If you have a young child and you’re involved in the fashion industry, you probably want to scream and pull your hair out this week, both Fashion Week and the first week of school. Realizing what a bitch these two yearly milestones can be, the New York Times wrote about both in shockingly similar articles. Our findings: Enrolling your child at a private kindergarten and landing a front-row seat to an anticipated show are equally trying tasks. Here’s why:
From the Times (Think the editors know their audience? Uh huh.):
As the new school year begins, another annual rite of Manhattan education commences: the crush of applicants to private nursery schools and kindergartens, many of which make applications for the following school year available the day after Labor Day.
So parents swamped the schools’ Web sites and phone lines on Tuesday, reloading and redialing until they got through, and in some cases even turning in the paperwork before noon.
The Trinity School on the Upper West Side interviews 400 students for 60 slots.
Epiphany Community nursery school opened its applications at 8 a.m. yesterday; by 9 a.m., 350 applications had been filed for 30 slots, and there was a waiting list to get an application.
Bright and early Monday morning (Labor Day, though you wouldn’t know it), every seat in the offices of the fashion publicist Paul Wilmot was filled with a young account executive whose holiday weekend was being disrupted by the mechanics of New York Fashion Week, which begins on Thursday. At one table, the designer Naeem Khan was personally overseeing, with a team of three publicists, where each of the 872 guests will sit at his runway show on Sept. 16 at Lincoln Center.
Seating is personal, and there aren’t spaces to spare.
The most obvious similarity: There are too few seats to satisfy the masses both in kindergarten and at Fashion Week.
Demand trumps supply by a long shot in both cases. How many New York moms would sacrifice their children’s slots in kindergarten for a front-row seat at Marc Jacobs? Wait, don’t answer that. Vice-versa? Don’t answer that, either.
Both Fashion Week and NYC kindergartens have been through major shake-ups this year, complicating matters more-so than usual.
Fashion Week’s seating complication? One word: Bloggers. We’re a force to be reckoned with — move over, Anna Wintour.
The kindergarten equivalent of fashion bloggers: budget cuts and more children. Fewer seats + more bodies = simple mathematics. And then there is Tavi Gevinson, who started her hugely popular and influential fashion blog, Style Rookie, at 11 — practically in kindergarten! She may even land as many front-row seats as Anna; after all, anyone can see clearly over her head.
In both cases, these factors turn otherwise normal people into absolutely crazy people.
Preparation for kindergarten tests and interviews is fit for a reality show akin to Toddlers and Tiaras minus the flippers (those creepy fake teeth). But maybe worse. Meanwhile, Fashion Week is a pageant by nature — runway shows, interviews with designers, media coverage of every intricacy. It’s an intense celebration of the latest season’s most beautiful clothing and the beautiful people who wear it, but judgment abounds both by and of the audience via the seating chart — a stressor for any designer or fashion editor worth his or her weight in ad dollars. Editors, bloggers, and designers attending or hosting Fashion Week shows tend to themselves as carefully as the most extreme stage-mother primps her young’un.
At least at Fashion Week, the booze flows freely after the shows, quelling people’s rattled nerves and hurt feelings. That’s when people can take out their proverbial flippers and imbibe, though eating is less widely acceptable. Kindergarten rejects have it the worst; sometimes even Juicy Juice can’t take the edge off.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 8, 2010