My First Fashion Week Has Been Imperfect and Strangely Life-Affirming

Nora fashion week diary 2018 man repeller

This is my very first fashion week! I’m very excited and also nervous and oh my god what will I wear I hope I don’t fall over at some point. I love fashion as something to think about and observe in others, but I feel I’m very firmly not a “fashion person,” if that makes sense? I sort of feel like a band nerd at a jock party, but I have no doubt this week will be fun (if I don’t fall). This is also my first fashion week as a managing editor, so while we’ve had meetings and google docs and emails galore, 90% of my anxiety comes from a deep need to not mess this up. Below, a recording of my first few days — let me know whether you think I succeeded.


10 a.m.

I’m working from home today and have knocked out the work-from-home essentials: brush your teeth, wash your face, put on a bra and make a huge pot of coffee. I spend most of the morning doing normal non-fashion week things.


2 p.m

I make one of those weird work-from-home lunches that’s just a bowl of stuff from your fridge.

6:30 p.m.

I sign off to get ready for the DapperQ show at the Brooklyn Museum.

7 p.m.

I decide to walk because it’s finally not a million degrees out and immediately get rained on. I regret nothing as it is important to see the outside world for at least 20 minute on a work-from-home day.

7:30 p.m.

I meet up with my friend Naima and head in. It’s a full-on scene. Technically this is my very first fashion show, but it’s on what feels like my home turf. The general public can and is encouraged to buy tickets so it’s more of an event than anything else. There are pop-up boutiques, a gif booth, the world’s longest bar line and a station to get all of your measurements taken.

8:10 p.m.

The show starts and it’s actually 10 different labels showing: A/C Space, Audio Helkuik, Jag & CoKris Harring Apparel GroupNicole WilsonSALTStuzo clothing, The Phluid Project, TomboyX + Squirrel Vs. Coyote, and THÚY Custom Clothier. It’s a mix of incredibly tailored suits for all types of bodies and all types of gender expressions, flowy linen tunics and pants that feel like tropical menocore, ’90s inspired rave wear and a truly great bike short look. The models that are sent down the runway are all races, ages, sizes and orientations.

9:15 p.m.

That was a very long show, I fell in love at least three times and now I need to buy a suit. First fashion show down!


10:30 a.m.

I get into the office late because the Q was majorly delayed this morning and it was physically impossible to get on the first one that came. Haley, Simedar and I spend five minutes talking about how dumb New York is as an idea. Someone points out there’s a nutella cookie on the counter and I decide to treat my emotional wounds with too much sugar.

11 a.m.

The office is a ghost town, between people dashing in and out for shows, working remotely and squeezing in end-of-summer vacations. I get a lot of the task-based stuff done (pay freelancers, update our project management software, send some strongly worded emails). I think/hope we prepared well for fashion week this year. We had two meetings to try to get ahead of everything but also decided that this year everyone will be flexible within reason. There’s no need to stay up till midnight working on a post.

1 p.m.

Amelia turns around her Tory Burch post with lightning speed, Edith finds the photos and we turn it live! Nothing like the rush of timely content!!!

5 p.m.

Maybe it’s the sugar, maybe it’s the fashion week adrenaline, but it is 5 o’clock and we have lost our minds. We get on the topic of tattooing celebrities on our thighs, Haley has busted out her weird animal toys and I keep changing my hair. I’m going to Chromat in a few and feel like this is the day to just go for a fulllllll look. I’m wearing a purple jump suit and more makeup and jewelry than I ever do, but changing from a high bun to a messy low ponytail feels like a true leap into a fashion-forward existence. Haley loans me her incredible white coat and while every part of my always-underdressed soul is screaming for me to take it off, a small voice says, it’s fashion week.


5:50 p.m.

Eliz and I arrive at the Chromat show after a quick walk (that girl can walk). There’s a lot of street style hullabaloo and when a nice guy asks to take my photo I say YES. Fashion week has turned me into a whole new woman!! It was a weird process but whatever, I’m an old pro by the time we meet up with Simon and he snaps my photo for this here diary. We’re in line for about 30 minutes but it goes quickly because there is just so much to see, so many people to watch.

6:20 p.m.

After a somewhat confusing line situation and an elevator ride that set off my anxiety (made an iPhone note: “Play about fashion people stuck in an elevator???” I don’t think it’s a hit), we get into the space. In the rush to find our seats I see one Whoopi Goldberg and feel beyond blessed.

6:50 p.m.

The show is over and it was so fun! Once again we were blessed with a gorgeous mix of models including Ericka Hart, whose hair I’m copying immediately. Their swimsuits and sunglasses and beads almost made me sad that summer is over, but I now have some full looks to dream about for the next 10 months or so.

7:15 p.m.

Back in the office to send the final end-of-day editorial email and check in on some things before running off to surprise my friend who just got engaged!! Feeling very happy and grateful for this day.


10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Very chill morning, made some breakfast, did some reading, wrote for myself, went to the gym, ate a second breakfast, took a shower and put my “look” together.

1-2 p.m.

Getting ready for the Christian Siriano show and am VERY excited. I got to talk to him ever-so-briefly earlier this year and love not only the stuff that he makes but the people he casts. Also hoping to see my tall sister Leslie Jones.

