Who’s New on Fashion Week’s Front Rows
In the last few years there’s been a big shift in who gets the coveted seats. It’s a word we all hate but dare we say . . . influencer?
When it comes to front row seating, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has its own Kremlinology: Who is there, and why . . . and who the heck is that? Ultimately, the seating is a study in power—who has it, who’s getting it.
When NYFW began in the 1940s, the front row went only to the press. That has changed. Gradually socialites, celebrities, stylists, and buyers were added to the mix. Then came the 2020s—and yet another shift. Media influencers—particularly from the reigning platform, TikTok—have muscled (or more accurately, eyeballed) their way into the prime seats.
In February 2020, the event’s producer IMG handed over social media handles @NYFW, @FashionWeek, and @MADE to TikTok creators @Cosette, @Ghosthoney and @Tayhage.The trio became front row staples all season.
Cosette currently boasts over 2 million followers on TikTok while Ghosthoney—Tyler Gaca—has around 2.9 million. Tayhage, aka Taylor Hage, is known for her luxury fashion content, and has amassed over 1.6 million followers.
And although TikTok is ascendant, Instagram stars like Greivy, Christian Bendek, Moti Ankari, Caroline Vazzana and Lyn Slater are also front row regulars. Greivy, who has about 75,000 followers and attended shows for Christian Siriano, Son Jung Wan and Libertine, notes, “It’s all about the viral influencer, the attention they can attract on their social pages.”
Bendek and Ankari are two of the most in-demand menswear influencers in New York—Bendek partnering with brands like Tod’s and Manolo Blahnik and Ankari with Barbour and Tom Ford Beauty. Vazzana—described as a millennial Carrie Bradshaw for her eclectic, indeed fizzy, approach to style—has occupied a prime spot for almost a decade.
Slater is one of the few big names who has multi-generational appeal. Describing herself as an “accidental icon”—her Instagram handle—she was a social worker for 45 years before becoming a content creator, model and cultural influencer. This March sees the publication of her first book, How To Be Old: Lessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon. Let’s just say that you won’t see her in a leisure suit.
The rise of the influencer doesn’t mean traditional celebrities have faded into the background. In September 2023, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett attended Pamella Roland’s show. The Blonds front row featured actor Colton Haynes, Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame, and Carmit from The Pussycat Dolls, while Prabal Gurung saw Lori Harvey, Awkwafina, and Maddie Ziegler in the coveted positions.
Curating a guest list is strategic. Matthew Cancel, a longtime publicist who’s worked on events ranging from NYFW after parties to the Met Gala—in addition to representing talent—said, “I’ve had clients who shoot for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair, but still get declined for attendance at New York Fashion Week. A-list stars can get declined because they weren’t considered a ‘look’ for a particular show. Shows only have a certain capacity, and I’m just reminded of a quote I heard: ‘Even Julia Roberts loses roles to Meryl Streep.’”
NYFW, scheduled for February 9 to 14 this season, will see new (ish) kids in town—TikTok stars with gazillions of followers.
Look out for Deanna Giuletti, originally an actress in films like Legally Blonde, Sister Act, and Heathers, who began posting you-go-girl TikToks on fashion, relationships and beauty on TikTok that soon went viral.
Remi Bader started out in music production, but after getting laid off from Jay-Z’s Tidal in 2020, turned to social media content creation. Bader—one of the biggest proponents of size inclusivity in the fashion industry—is an industry favorite with brand ambassadorships for Victoria’s Secret and Revolve.
Twenty-four-year-old Eli Rallo’s strong Gen Z following is appealing to labels looking to attract that demographic. Davis Burleson’s man-on-the-street interviews have earned him over 559,000 followers on TikTok and his own radio show on Sirius XM.
Kennedy Eurich has long been a fashion lover, has now amassed over 2 million followers on social media, and also has her own line of pet accessories. As the fashion industry continues to embrace her, she’ll be a regular presence at more shows.
The front row, like fashion itself, is constantly evolving. Actual training in retail or journalism is very optional. Needed now? A strong opinion, a bunch of viral videos, and a dream.
Hero photo by Jojo Korsh/BFA.com