accompanied a face full of makeup. But before we get too invested in the self-revelation aspect of this post, let me put it in perspective.

Makeup in Numbers

The global makeup industry is worth $382 billion.

The United States is the largest consumer in the beauty industry (go figure), making up 25% of the entire world’s cosmetic market and bringing in roughly $86 billion in revenue per year.

The estimated annual spending on cosmetics in the U.S. is $8 billion, and the average American woman spends around $3,756 on cosmetics per year.

These numbers are astronomical. And they have an impact on real, everyday women–myself included.

What’s the big deal?

Throughout my tween and teen years, my idea of beauty was based solely on how I looked wearing makeup–mainly because I wore it every single day.

I can count on one hand the number of days I went to school without makeup (and I guarantee you, those were the five worst days of my high school existence). I had no self-confidence or even self-image outside of the realm of makeup. And it severely harmed my notions of femininity.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college (yes, a whole five years later) that I explored what beauty means outside of makeup. After completely giving up on wearing makeup to my 8 a.m. college classes and still somehow managing to roll in 15 minutes late, I had a change of heart.

It’s almost like my high school self had been convinced that my natural face was not feminine enough or perhaps too average or just not something enough to be beautiful. (And even though I laugh at how silly it is now, when you’re 16, that’s the biggest deal. Like ever.)

I soon realized what I had believed about myself for so long was just a lie. After spending weeks on end without makeup in the summer, I looked into the mirror. I noticed the depth of my eyes and the gentleness of my smile. I had finally accepted my natural beauty.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky.

You really look more your age with makeup…
You’re so much prettier without makeup!
You look so much younger without makeup!

Or my personal favorite on a day when I’m bare-faced…
Are you feeling okay? Are you sick?

As soon as someone tried to pit “made-up Kristen” against “makeup-less Kristen,” I got annoyed. For someone who already spends most of her time comparing me against myself, it bothered me. Couldn’t we just appreciate both looks?

Flash forward to summer 2019, when I’ve barely made the attempt to put on anything other than sunscreen. I’m getting used to my face without makeup, and I kind of love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love makeup. I readily admit that I’m a diva at heart, and I would choose a full face over a no-makeup look most days. (13-year-old me really had no idea what she was getting into when she decided to put blue eyeshadow on her eyelids.) But now when I wear makeup, it’s for a completely different reason.

There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as sitting down with fresh brushes and all my favorite products, knowing I have time to concentrate on my look. It’s therapeutic. It’s rejuvenating. And though I know my face doesn’t always look as glam as when I’m (literally) shimmering in my favorite Becca highlighter, I’m confident in it anyway.