NYFW vs. Project Fashion

A model has make-up applied backstage ahead of the Thom Browne collection presentation during Fashion Week, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, in New York. Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP Newsroom

On Super Bowl Sunday, the hardcore fashionistas of UConn’s fashion club, Project Fashion, decided to dress up and take a trip to New York City, and not just for a spontaneous city photoshoot. They were promised an experience better than watching teams you don’t even care about: New York Fashion Week.  

For cowtown students, even just taking a trip to the city is enough, but for those deeply invested in the world of fashion, the expectations were high. The club bought tickets through The SOCIETY, a “globally renowned” fashion show producer that strives to make Fashion Week an “inclusive” experience. It was, but not in the way you might think. NYFW as a whole has gone through many pivotal shifts in how it’s organized and perceived, but its democratization through the rise of the internet and influencers brings up the question: is NYFW dying? Or dead even? There’s no doubt in my mind that to many fashion enthusiasts, Fashion Week still holds high praised significance, but the show we experienced made me and VP of the club, Valentina Rodriguez, question all of it.  

The day began early in the AM for PF and members in order to successfully troop into the city and make the show on time. Vice pPresident, Valentina Rodriguez and tTreasurer, Daniella Green were left with the responsibility of bringing the group of nine9 to and from the city, something neither of them had done before. The president’s unexpected absence left them frazzled, but the fashionistas held it down, took care of train tickets and made sure members ate once in the city.  

After the confusingly long wait in line, we were invited into a medium sized warehouse decorated with chrome banners hung over a black cloth covering the walls to create the runway backdrop. The cute, deceiving ambiance was set by bright pink lighting, and a singular projection screen displaying “NEW YORK FASHION WEEK” for credibility.  

The first designer, Belle Le Chic, displayed models in classy going out dresses and jumpsuits, some of them wearing big sun hats. Nothing too crazy, pretty simple and concise. Credibility quickly diminished when the next designer, Krissy King, presented models in excessive tulle, feather wings, and children somehow made their way into the runway… 

The parade of children continued with the third show. It began with adult models dressed in the same black branded T-shirt and variation of fun pants, but then children came out in cute dresses. The artistic vision became blurry and unclear, but it was the last show that solidified the aimed inclusion promised, as dogs were brought out wearing variations of prom dresses. Their outfits complimented each dog breed very well, and if I had a dog I would definitely consider this boutique. Daunting, cConcerning, and scary were some words that came to mind since the puppers’ slayed harder than the human models…The show lasted a total of 30 minutes, leaving the audience confused in expectation for more. Despite the disappointing show, PF took advantage of the day to enjoy New York and its infamous atmosphere. “ Even though this trip didn’t go as planned and it seemed a little disorganized, don’t let that be a representation of how we envision our club,” says Secretary of Project Fashion Danielle Green. Planning club trips and activities like this takes a passionate and dedicated TEAM, and from the looks of it, the responsibility was left in the hands of two people. Vice President, Valentina Rodriguez makes an important comment on the experience; “From my point of view Daniella and I were the only ones putting in work and time when it came to organizing everything, from this trip to club meetings…There were many things out of our hands that we had to combat to make this happen, as newbies and full time students we did the best we could. We want to keep doing this and make a better name for the club”. NYFW may be dead, but UConn’s Project Fashion isn’t totally there yet, the two fashionistas are passionate about wanting to shift focus from fashion aesthetics to cultural impact and the future of fashion, the role of POC in fashion to new wave sustainability in the industry. PF invites the passionate chic geeks to join the club to help bring it back to life and hopefully for a better NYFW trip next year. 

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