NYFW Destroyed My Mental Health
Updated: Feb 27, 2020
The last New York Fashion Week show I attended was in the Fall of 2017 when Torrid presented their spring collection. It was the only show I attended that fashion week season and I only attended because it was my community, the plus-size community, being put center stage.
At the time of posting, it is currently fashion week once again in NYC. A time I used to look forward to twice a year. I would use up most (if not all) of my PTO to attend shows, go to after-parties, and have late-night dinners with all my friends. I would blow my annual clothing budget in a week on new outfits in hopes of impressing one of the many street-style photographers and drink champagne like it was water. For two weeks a year, I lived a life that sometimes looked straight out of Gossip Girl. While on the outside I looked polished, I was dying on the inside.
Being a fat girl at NYFW was at times like reliving middle school all over again. And as most girls know, middle school is the 9th circle of hell. While all my friends would get stopped for those coveted street style pics, I was asked to step out of the shot or given coats to hold. The first few times it happened I took it in stride, that I wasn't wearing something chic enough. But as time went on I realized, my looks were on point, but my size wasn't.
One can only endure this treatment so many times before it starts to affect you. I started to prep for NYFW by shoving diet pills down my throat, stocking up on Spanx and replaced just about everything in my closest with black. I was doing whatever it took to make me look the ride kind of plus-size. Was this healthy, nope. Did I know that, yup. Did I care, at the time, not really.
My breaking point came when, during Fall 2017 shows (which are presented in February), I was assigned a coveted front-row seat to some new-ish designer.
As I sat in my seat, the front of house PR came to check tickets, a usual task to keep seat crashers at bay, it was then that I was asked to move to the 2nd row. I asked why, since I was given this seat from the start. All I was told was that it was assigned to me by mistake as I do not have the right "look" the designer whats for the guests in the front row. AKA the designer didn't want a fat girl sitting front row. You can imagine my embarrassment, I was mortified. I didn't stay for the show.
At that moment everything I worked for over the last 5+ years was yanked away. I didn't know really who I was if I wasn't the fat girl trying to impress these strangers. All I ever wanted was to have a little place at the table and I was pushed out.
I spent months after working on myself, I took breaks from blogging, worked on a few plus-size campaigns where my size wasn't a treated like a four-lettered word. I all but shut out the NYFW community, until I didn't.
As I waited in line for that Torrid show, I was surrounded by the whos-who of plus-size fashion blogging, all those feels came rushing back to me and I hated it. I was no longer one of these girls. Sure I slipped back into my black on black persona for the occasion, but I added a bit of Disney flare. A bit of the geeky, nerdy person I really am. I heard the whispers, saw the eye-rolls, I ignored them. See in 2017, Disney Style wasn't all the rage yet like it is now. Mickey Mouse didn't have a collection with Gucci that every blogger is maxing out their credit cards to purchase. No, in 2017 I was being silently mocked for having just the smallest amount of Disney Style in my look.
NYFW will probably always be some kind of trigger for me now.
Sure I met some of my best friends during those years and I did learn more about style than I had before it. But that doesn't erase the years of negative body-image habits and borderline eating disorders I developed to try to achieve acceptance in a world that never wanted me there in the first place.