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TikTok debates whether influencers are helping or hurting NYFW

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has dominated runways around the city this week, but many TikTokers are serving up critiques of the iconic event.

NYFW, which happens twice a year, spotlights some of the biggest names in the industry as they debut new clothes, looks and ideas. However, lifestyle influencers descended on this season’s edition, which runs until Wednesday, and the internet is split on whether social media stars belong on the catwalks at all.

On Tuesday, Danny Rayes (@nomoredanny) posted a video to highlight a NYFW show hosted by Creators Inc., a social media firm.

The show featured Paige Niemann (@paigeniemann), a TikToker with more than 10 million followers who is known for looking like pop star Ariana Grande. Niemann’s runway walk for the show was a massive talking point among social media users.

“Dud they not check to see if the influences could walk the outfits first? no one coached Paige,” commented @somethingsly.

In addition to more influencers walking the runway, animal protesters crashed the event, and unauthorized people even trolled the show from the stage itself. This chaos, along with other issues, had some people calling out the presence of influencers at NYFW.

“Fashion Week is dead,” said Taylor Hawkins (@taiilormade), a model and digital creator, in a post from Sept. 10. “Just because somebody has a lot of followers does not mean that they need to be at Fashion Week events. Imma say it. A lot of y’all can’t dress.”

Many commenters to Hawkins’s video agreed and shared their thoughts about how underdressed they thought some of the attendees were.

“I went to a fashion event this week and spent DAYS picking my outfit. And the girls were wearing bridge and tunnel club outfits it was so BAD,” commented @princessrogue.

“I know nothing about fashion, but I do know that you’re supposed to wear a little something more than my average dive-bar-on-a-Friday-night-looking outfit,” said Eri Jay (@eriafterparty) in a post from Sept. 7.

Hawkins’s viewers also claimed that NYFW has lost its allure because it’s arguably not as exclusive as other Fashion Weeks, including those in Paris, Milan and London, the other cities that make up the so-called Big Four.

“​​Paris fashion week replaced NYFW, nyc made it too accessible,” commented @downbad4sun_t_ under Hawkins’s post.

Yet their critiques about what has made NYFW arguably worse are the main reasons why others think having influencers there is a good thing.

Monica Awe-Etuk (@awedbymoni), a lifestyle and fashion creator, posted a video on her TikTok page explaining why people in the industry are taking the wrong stance about influencers at Fashion Week. She noted that once content creators became popular, the front rows of shows were filled by them along with editors.

“The only thing ruined is the status quo,” Awe-Etuk wrote in her video.

“What I want to know is, what do we ruin exactly? The exclusivity? The lack of access?” she said. “If anything, content creators, influencers, have made Fashion Week more accessible.”

New York Fashion Week will return in February 2024, which is less than six months away, and could provide another shift in who gets to shine at the event.

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