Middle Eastern history is not a subject to be toyed with; the immense amounts of dates and Arabic terms are enough to confuse the most diligent student . Maybe it doesn’t help that I had not kept up with my readings over the semester. What better way to immerse myself in the culture than by attending a fashion show? Since I already had a ticket, I couldn’t possibly let it go to waste!
After spending a significant amount of time getting ready for the event I finally headed off to the Historical Society of Washington DC on K Street NW. A bus and metro ride later I had arrived early, the only one who didn’t get the memo about being fashionably late. I walked into Starbucks in order to pass the time; apparently the fashion industry has a different perception of time.
I was fortunate enough to have VIP seating in the front row for this event which allowed me to witness some of the behind-the-scenes action taking place. It was great to see that almost every aspect of the show was spearheaded by someone who is of a minority ethnic background. A series of collections was presented by designers from the Middle East, Nigeria, France, Mongolia and other parts of the world.
While one of the focal points of the night was the fact that DC Fashion Week had surpassed the New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in terms of Twitter followers, much was left to be desired from the event. The models were overall stiff and robotic when posing at the end of the runway. I don’t know if this was the “look” for the evening, but in terms of style, the robot walk did not work well with the couture gowns flowing down the runway. Furthermore, I believe the International Couture Fashion show is meant to showcase up-and-coming designers. While it had a great variety within the collection, it was evident that the founder of DC Fashion Week called the shots. Sadly, this made him look arrogant in comparison to other designers. Being a prominent designer of color in DC is an accomplishment in itself, but let the clothes speak for themselves.
The guest list was just as diverse as the regions represented by the designers. The VIP section was comprised of people from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and the age span ranged from a couple in their late 70’s to the 19 year old college student. The stereotype that the front row of a fashion show is comprised of the elites of the fashion industry is a terrible misconception at DCFW. No one I spoke to was part of a magazine or major fashion house. To be honest, the only representative from an organization even remotely related to the fashion industry was myself. This goes to show that DC Fashion Week is an attempt to bring fashion to the masses instead of just the Washington elites. In a city that is usually criticized for focusing its time an energy on the 1%, it great to see that there are avenues for the city to be all-encompassing and international.
Jonathan Dromgoole, Fashion Editor
Photo Credit: Jonathan Dromgoole