Capsule Mannequin

The Future of Home in NYC

The Business of Home invited me to speak at this event they held during Fashion Week in New York City.

For those of you who know me, I treat fashion as a fuzzy concept. I’ve worn skinny jeans, regularly for a time, but I’ve also been found sliding into flip flops with socks. I still get a bit twitchy around any of our “fashion” clients because I wonder if I’m wearing the right article of clothing. Yet, I co-authored this book and these really nice people invited me to New York City – it makes sense that I’d go. And, I’m endlessly curious.

A bit more background is required to set the scene. I grew up in rural Wisconsin, between railroad tracks and a pair of lakes. Fashion, as a word, takes on an entirely different meaning when you’re walking around one of the largest cities in the world. I expected to see photoshoots taking place on numerous corners, runways setup down the middle of streets and beautiful people just walking around the city. Instead, there were people dressed in Cheeto bags.

I’ve been to New York and seen people wearing fashions that make me whisper “couldn’t wear that in Minnesota” to myselft. So, part of me also expected to see an exaggeration of those fashion moments, at least a few times. The world of “fashion as art” and how it reflects on our personal identity is not lost on me. I’ve been a fan of Andy Warhol since I’ve known his origin story. So, while my personal aesthetic doesn’t point my nose upward, I’m intellectually curious about human behavior, art and identity.

So, there I am running around to events, office buildings for meetings and the occasional stop at Eataly (just because). The only photoshoot observed was on the stairs at the Oculus Plaza and it didn’t look terribly legit. The only real runway was a glimpse of what was happening at Hudson Yards.

I was told it would be harder to get a hotel, Ubers or cabs – I got my hotel on HotelTonight, all my Ubers showed up in less than 4 minutes. And the beautiful people? They’re always all around in New York. Fashion Week for me was a speech, a lot of meetings and not much of what anyone would classify as a “fashion moment.”

In fact, if I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have noticed.

This is an indication of how much the organism of New York City can consume and still conduct business. This brings us to the other overlapping event – the anniversary of 9/11 and the impact a handful of angry zealots can have on a city. This anniversary was more present in the city than Fashion Week which restores a bit of confidence in humanity.

Our personal identity, art, and the expressions of fashion are an essential piece in reflecting the culture that ties us together. Yet, we also need to acknowledge and fiercely remember those who have died at the hands of those that would substitute creative expression for oppressive convention . We are a melting pot of people seeking freedoms not given elsewhere. We are abundantly accepting of other cultures, belief systems and behaviors. But, we are not a symbol of evil or a place to attack because we allow these freedoms to thrive.

Therefore, on the same island, we have Fashion Week along with a memorial to the victims of a hate filled crime against the freedoms that Fashion Week exemplifies. We live in a beautiful place, worthy of all that we love.

Thank you New York City for always making me feel at home.

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