Everyone with any kind of smartphone is a photographer. I’m one, you’re one, and that lady taking your order right now at that fast food chain is one too. Though there is no denying that image sharing is great, I do believe there are moments when one should simply put their phones down and enjoy what is happening around them — and one of those moments would be at the shows during Fashion Week.
Runway etiquettes are rewritten in today’s phonecentric, celebrity-obsessed world; a world where we want to document fashion as it happens, whether through countless shots of a show venue, a boomerang of the opening look, or a Snapchat story of a finale. But aren’t our digital frenzy habits getting a little too out of hand? Sometimes I wish we could all just put our phones down and immerse ourselves in a designer’s universe, appreciate something that a team of people have spent months planning and executing, and actually do our jobs of looking at the details, studying them and later, reporting on them. Instead, everyone in attendance appears to be less interested in observing the collections closely and more concerned about creating visuals at that very moment for the rest of the world to ‘like’, that they end up leaving a show feeling like they didn’t actually see it. The moment you click away while a show is happening, you disconnect yourself from what is going on, and you end up not paying attention to the collection presented before you. I know this first hand, because I too am guilty of whipping my phone out, and stretching my arms to insta-shoot before the first model even makes her presence onstage. After all, as a publication you have a responsibility to keep readers and followers in the loop, giving them full insight on what you are seeing the moment you are seeing it.
I try to limit this to just the opening and the finale. And in between, while i’m straining my neck trying to look over the outstretched arms of the Editor next to me, I realised how uneasy it felt to be the only one not having my phone out the entire time— I felt, surprisingly, like an outcast. There’s something eerie about sitting in a crowd where everyone has mentally disconnected. Could the fear of missing out (#fomo) on social media be so much more important than actually missing out on what is happening in real life? Does the real action really happen on your smartphone, and is it worth putting in all that effort to get to the shows, only to be viewing it with the rest of the world via your screens? All I can say is let the photographers do their jobs and concentrate on the show. I promise you, your experience would be that much better. #BringBackFashionWeek