Every year, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) graces the streets of Manhattan, complete with complimentary cocktails, a surplus of high fashion designers and models, and a glamour-filled runway. This year, IVY and Entrepreneur Magazine co-hosted a special New York Fashion Week experience featuring award-winning television journalist, entrepreneur and social activist Jessica Abo.
The Metropolitan Pavilion West was buzzing with excitement as people from all walks of life gathered in anticipation to witness Jessica Abo’s spin on NYFW. After a few cocktails, Luna Bars and mochi graciously sponsored by the Style360 lounge, the show kicked off with a special performance by Broadway singer and actor Jonah Platt. In line with this year’s theme of empowerment and redefining fashion and beauty, his musical medley comprised of a combination of hit inspiring singles, including “Eye of Tiger” and “Lose Yourself.”
After the musical number, Jessica Abo reappeared on stage for the moment the crowd had been waiting for. Both a visionary and author of Unfiltered: How To Be As Happy As You Look On Social Media, Jessica had dreamt of creating a platform to bridge the gap between the entrepreneurial world and the fashion world. Her 15-year old vision in conjunction with her new novel emphasizes the ways in which we are all guilty of the “compare and despair” concept by looking at the lives and experiences of others through fancy filters and picturesque highlights.
In an attempt to showcase life behind filters and to offer a judgement free zone, Jessica brought together a room full of brilliant and motivating entrepreneurs, innovators, influencers, and visionaries who represent that one does not need to conform to a certain image, income bracket, or ideology to be beautiful or inspirational. Many notable individuals, including IVY Founder Beri Meric powerfully walked the runway sporting their respective motivational mantras. Phrases such as “Obstacles are Opportunities,” “Build like a Boss,” “Equality Matters” and “Amplify your Activism,” among 30 others, indubitably encouraged the crowd to clearly see this year’s theme: feel good from the inside out.
Unlike conventional fashion shows, Jessica’s runway show is a refreshing celebration of real people and frankly, the direction in which fashion should lead. Historically, critics have examined the ways in which NYFW (in addition to its sisters, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and London Fashion Week) focus on unrealistic beauty standards and body dysmorphic issues that are prevalent in the fashion world and consequently trickle into the way society thinks about beauty. However, as evident by entrepreneurs like Jessica, the fashion industry continues to evolve, partly due to technological advancement, but also a shift in mentality and cultural expectations. Jessica not only highlights the ways in which we all are connected, despite our respective struggles and insecurities, but she also stresses that in a world where our social media accounts and number of likes, comments and reshares (or lack thereof) are akin to our self-worth, in reality we are all a work in progress. This is what fashion should be: for the people, made up of real people.