Fashion Week’s “Bad” Behavior and Little Acts of Kindness

Fashion Week, like wedding planning, brings out the best, and the worst, in people.  After dozens of seasons covering the tents and runway shows, I have seen people do the most outrageous things.  One wonders why, in the glare (literally) of the spotlights, people behave so badly.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that Fashion Week is a very, very long week. People get physically and mentally very tired. Like little children, they get cranky when faced with too many days of little food, aching feet, and endless lines and snafus.  But the rules of etiquette and kindness that (most) people are taught as children, still apply.  If you treat someone with respect and kindness it will come back to you, crossed legs out onto the runway, and into the camera lens of every photographer on the riser. And the people in the rows behind then. who, when the show starts, reach high over their heads to “get their videos,” effectively blocking everyone else around them from seeing or getting photos, too.

Here are a few of my favorite fashion week bad behavior moment (feel free to comment and leave your own):

The Italian video crew who literally knocked me out while rushing to get to the best spot: I will never forget you, and I have made sure to recount what you did literally every fashion week season, since.  These guys believed that only they were entitled to be on the riser, not a beauty/fashion writer with a Nikon D90, but  over the years I have earned the right.

The “entitled guest” who bellows: “Don’t you know who I AM?!!!” and treats the clipboard girls or security like they’re dirt  when s/he doesn’t get what they want (usually trying to crash a party or a show).

The front row “guests” who feel it’s more than ok to stick their legs out into the runway and into the camera lens of every photographer on the riser. And the people in the rows behind them, who immediately lift their cameras and phones high into the air to “catch their videos” effectively blocking the view (and the photos/videos) of everyone else behind and around them.

Obvious crashers (and they’re not all kids) who are there only to grab goodie bags and freebies from lounges — and then take two or three bags more, just because they feel they can.  One man famously took the goodie bags off every single row of a show before it started, and then disappeared with them!

And finally, there is the stylish young man who was in standing room, who literally pushed me out if his way and down the stairs at one of the runway shows in the tents, to collective gasps of the people around us.  I wasn’t hurt, just stunned. When I picked myself and my purse off the floor and said “you could have really hurt me or someone else just trying to steal a front row seat you weren’t even assigned,” he sniped: “Honey, I’d KILL my mother for a front row seat.”  Guess mom didn’t teach him very well!

But then there are those moments of kindness that make you feel much better:
The security guard who smiles and says “how’re doing?” even though he’s been standing in the same place for hours.

The person who willingly exchanges a seat with you because you wanted to sit with a friend, or photograph from the aisle for your web site.

The young woman with a clip board who doesn’t treat you like you’re somehow, inferior, when you ask a question or she can’t immediately find your name on the list.

Jenny and David, my hair rock stars!

One true act of kindness came from the professionals at the Cutler Salon on 57th Street in Manhattan.  Rodney Cutler has been featured in top national and regional consumer publications and television programs and he is always seen on television and backstage at the hottest shows at Fashion week.  The people who work at his salon are also gifted, and very much in demand. They’re very busy professionals, but two of them, my hair color guru David Stanko, and Super Hair Stylist Jenny Balding, made the time to accommodate my literally, last-minute need for beautifying, even though it was the day before Fashion Week.  I have written about David Stanko many times, and I’m a walking billboard for the hair color he creates on my head. Hardly a week goes by that I’m not stopped by a total stranger, or the quality of the work he does is mentioned by another professional hair stylist. And Jenny Balding, whom I’ve met only previously backstage at fashion week, agreed to cut my hair even though I didn’t have an appointment. Jenny’s beautiful work can be seen on my head in lots of photos these days (just visit me on Facebook and on Instagram (advicesisters).   This seasoned stylist has been showcasing her talents backstage at Fashion Week shows for years, and has been featured in publications including American Salon and television programs including Extra! and Good Day New York.  She took the time out to work her magic on me after I’d been out of town for months and had the shaggy hair to prove it.  These acts of kindness are the things that help make life easier and more satisfying (not to mention more beautiful).

Every season I promise myself that I won’t let nasty behavior upset me. I try to watch it, detached and with amusement at how low some people will go to be self important.  But in the end, it will backfire, because if you act like a jerk you will be captured on someone’s video or photo doing something you aren’t going to be proud of. And, you will be in the glare of public scrutiny. Fashion Week is just that…one week.  These are fashion shows, not life and death brain surgery.  So paste on a smile, and be as polite and tolerant as you can.

…and if you see me at the tents, please say “HI!”

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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