I have a confession to make:
I’m afraid of print journalists.
(Kinda sounds like I’m afraid of lactating journalists, but it will do.)
Being that I’m considered in the field of “new media”, I will occasionally get invited to a press event. With magazine writers, newspaper journalists, and the occasional television reporter.
They all always know each other.
As they sip their drinks, they discuss in their journalistic voices,
“Oh hey…remember that time downtown when we were both covering that event and that girl —- “
“Oh yeah! I totally remember that!!”
“Hardy har har!”
Then they notice me, standing alone, talking to no one because I know no one and also because I have a great fear of small-talk, so I’m desperately attempting to be invisible.
“I don’t recognize you. Who are you with?”
“I’m a blogger.”
(they look me up and down with derision and disregard.)
(They look at each other with a knowing look in their eye.)
“I see. So what do you blog about?”
“Well, I have two main blogs. One is Alabama Bloggers, which is a networking site for all of the state’s bloggers. And the other is Grasping for Objectivity, where I write about humor, fashion, random thoughts, and…my kids.”
(They spit their drinks as they choke on their tongue.)
“OH! You’re a …. a …. MOMMY BLOGGER!”
They look at each other again, this time their eyebrows are furiously waggling up and down as they desperately try to pin in their escaping laughter.
…because obviously, Mommy Bloggers are the cockroach of the journalistic profession and all.
Hence, my Journalactophobia.
(Granted, this could all be happening in my seriously paranoid imagination, but it’s happening somewhere, and that’s all that matters to my poor, frail ego.)
So I typically avoid press-filled events, but when I heard about Birmingham Fashion Week, I swallowed my pride and applied for a press pass.
After all, I don’t worship Project Runway for nothing – if there’s going to be a tent with a runway in it – in MY city?? I clearly have to be there.
Even if it means facing my most serious blogging fear.
I almost backed out twice, but Chris kept encouraging me to go, even offering to buy me a regular pass so that I didn’t have to go as “A Member of the Press”.
Since I’m way too cheap to buy a pass when I already have one, he guilted me into it. His evil plan worked.
I arrived and picked up my press credentials, then put my amazing talent of being horrible at small talk to work by sitting in the corner of the media room, trying to look like I was deeply involved in some serious Facebook work on my phone.
Maybe they’ll think I’m being snobby because I’m from some amazingly huge magazine like Elle or Marie Claire.
I saw one lady looking me up and down with derision and judgment.
WHO TOLD HER I WAS A MOMMY BLOGGER!?!?!?
I got back to work on my iPhone to avoid any stares, or worse, overtures of niceness that would certainly end in stifled laughter.
The designers came in and began the media Q & A.
After all questions were answered, we all headed out to the tent for their “Step and Repeat” – a fancy term for them posing for the camera.
Unfortunately, someone wearing an impressive British Fascinator was standing directly in front of my camera, and my camera’s autofocus was completely obsessed with it.
I finally snapped photos of a couple of the designers…
Smith Sinrod of By Smith,
Jeff Garner of Prophetik (right), who had an oddly curious (and quite handsome) resemblance to The Dread Pirate Roberts.
Then came the time to stake my claim in the photo pit, which was really more of a stage than a pit, but I’m not picky.
The tripods and Hulkishly impressive cameras with their attached computers almost made me run away.
Why didn’t I bring a tripod??
And I forgot my zoom lens?? I am such a dweeb.
But the stage was too alluring, and I could almost envision Heidi and Michael sitting in front of me, so I decided to stay.
Also? Miss Alabama USA was one of the judges, and I had to stick around to count the number of stars on her crown.
Thirteen, in case you wondered.
The first set of runway shows were the Emerging Designers, which were college and post-grad students who had earned the right to show a collection of four garments.
My favorites of this set were this dress by Rachel Wallace,
And this absolutely stunning gown by Kelsey Carnes.
I’d remarry Chris if I could wear that dress.
The next set of designers were from the Rising Design Star Challenge, and they were Alabama Junior High and High School students who submitted concepts for garments made out of non-traditional items.
Since the “Unconventional Challenge” on Project Runway is always one of my favorites, I was really looking forward to their creations.
And many of them were quite impressive.
Some of the materials were sheet music,
And, my favorite of the night, ace bandages and their accompanying clippies.
Some of the designers were as young as eleven, and I found myself dreaming about what it would feel like to send a model down a runway, wearing a creation that I made, at eleven years old.
And there was much jealousy in my heart.
The next two collections were from local boutiques. My favorites were from Theadora.
I wanted her skirt,
And her entire outfit.
After the boutique shows, the Featured Designers began their collections.
The first designer, Machteld Schrameijer of Iota, creates unbelievably luxurious one-of-a-kind outerwear. She uses shearling and leather from animals that are being killed for food including deer, goat, lamb, alligator, and ostrich. Originally from The Netherlands, she is now located in Kentucky.
Her pieces were fantastically luxurious.
This piece looked especially familiar. I kept looking at the fabrics used…
then when she turned around, I recognized it: She was wearing my chaise.
Clearly, I need that coat – how cool would it be to match my furniture??
The next designer was Smith Sinrod of By SMITH. She graduated from The University of Alabama in 2009 (thereby making me feel extraordinarily old), and now has her own line headquartered in New York.
She uses hand-woven Thai silk, and had some beautiful and very ready-to-wear pieces.
I loved the bold color combinations she used on many of her garments.
She also created original fabric prints from her own acrylic paintings, giving her guaranteed uniqueness.
The headlining designer was Jeff Garner of Prophetik. He has an impressive operation in Franklin, Tennessee. His entire process is done on site – including growing the garden to create the dyes to use on his all-sustainable fabrics.
He started his show with a flair for the dramatic, having fencers,
Although I wasn’t sure where I would have the opportunity to wear some of his designs,
Others made me want to figure out a place. Right now.
Surely I could get a date to an awards show so I could wear this one, right?? Surely.
The entire evening was spectacular, and being able to attend an actual runway show was quite possibly addicting.
Now if only I could shake my Journalactophobia – but that’s not likely.