Fashion Week Is Irrelevant

It isn't about the designers anymore.
Image: Sonny Vandevelde backstage at Dior SS16

This essay was originally published in March 2015 on

Has fashion week become a humdrum affair? That’s the question on everyone’s lips.

Take me back four seasons, and you would have seen me sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting the arrival of fashion month. The buzz of seeing the front row, drooling over clothes I wanted (but knew I’d never have), checking blogs every day to see the latest street style – I was totally sucked in; and so was everyone around me. However, and I’ll be the first to admit it, I’ve noticed that buzz die down somewhat over the past year or so. But the question is why?

My theory is this: fashion week isn’t about fashion anymore. It’s become so obsessed with who is walking the show, who is on the frow and who is making headlines. The world has stopped looking at the clothes and is instead looking at who is wearing them.

The prospect of a thriving front row, celeb wise and drama wise, has become the most important aspect of a show's success. Take Kanye’s Adidas Originals showcase - here is a show that, fashion wise, was doomed from the start. It was talked about, not because of his designs, but because of North’s tantrum and the reactions of Anna Wintour and BeyoncĂ©. However, North’s tantrum or not, I still feel as though the real attraction was not the fashion, but the fact that Kim Kardashian was sat front row, sandwiched in between Anna and Queen B.  I can’t say I was bowled over by Kanye’s work but I still researched the show… for all the wrong reasons. I’ll be honest, I felt kind of bad for the guy; Kanye has so much love for his work in fashion that it deserves to be looked at; as does the hard work of all fashion designers.

In addition to the power of the frow, comes the runway itself, for, yes you named it, the models not the clothes. Gone are the days when models were unknowns; just another face on the catwalk. Ever since the days of Kate and Naomi, we have the super model cliques. Today we have the likes of Cara, Kendall, and Gigi, all taking over the catwalk, Instagram, and our hearts at fashion week. TeenVogue had both Gigi Hadid and Binx Walton take over their Instagram for NYFW. Fashion week onlookers have become so transfixed on these supermodel friends that runway shows are almost like watching them all hang out for a day. This season, I found myself flicking through catwalk collections looking specifically to see if Kendall or Gigi were in the show; I probably couldn’t tell you what they were wearing though – and this is where our problem lies.

Are the famous models and the famous front row action taking away the limelight from what fashion week is meant to be about?  If a designer knows Kendall Jenner will be modelling for them, do they really have to try as hard with their collection? If Kim Kardashian is sat front row, do they really need to be innovative? The knowledge that the front row will get the collection noticed whether it’s good or bad is a slippery slope; it could lead to the notion that designers might not need to try as hard to create something incredible, because if #CaKe is on the runway then why bother? They can be boring because they’ll get the publicity anyway.

Until fashion week bans all social media, celeb endorsement, and famous models from walking in shows, I don’t see an end to this; and there doesn’t need to be an end to it. All we need is a little more focus put back on the fashion. Alexander Wang A/W14 will go down in history as one of my favourite shows ever; the only famous model I remember walking in it is Karlie – I was too transfixed on the fashion (and when the catwalk started spinning…it was emotional). 

I will finish by saying this: fashion week isn’t boring, its main focus has merely shifted. So, next time you see Gigi on the runway, just make sure to actually take a look at what she’s wearing.

WHO: Xenia, Fashion Contributor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: London
OBSESSED WITH: Denim and Swedish guys
LISTENING TO: Sugar- Maroon 5

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief