How has digital media changed NYFW in 2017?

Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for the NYTimes

New York Fashion Week is the highlight of the fall and spring fashion seasons in New York. All of my favorite celebrities are in the city. From “It girls” and influencers, to editors and designers, everyone is attending shows, exclusive parties, and somehow managing to look effortlessly glamorous while they do it. The first city to begin organizing shows seasonally, New York Fashion Week officially began in 1943 and it has reigned as one of the most magical weeks in the city since its beginning.

Like mostly everything in the world, digital media has turned the NYFW experience completely upside down. How did we survive New York Fashion Week prior to the beloved Instagram story? It truly pains me to picture a world without it. What would I do if I couldn’t use my break from classes to hop on Instagram and see Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Elaine Welteroth, touching up her make-up in a car on the way to the Oscar de la Renta show?

I’d definitely have a serious case of FOMO (that’s fear of missing out, for those living under a rock), but I definitely wouldn’t be the only one. As much as I would feel out of the loop, I would have a blast obsessing over live streams and analyzing all of the official photos from the shows. And besides, that exclusive and “insider” mentality is sort of what makes Fashion Week Fashion Week.

Before the rise in social media, it was nearly impossible to know what happened at these chic fashion shows and parties, but that’s what made it so alluring! Unless I know “a friend of a friend” who can get me in, — or simply get invited — the disappointment of not attending any Fashion Week events totally blows. But that was all before social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter took the world by storm.

Ten years ago, I would have no way to see footage of runway shows in real time if I wasn’t actually there. Now, I can rely on my iPhone to ensure that I’m seeing shows from my favorite designers from Helmut Lang to The Blonds.

Although I sometimes feel digital media is watering down the fashion industry, I have to accept that this shift has impacted Fashion Week in a huge way. Providing a high level of access to the average joe might take away from the appeal of Fashion Week, but I’d be crazy if I didn’t admit that there can be benefits to the access that it provides. Fashion enthusiasts come from just about every background imaginable, many of whom do not live in one of the fashion capitals of the world. The fact that millions of people around the world can all feel a part of NYFW just by opening an app on their phone is quite powerful. Next time I start to roll my eyes at the plethora of Fashion Week videos flooding my feed, I’ll think of how happy I would have been if I had this option ten years ago!

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