Feeling a bit of an emotional hangover from pushing myself outside of my comfort zone (amazing what the right coat can do), so I just threw on the Levi’s from this story, a black turtleneck and some dad sneakers. Feeling very much in my comfort zone, I left, giving myself 20 more minutes than Google maps told me I needed because of the raggedy-ass MTA.

2:15 p.m.

The Q isn’t coming for 17 minutes. The B isn’t running at all. I remember how much fun I had in Baltimore earlier this year and briefly imagine what Baltimore Nora is doing right at this very moment.

2:32 p.m.

The train is beyond crowded but I push myself on because I can’t be late. I hope that all of my I’ll-wait-for-the-next-one karma has been stored up for this very moment. Texting with Haley and Em to let them know I’ll be late-late. Because, oh, guess what? This late-ass Q is now running local instead of express. A 3-year-old-girl is pummeling her older brother while their dad plays a phone game. Her brother pushes her and she falls on my shoes, the dad finally looks up. I double check that I’ve registered to vote.

4:17 p.m.

I finally meet Emily outside in line. We have standing tickets and Haley has a seat so she already went in. We chat, see Tiffany Hadish walk in (she ready, I mumble enthusiastically to myself) and I think Carmen Electra? It is raining and the line is outside.

4:23 p.m.

No room at the inn! Someone tells one person at the front of the line that we all have to go home and it quickly becomes the world’s saddest/grouchiest game of telephone. Em and I are both a little bummed and decide to just head home rather than wait to see people exit. I get back on the Q train, it is running as it should.

I’m a little annoyed and frustrated and the high of last night’s New York magic has worn off. The afternoon was stressful, challenging, disappointing and no one likes to feel like they’re being left out. It felt like what I was nervous would happen (“mmm you’re not cool!”) happened and I know it’s not personal and I know it’s not an actual big deal but I’m just…over it.

5:20 p.m.

Grab some groceries on the walk home, come back to send a few emails, update a few headlines and check in on everyone else. My ticket for Pyer Moss is standing also and I’m feeling a little Eeyore-ish and think about skipping it. My friend Morgan’s birthday is tonight and so is my friend Michelle’s goodbye and I could use the extra energy/hours. But I ultimately decide against ditching. So I eat too much cheese, sigh and put on my shoes, and head out the door. Feel free to bookmark that as an inspirational quote.

Pyer Moss

6:30 p.m.

The show is in Brooklyn at the Weeksville Heritage Center so I splurge on a Lyft since it’s kind of close. I get there and just like that, I’m back in it. Roughly 98% of the people outside are black and there are some fantastic outfits. I bump into my new pal Simon who was smart enough to wear a rain poncho. We wait in line for a bit which gives me ample time to covet the Pyer Moss sweatshirts the staff and crew are wearing. There are also staff members with shirts that say “If You’re Just Hearing About Pyer Moss We Forgive You.” I’ll take two. I don’t know anyone but it’s fine, because I’m just happy to be there.

7 p.m.

I walk into the space and it’s amazing. It is full on raining so it’s a bit of a bummer that it’s outside but very much worth it. I wander over to the back where the historic houses are. Which, I feel like I should explain something here: I LOVE historic homes and historic house tours. Like 80% of my personality is loving historic homes. These particular historic homes are the Hunterfly Road Houses , built at the height of Weeksville’s time as a thriving free black community in the 19th and early 20th century. Okay. Back to fashion. Shaun Ross is here! I think MJ Rodriguez is here too! Karruche is for sure here!

7:15 p.m.

A jazz quartet walks out. They’re all dressed in white and posted up to the side of the houses: I’m about to witness some black excellence, I think to myself. I’m standing by the stage manager and hear her say “the choir is coming out now” into a headset. Which, okay, sorry to keep doing this — I LOVE choirs, and while we’re here on this historic black site about to watch a black designer send black models down the runway while a jazz quartet plays, I watch this choir come out and think about how much being in choir helped shaped my identity and community and realize that, at this moment, it feels a bit like a community, and I get in my feelings, just a little bit. What would it have been like to see this future for myself? What is it like to grow up now with all these infinite ways to be black and successful?

8ish p.m.

The show is over and it was incredible. Yellow pleather overalls, a yellow mesh dress that I would not be surprised to see on MR sometime in the future, gorgeous pleated pants, amazing graphic prints and a gospel choir that swag surf-ed. I would see a look and think of a black actor it would be perfect for, or a friend (I’m matchmaking Crystal and those pleather overalls for sure). It just felt special.

It’s been a rough couple of news days, so standing in that space in awe of all that we do and all that we create was the first time I truly felt what it means for fashion to transcend clothing or magazines or trends. To be at the heart of how fashion can be the start of a conversation or even a feeling.

There was a cookout, with Hennesy, duh, but I decided to leave on a high note. I turned around to look at the Hunterfly Houses all lit up as an amazing 90s R&B mix floated out from the party and I remember why I love New York. That all parts of myself are given a place to thrive, to be seen. That in three days you can see different pieces of what matter to you reflected back in all of the crazy glory of the city at its most insane. I’m signing off to celebrate a friend and say goodbye to another, to give thanks for this city and the people that fill it.

Feature photo by Simon Chetrit

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor is the Editor of Clever. She can frequently be found knocking things over in the greater New York City area.

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