New York has been invaded.
Models, designers, socialites and celebrity style-stalkers alike have taken over the city this past week for what Carrie Bradshaw once described as a time when “the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future … this is known as Fashion Week.”
The past few years have brought with them not only the usual couture crew, but also the sudden surge of the “fashion blogger.”
Gone are the days when the front row was reserved only for the celebutante glitterati.
There has emerged a new class of runway fashion spectators: smartphone wielding, Nikon-toting, java-sipping Millennials known as “fashion bloggers.” And, if Instagram is any indication, they are here to stay.
NYFW has become as much about the people who attend the shows as the fashion that floods the runways.
There have always been notorious supermodels, A-list attendees and the eccentric designers who love them.
What's changed, however, is the rise of the new celebrity and the sudden shift of the faces in the coveted front row.
The business of fashion has merged in a big way with the business of blogging.
Fashion bloggers now compose a generous portion of every big show's guest list, and in some cases, make a bigger splash with their reviews than the celebrities who sit beside them.
Case and point: Chiara Ferragni, designer/model/author/TV personality/international couture chameleon and style blogger for the infamous Blonde Salad.
With more than 3 million followers on Instagram, Chiara is a force to be reckoned with and has paved the way for countless other bloggers to follow.
She is widely considered a must-have guest for any designer who aims to draw media attention to his or her brand.
Still skeptical about why these designers would entrust the social media chatter to self-made selfie queens versus solely the standard celebs?
Consider the following: Calvin Klein recently enlisted a troupe of 100 trendsetters and well-known faces from 15 countries to take part in a social media campaign that had an international bevy of beauties rocking out in their Calvin’s (and little else) on Instagram.
The point? To use these images of the fashion elite in their retro logo-waistband undies to raise conversation and trigger interest amongst the masses who follow them.
It took less than 24 hours following the first three influencer posts for one million fan reactions within a total audience base of 50 million. Some might call this a success.
This isn’t to say that everyone is embracing the rise of the blogger.
The business of fashion has always been a harsh one, and some have attacked the new crowd as “posers” and “unprofessional nuisances,” who clutter the shows and red carpets with their cameras and sponsored gear.
I get it; change is hard, and the world of high fashion has always had a reputation for keeping the gates dead-bolted shut — open to their crowd and their crowd alone.
What the elitist few fail to understand, however, is that these “posers” have taken their secret society and made it relevant once again.
The 90s had the “age of the supermodel” to keep us abuzz of the backstage gossip, and our generation has the blogger.
She alone will bring a tripod and camera to places where most would rather be caught dead with such gear in tow.
She will record a YouTube video from anywhere, at anytime, regardless of judgmental onlookers, all to give you a review of how the latest anti-frizz spray holds up against the elements.
And, she alone will squeeze into her seat and give you the best damn runway play-by-play that you’ve ever seen because, well, she’s one of us, sitting amongst all of them, and she's letting us share her seat in the front row.