I had no idea how I was getting to New York City. Or if my professor would even let me make up the exam I’d miss while I was gone. I especially didn’t know what I to wear.
What I did know though is that these 32 words changed the course of my career forever:
“I am sending you this letter to let it be known that I have assigned you to cover Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Fall 2008 in the capacity of a journalist.”
My 21-year-old undergraduate self could barely believe it. I spent the past month cold-emailing editors all over the country never thinking that my feeble writing clips and obvious inexperience would coax someone into giving me a chance.
But here it was. My chance. And I wasn’t going to screw it up.
I walked from the on-campus newsroom to my professor Fred’s office to share the news (and ask for a raincheck on that exam). Then I headed home to figure out how I was going to get to New York City in 24 hours.
I’m blessed to say it obviously all turned out. Not only did I make it to New York Fashion Week then. But I’ve attended several times since, both as a freelance reporter and magazine editor.
And in honor of the Spring 2019 NYFW season currently in high gear, I thought it’d be fun to flash back to my very first Fashion Week experience
Below is an actual journal entry from 10 years ago. It’s a refreshing alternative to the over-curated (and oversaturated) social media posts you’ve probably seen on your feeds. And it’s a significant reminder that you get anywhere you have to start somewhere.
Oh, and by the way: My parents bought my ticket (after I submitted a PowerPoint presentation to my dad explaining why they should), Fred excused me from the exam (#ThanksFred) and I found something to wear (lots of thrifted coats and my mom’s vintage).
Keep reading for my hilariously honest record of Day Two of New York Fashion Week Fall 2008. It's been lightly edited for clarity.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Bryant Park, New York City
8:30 AM I just got off the bus and Brandon (my unofficial tour guide who attends St. John's University in the city) was right—Bryant Park isn’t that far of a walk from where I got off the train.
I still can’t believe I’m here!
I wanted to arrive at the tents early so I could get registered and make it to the first show of the day at 9 AM but sadly the doors aren’t open yet.
It’s kind of cold—well, very cold—an understatement since I’m coming from Texas, but I don’t mind standing outside.
9:02 AM I’m finally inside—and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear. My smile quickly turns into a frown as I am met with hostility at the registration booth. Luckily, it was a simple miscommunication and I have my credentials around my neck. I’m off to stand in line for my first show!
9:24 AM I’m still in line for Malan Breton’s show. It’s crazy. I remember seeing him on Project Runway this past season and now I’m models are wearing his clothes on the New York Fashion Week runway. I’m a living witness: dreams do come true!
9:47 AM I’m finally in the show. It hasn’t started yet. I wonder if I look out of place. Is my outfit fashionable enough? Am I sitting in someone’s seat? What am I supposed to be looking for anyway? Why is the music so loud? At least I got a goodie bag!
9:52 AM I think the show is about to start. Everyone has finally sat down. According to [the show notes], “The captivating dichotomies of the characters played by Catherine Denevue in her early career in The Umbrellas of Cherebourg and Belle De Jour” inspired his fall collection. OK, whatever that means.
9:57 AM What in heaven’s names are these editors writing down? Every time a model glides down the runway, editors start pointing and jotting who knows what. I thought I was ready for this, but I’m having second thoughts.
10:15 AM The show is over and I’m standing outside … trying to take all of this in. Everything is so fast here! I just got a compliment. Someone said my jacket fit nicely. Whew!
My next show isn’t for another hour or so—hopefully I can get a few quotes for my story!
12:21 PM My next show just ended. It was Milly by Michelle Smith. I really liked the collection. My mom would love it too. I can’t to show her some of the looks.
I took really good notes from this show. I’m starting to see the trends, which will help me shape my stories. I’m so glad I got the first-show jitters out the way. It’s time to get to work now!
5:32 PM I’m exhausted. My feet are killing me. I don’t even want to imagine what the chic fashionistas in stilettos are going through. I just want to rest.
After just one day of being at Fashion Week, I see this isn’t child’s play. This industry is definitely much more than I thought—but I love it!
I saw two more shows this afternoon. And my editor sent me an invitation to an event this evening, but I’m on my way to catch the bus. I hope I can remember how to get back to Jersey!
8:00 PM I just got out the shower. I can barely keep my eyes open. I need to call Mom and let her know I’m OK. I probably should write too. But I’m pooped. And in a few short hours it’ll be time to do it all over again!