Photography and Text by Noa Baker, Copyright 2017
I’ve never felt so small-town in my life. I had “dressed up” for today, which meant grudgingly leaving my seven pairs of sweatpants in the bottom drawer and squeezing myself into the single pair of black jeans I own (when did I buy these? The seventh grade?), and swapping my regular pony tail with a less-regular pony tail. What was a suburban sweatshirt-dweller doing heading to New York City during fashion week, you might ask?
Great question. I was asking myself the same thing as I boarded the train, clutching multiple camera bags and tripping over my sneaker laces.
But to my utmost surprise, fashion week was everything—and more. It was seductive. Passionate. Fast paced and non-judgmental. I was expecting a bunch of super-thin tall blond super models and was instead faced with a deliciously diverse group of eclectic dressers. One model in hijab bustled past me, overlarge sunglasses pushed to her eyes and her runway pass to her face, a shield against the paparazzi. Afros are in this year—so many women had hair teased up to the sky that my pictures appear to have a fuzzy halo around the edges.
There was a faked shy-ness in the passers-by that I noticed, though. Many hid behind large sunglasses as they gazed stonily passed the paparazzies, or else glared into phone screens. The fashion on the streets became less about the clothes the pedestrian models were wearing than the persona—the iPhones, the headphones, the overlarge shades. As the day wore on, I became less interested in the outfits and more interested in the accessories that people hid behind. What makes the fashion, I wondered? I tried to collect images that captured the persona of fashion week—the runway facial expressions hiding behind head accessories, the detached look of someone hurrying down the street and distracted by a phone call.
Is fashion only in what people wear?
About The Author: Noa Baker is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020