How far will you go for fashion?

Most of us who are style and fashion bloggers are just ever-so-slightly obsessed with our aspect of fashion, be it couture, high street, looks-for-less, vintage, DIY, passion for shoes, Japanese style, gothic, gyaru, mori, dolly kei etc.

For many, too, going to Fashion Week is the highlight of the year, the must-do above all must-do’s. I know of those in the the US who have braved blizzards, delayed flights, long train rides etc just to get there. In Australia we don’t really have extreme conditions, so this isn’t an issue, but in other countries, variable conditions persist which can make or break a Fashion Week.

I, for the first time, was going to a few shows at a Fashion Week, and was extremely excited, to say the least. I planned exciting and cutting edge outfits as befitting the fashion-forward city it was in, cramming my luggage full to the brim.

Which Fashion Week was it? Japan Fashion Week, in Tokyo. Yeah.

The earthquake occurred on the Friday. My flight left on the Monday, in the morning. What to do?

As I had a 3 day stopover in Seoul, I decided to continue on with my trip, not knowing finally where I would end up, but in my head knowing I’d always end up in Tokyo failing something pretty spectacular.  A series of sensationalist headlines and stories by western media kept me alarmed  –  “70% chance of a big quake occurring again in the first 7 days”, “Nuclear Meltdown Imminent”, “Foreigners Fleeing” etc..

It was enough to make me stay in Seoul a few days longer, each morning glued to my laptop for the latest news. Hoping against hope, I kept waiting for the news to simmer down, so I’d feel OK about continuing on to Fashion Week. After all, years earlier I’d been in Fiji during the political struggles, and I went shopping in Suva THE DAY OF THE COUP, and had no trouble whatsoever (smiling army guys with guns waved the bus through the checkpoints). I still have two great skirts and some Indian jewellery I bought that day, and some pleasant memories. 

But friends who’d lived in Tokyo and knew how far it was from the affected areas, were counselling me not to go, as was my government. Meanwhile, those who elected to stay in Japan were adamant that the western media was over-sensationalising the situation in Tokyo itself.  So I was truly perplexed. But it’s FASHION WEEK, dammit!! Was it really forbidden fruit, or a perfectly edible apple?

And then Japan Fashion Week was cancelled. Oh, the devastation.

What to do now? I could cancel the rest of the trip – or make the best of a bad situation. So I checked out the fashion and sights of Seoul. Then I thought, bugger it, why not fly into Osaka? It’s still Japan, and I’ll get to keep up with the latest fashion offerings, see some gigs and meet up with friends.  And so I did.

In Seoul and Osaka I bought some great faux-leather biker jackets in bright colours like turquoise and pink, and fantastic bright platform shoes.  I saw bands I otherwise never would have, found great neighbourhoods, meet new people.  After a few days in Osaka, and with Tokyo friends assuring me the inner city was perfectly liveable if a bit quieter than normal, I decided to fly on. And had a really enjoyable, if too brief, time.

Would I have even left Australia had Fashion Week been cancelled earlier? Possibly not. As I go to Tokyo each year anyway, I do think I would have postponed the trip. But as it happened straight after the quake, I had no time to think.

I certainly wouldn’t have packed absurd things like my silver brocade turban, Chrome Rats (right) or D Squared spine heel shoes (see my hanging rack of clothes-for-Japan-fashion-week here).

For me, fashion and travel are often largely combined. Especially in the case of a Fashion Week or some other style event, the need to be there becomes more important. In the end, it was a belief that my safety wouldn’t be compromised by being there for a short time, that made me go. 

But I may well have postponed, as I said, had there not been the many fashion events initially lined up. The invitations now coming in for the various designers’ fashion shows that have been rescheduled leave a bitter taste in my mouth, as I cannot pick up and go again later this month or next. The finances need to recover, so even the JFW later this year is out. Ah well, maybe next year….

But enough of me. What about you? Have you ever had to reconsider or change plans involving fashion, due to unforeseen events? Did the love of fashion have any bearing on your decision? Do you travel far in your pursuit of fashion blogging or marketing opportunities, or Fashion Week?  What hardships have you endured or be willing to endure, for a Fashion Week? How far would you go for fashion?