It’s my first day at the ongoing FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week and I don’t know what to wear—a problem that plagues all fashion journalists. A suit or a twinset? Indian or Indo-Western? I always end up choosing comfort over style because I am there to work—attend shows, do interviews, file stories. I tell myself I am there to see and not be seen, and there is a lot to see—from those who look like they are dressed for cocktail hour (at noon) to others who look like baratis in gilt-edged wedding finery.
Over the years, the sartorial dichotomies of fashion weeks have always impressed me—from uber luxury to street, anti-fit to glam goth, alpha masculine to androgynous, you get to see all kinds. I guess that’s what makes the fashion ecosystem an intriguing study: One comes across all kinds of eclectic dressers, whose personalities can be identified instantly through their fashion choices. From a society diva with her latest Birkin bag to an outrageously dressed punk kid itching to get photographed—there are all kinds of vibrant characters, and there are a few “types” that stand out.
Bloggers and influencers
They are the new-age fashion royalty—from being showstoppers to gracing the front row, it’s hard to overlook their importance. They walk in like true divas, clad in the designer’s latest offerings, ready to pose for images and reels. One usually sees them with an entourage comprising a photographer, a talent manager and a makeup artist.
They don’t come cheap; designers have to pay through the nose just to get a post on their Instagram grids and stories. Top Indian fashion bloggers command close to ₹4 lakh to walk for a runway show, and some charge a whopping ₹2 lakh for each Instagram post, while a reel fetches them close to ₹5 lakh. Sometimes, a “barter” deal is struck: one or two decadent outfits and their travel and stay taken care of during the fashion week. Who wouldn’t be an influencer?
You will never see them in a body-con dress. Khadi, linen and other organic fabrics are their go-to picks, often accessorised with a handicraft bag and Kolhapuri flip-flops, minimal makeup, kohl- rimmed eyes and hair worn partly messy. They rarely party but you can see them discussing communism while sipping on an expensive oolong.
Fashion writers and editors
Stressing, fuming, fretting, some avoiding contact with PR professionals and others chasing them for story inputs—editors and writers are the most stressed lot at a fashion week. While the editors-in-chief come perfectly blow-dried for evening shows to “support a friend”, the juniors are likely to be spotted in comfy tees and breezy denims, filing pieces back to back for digital editions.
You get to meet interesting people—maybe even score a potential date. Being photographed by the paps is also on the checklist: Think statement-making tailoring, look-at-me ensembles and unapologetic peacocking. These eccentric and eclectic dressers are the true treasures for any street photographer looking at capturing statement-making shots.
Amateur fashion enthusiasts
These style enthusiasts can be spotted a mile away. Some of them have a peculiarity in terms of overall styling that borders on trying to look like an insider. And some look like they have dressed for a big fat Indian wedding—anarkali silhouettes, shaadi kurtas and juttis.
The society lady
She usually walks in very late and has been dressed by the brand. She also gets the best seat in the front row. She could be a muse or a major client ordering a huge number of pieces. It’s likely she’s wearing one of the outfits that will also be showcased on the runway. Alarmingly confident in front of the camera and with an ability to draw all the attention to herself, she’s usually in a good mood—unless someone spills a glass of wine.