the best week of my life and the second best week of my life both revolved around a bi-yearly event. fashion week in seoul. for 5 days I am whisked away to another plane of existence, a glimpse into what it would be like to be a sought-after celebrity.
The moment you arrive to the destination of fashion, photographers come running around the corner, capturing you in your stride. new blood. big long lenses, rapid fire clicks, more footsteps as the sounds firing only attract more photographers. we are in the wild.
I am surrounded. a crowd draws a crowd. “who could she be?” “is that Agyness Deyn?” “she’s so beautiful” “she must be important”. murmurs, whispers, heads turn and eyes are locked on me wherever I move. don’t let them catch you eating, that’s unattractive.
I smile and wave, I survey all the cameras on me, which angles are best? where to look? I have to practice my stance, I am not used to the paparazzi yet. I smile too much and it makes my face look fat. I look too happy, don’t show them how happy you are to have your photo taken. sullen and serious is always more sexy and mysterious.
they thank me, I thank them. we mutually benefit each other. I provide a subject to photograph, they provide me with an inflated ego and feed my vanity. I love to play pretend, I pretend I am somebody. you’re somebody when everybody wants to take your photo, right? the most important thing is to look good, that’s all you need to worry about at fashion week. if only every week of the year I could spend prioritizing my outfits, planning for 5 days at a time.
existentially speaking, the crowd of collective photographers prove my existence. they want to take my photo, so now I can exist. I will exist on harddrives, SD cards, street style blogs and Facebook posts. people will look at me on their computer screens and mobile phones. they are spreading the news: I exist. and I’m wearing a cute dress, smiling too much.
I flash a badge, and I have access to everything. power. no one questions the blonde girl in the sea of koreans. “she must be somebody”. press, a buyer, a model. one of those maybe. but I am nobody. I am not taking photos on a giant dslr, I am not writing articles, I have no money to buy anything. I am simply there to soak in the world. to watch styled and shaped fitted fabric hang from attractive korean bodies like art pieces, walk past me in a line.
nothing makes me feel cooler than being backstage, seeing behind the scenes. with the appearance of my badge welcomes a nod and open hand, giving me access to everything that most people don’t see. I feel important. nobody questions me, if I play it cool.
vanity and power. 5 days, all I have to do is look cool and play the part. people take my photo, let me go wherever I want to go and I get to be surrounded by beautiful stylish people all day. fashion, photography, art. creative people and beautiful people. it’s one big lame circle-jerk of a utterly pointless art form. it’s just clothes. clothes that you won’t wear, mostly. let’s get serious, no one is solving a world crisis at any fashion week. but let’s pretend for a moment we live in a perfect world. that world is a bubble of beauty and it’s called seoul fashion week. I love it.
after parties, mini concerts, drinking, swag bags, selfies in the front row, skipping lines, press tent, free drinks, seeing lie sang bong at every turn (he’s a really friendly guy!), running between venues, catching shows, making friends, networking, and wondering “which k-pop star is that?” is happening rapid fire without a moment to catch your breath.
I leave the premises, and I am back in reality. no one cares about my outfit, no one is taking my picture, everyone is ugly and wearing sneakers, crammed together on the subway. I have to follow the rules now. I am exhausted and have a handful of business cards I don’t know what to do with. I miss the smoking area with all the male models. I miss looking at them and I miss them looking at me.
a naver blog crowned me “korea’s agyness deyn” under a particularly ill-timed uncute photo. I’ll take what I can get though. If you ask to take my photo I will always say yes. I want to exist. I want to be somebody, even if it’s just pretending.