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The Mess That Was New York Fashion Week

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USFSP chapter.

Recently my TikTok for you page has been showing me various videos of the disaster that was New York Fashion Week. After seeing these videos, I was wondering if the show that I was seeing was even real (it’s hard to tell nowadays). Seeing influencers gradually make their way into places like the fashion industry is not exactly unusual, but to see them essentially makes, in my opinion, a mockery of what used to be a display of talent and art is what upsets me the most. For people who know nothing about fashion, especially modern fashion, the very idea of runways and shows seem strange, but adding influencers into the mix doesn’t necessarily improve their reputation.There’s also the separate issue of inclusivity in terms of body types and skin color in the fashion industry. This resulted in discourse over the recent revival of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show which left many disappointed, and that disaster also heavily relates to the increasing involvement of influencers in the fashion industry. I understand there is much more that goes into shows like New York Fashion Week than what I’m seeing from an outsider’s perspective, but if the idea was to gain popularity for the show and reach the public through influencers, then, in my opinion, it isn’t translating well. For the sake of understanding the situation, I looked into the fiasco and gave my thoughts on what I believed to be the mess that was New York Fashion Week.

where did it begin?

As far as I know, New York Fashion Week takes place over the span of 9 days where designers from all around the world showcase their designs. Personally, I have known more about Paris Fashion Week than New York Fashion Week.This was because my first experience with influencers in the fashion world was when Emma Chamberlain was invited to Paris Fashion Week through Louis Vuitton, though it was solely to watch rather than walk in the show (which is still a huge opportunity). After that moment, I’ve seen a gradual increase in influencer involvement in the fashion industry and fashion shows. Even among those who are not entirely immersed in the fashion world, there is a general disdain for allowing celebrities and influencers who are not professional models to walk on the runway. There has also been recent backlash over people who are born to parents that are prestigious or are a part of the industry who are prone to prestigious opportunities (like Kendall Jenner or Lily Rose Depp). The internet has referred to these people as “nepo-babies” or those who are born from nepotism. But the backlash, in my opinion, truly began once Tik-Tok began a content creator program in July of 2020 which gave rise to a new era of influencers getting more opportunities in the fashion industry. And that is where this year’s New York Fashion Week comes into play.

the mess

Although there were other events in New York Fashion Week this year, the one that got the most exposure on TikTok (which was mainly negative) was the Creator’s Inc x Bossi event alongside other Creator’s Inc events. Creator’s Inc. is a social media management firm designed to help creators grow, and Bossi is described as a “clothing giant” with celebrities like Madonna and Lil Baby wearing their clothes.  However, their success didn’t seem to translate to New York Fashion Week too well as there were too many disasters. Firstly, Ttik Ttok creator Paige Neimann, known for impersonating Ariana Grande, was invited to walk on the runway but instead trotted and skipped down the runway in a bit of a hurry, which made many people wonder if what they were seeing about New York Fashion Week was a joke. At a separate event, a man walked on the runway wearing a plastic shower curtain to make fun of the outlandish outfits usually seen at fashion shows. Also, the Youtube group known as the Nelk boys had a fake model walk the runway who fell, and yet was still not escorted out by security. Finally, PETA protestors made their second debut on the runway in a pair consisting of a girl with a sign and another walking completely nude with protests painted all over her. Ironically, the girl with the sign was confiscated by security while the nude girl carried on in the show, which Youtuber Brett Cooper highlighted in her video on the increasing number of pranksters and protests at New York Fashion Week. The press for the events has been nothing but negative, embarrassing even. And comments on the event haven’t been favorable towards New York Fashion Week either. Aside from many thinking that the event was a joke, others were seriously questioning the event’s prestige and reputation. Under a post made by Tailor Hawkins on TikTok, viewer @downbadforsun_t_ said, “Paris Fashion Week replaced NYFW, NYC made it too accessible.” In another post, TikToker Eri Jay said, “I know nothing about fashion, but I do know that you’re supposed to wear a little something more than my average dive-bar-on-a-Friday-night-looking outfit,” regarding the seemingly cheap quality of the outfits worn at New York Fashion Week. All-in-all, the influencer events of New York Fashion Week were a disaster, but this wasn’t the only mess that the fashion world saw recently.

it only gets worse

The internet was very excited to hear that Victoria’s Secret was bringing back their shows and their infamous angels, but the result was surprisingly disappointing. What seemed to be an attempt to be more inclusive with more plus-size models and skin tones ended in more hate than support. The reason? Victoria’s Secret and their angels are meant to represent an impossible standard, which was represented by supermodels and professional models who worked extremely hard for what they earned. Yet the show decided to feature content creators, influencers, and TikTokers who are neither known for their role in the fashion industry nor have any experience, which is what caused such severe backlash. Comments under recent Victoria’s Secret Instagram posts are expressing their rage as user @floraanasis said, “Some jobs just aren’t for everyone and we don’t like seeing their insecurities on the runway…” and on another post, user @9ennessis.z said, “They don’t really deserve to wear the wings after your old models worked so hard to get them to be called angels. Plus who even are these people” Though not everyone is in agreement with this view, others have offered their support, with user @noel_pix_is_the_sexyness stating, “It is so sad to see so many hateful comments about the angels. These ARE angels. Stop projecting your insecurities on others. All sizes and heights of models exist. That is what is beautiful. They are having representation of the diversity of the world. Stop judging. I think all of the models are beautiful…”

did the angle work?

In my opinion, the answer is no. If the idea was to bring more exposure to the younger generations while revitalizing the reputation of fashion in the modern world, then it definitely backfired. So much so that the US Open got more exposure than New York Fashion Week, and the reason was because of how the celebrities who attended were dressed. Search engines show that the US Open had more searches than New York Fashion Week, and the number of designers showing up to New York Fashion Week has decreased as well. So if there was anything to be gained from the content creator inclusivity at New York Fashion Week in the first place, it’s that influencers are not always the best way to boost the reputation of an event that is hanging on by a thread in the first place, especially not in a time where there is an increasing disdain towards influencers in the fashion and beauty industry.

the verdict

Overall, I personally feel that New York Fashion Week has felt more and more like a joke. Aside from the long-lasting criticisms of the designs featured at seemingly prestigious fashion shows, New York Fashion Week’s reputation has only worsened with this recent attempt at boosting exposure through content creators and influencers. It could also be possible that the stunt was meant to show the absurdity of including influencers in industries that require talent, experience, and a name aside from the one built off of social media platforms. If that was the case, then their show could be considered a massive success. But if the goal was to allow the general population to garner interest in fashion, then the show was a massive failure. I believe that allowing influencers onto shows like these when they have no interest in fashion, no experience in fashion, or no name in fashion is incredibly harmful to the industry; it does nothing to pique the interest of the youth other than to garner bad press and make a mockery of an esteemed art and profession. This fiasco tied with the growing debates over inclusivity and diversity in both the fashion and beauty industry (as seen with the responses to the Victoria’s Secret Tour ‘23) has shown that the modern age seems to be increasingly characterized by a failure to appeal to the youth and no longer remembers the unique craft that was fashion.

Neha Mitra


Neha is a Writer and Marketing Graphic Designer at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg chapter. She loves writing about design topics, film, and literature. She is studying Graphic Arts at the University of South Florida and in the future, she plans to work in UI/UX design while writing fictional stories and potential screenplay for films. In their free time, they love to write fictional stories, watch intriguing films, and create artworks for others or for herself. They will always find the time to talk about the nuances of books and film, as well as their preferences in design and art!