Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC was a whilwind of a week. From walking more than I’ve ever walked in my life and getting lost in China Town, to morning trips to little cafés with black Cocker Spaniels named Orca (like the whale) and fashion show upon fashion show, this might sound like your Fashionista’s average trip to NYC, but in the contrary, it wasn’t an average trip to NYC and I definitely wasn’t there for average reasons.
For a 23 year old, fashion lover & missionary - attending fashion week was (in my opinion) the perfect way for me to purposely go out and share my Lord’s love and light in whatever ways I could. It wasn’t all about the shopping or the sight-seeing, the food or the clubs, but it was about making meaningful relationships and interacting with the people we met every day… from models to designers and bloggers to celebrities. Every person counts. Every opportunity counts.
Fashion week consisted of many things, but nothing quite as much as the number of attempts we made to enter the tents and fashion shows without a single ticket or pass. It’s a miracle that throughout the five days of my being there, I was in and out of the tents probably four times a day or so, and only once was I turned away. Keep in mind that at all times there were three security guards allowing or denying access to the tents, with three NYPD closely off to the side. Talk about security! (And this was only for the front entrance!) And somehow we spent most of our time in the tents, talking with people, praying for people, and getting into shows and even backstage where we were able to pray for models and remind them that they’re beautiful. I truly believe that without the help of Jesus this would not have happened. How could it? I find it funny too, that there was a sign at the entrance saying “Private Event. Ticket holders only.” I love being reminded of my Lord’s sense of humour. We share that in common.
That was just the first thing that stands out to me from fashion week. It might seem a bit simple and not all that exciting, but in reality, for us girls who spent most of our time looking for ways to share love inside the tents, this was crucial. We still would have done fine if we hadn’t got inside, but being inside the tents made our reason for being there even more significant.
On my third day I was asked to be a dresser at one of the shows of-site. This was my first show dressing at and I was a little nervous, but was sort of thinking in my head “I get dressed every day, how hard can it be?” I had been hoping that I’d get a lot of time with my model, praying that I’d get enough time to talk and pray with her. Once we got our model assignments, I was surprised to find out that I was given two models to dress. The dressing supervisor was so understanding, and even spent time with me, (being a newbie and all) going over details of the outfits and answering any questions. Bless her soul! I needed the help.
Then, there was about half an hour break before the models were going to be done hair & makeup and ready to be dressed, so this gave me the perfect chance to get to know the girl who was dressing beside me. I’ll call her Silvia from Spain. As we talked we learned quite a bit about each other and what brought us to Fashion Week. For her, she had studied at FIT in NYC and loved fashion week enough to come back and volunteer. That’s when I got to tell her why I was there. I also got to tell her about doing a DTS in Los Angeles last year and about the time I spent in South Africa doing missionary work. She was so excited to hear about my life and what I believe in. She even said that if she wasn’t married and planning a family, that she would want to be doing the same thing. Isn’t that amazing?
It’s at that point in our conversation that the models showed up to be dressed. What an experience! My models were both stunningly beautiful girls. One from Peru and one from the USA (pictures below). Trying to dress two girls at the same time is difficult, plus these girls were in such a hurry I wasn’t getting any time to talk with them. All I could get out before they ran off to have their pictures taken is that they were beautiful. That’s it… but as far as I see it, that might be all I needed to say. I prayed for them while they walked, asking God to send other Christian dressers to them. Oh, and I can’t forget that Silvia helped me get my models dressed. Thank you Silvia!
After the show, Silvia and I exchanged names, promising to keep in touch. But unfortunately I haven’t been able to find her on Facebook yet. So I keep hoping and praying that one day we’ll re-unite. I still have so much more to share with her!
The rest of the week was full of meeting people, great conversations, and praying for the people of fashion week. I got to share about Models for Christ with a girl from the Teen Vogue Lounge who is a modeland aspiring singer/songwriter. When I told her about it she was so excited! She had recently been starting to go to church on and off, but was really looking for a solid group of people she could learn from and have community with! It was so good to be able to share with her about what they do and why I do what I do, and just to be able to encourage her and remind her that she is truly beautiful. Us girls really worked the Teen Vogue lounge models, chatting them up as much as possible… the other girls from my team talked to two other models about Models for Christ and they were really excited about it too! Thank you Lord for oportunity!
Half way through the week I spent some time just feeling out the atmosphere of the Lincoln Centre… in the tent, outside the tent, and just in general and I became so aware of how guarded everyone there was. There was a huge sense of pride, barriers, walls, and I even notice it rubbing off on myself. While thinking about this I realized that God was bringing this to my attention so that I would remember that no matter what the people here are bringing in with them -whatever kind of pride, hurts, or loneliness they bring in, it’s my job to share God’s supernatural crazy-kind-of-wonderful Love and Light with everyone I meet. I’m the one he’s counting on to share His love in ways that people don’t usually get unless one of God’s followers shares it with them. So if that means that I need to smile more than the average person, possibly to the point where people think I’m strange - or act uber friendly and say ‘hi’ to everyone I see, then I’ll do just that! I’m not saying that I was great at it the first time around, especially since I’m not normally that talkative and it means going out of my comfort zone… but being aware of this made me really stop and think about how I portray my God, reminding me that I’m representing Him in everything I do.
Reality check, eh?
I have lots of other short stories and I’ll probably share them as I think of them… but for now I hope you get something out of this and that maybe it will be an encouragement of how to share God’s love in places that seem so desperate.