Ignored no more, this subset of fashion obsessives has caught the attention of the industry. “I initially heard about this from Andrew [Bolton], and I thought it was important for people to recognize the day,” says Thom Browne, who is outfitting one of the organizers for the HFTMG. “It is a very important day for the inauguration of Andrew’s show, which represents a long year’s worth of amazing scholarship in the world of fashion…his shows have truly elevated fashion to the level of art.”
Olson isn’t doing it alone. After soliciting help on Twitter, she chose 10 other women to make up the HFTMG’s core team. They range in age from 15 to 22 and live in seven different countries: Alejandra Beltrán, 21, is from Bogotá, Colombia; Chloe Kennedy, 19, is from Houston, Texas; Jana Dragićević, 15, hails from Belgrade, Serbia; Margaux Merz, 19, is from Ann Arbor, Michigan; Perla Montan, 19, is from Massachusetts and currently studying in Paris; Raebele, 18, is from the Philippines, Rebeca Spitz, 20, is from Washington, D.C.; Samantha Haran, 21, is from Queensland, Australia; Senam Attipoe, 20, is from Elkridge, Maryland; and Sofía Abadi, 21, is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their interests are as diverse as they are—Haran is a law student, Dragićević is a high school gymnast, others are studying fashion journalism, industrial engineering, graphic design, and printmaking. They have never met IRL.
Instead, they convene on Zoom or in WhatsApp chats—they have five going strong—at all hours of the day and night to plan their event. The organizers have divided participation into four categories. The “Wardrobe Challenge” asks participants to go into their closets and style their own “About Time”-inspired look. “Illustration Expression” brings creativity to two-dimensions with original artworks of new or extant garments. The “Photoset Creation” challenge asks for moodboards that relate to the theme, while “Open Creativity” allows participants to express themselves however they choose. One that’s gotten a lot of attention is the “Brand Challenge,” where the organizers randomly assign a brand to participants, who must create a thematic moodboard using only that label’s works.
“If you go on Twitter, many people are making threads about information they’ve found about the brand we’ve assigned them,” Beltrán says. “It’s expanding their knowledge, and that’s the main goal.” The group goes on to explain that they hope to use the “Brand Challenge” to highlight designers who don’t get a lot of cred on HF Twitter, as well as to spotlight designers of color. HF Twitter mainstays, like Alexander McQueen, are not included. Instead, you might be assigned LaQuan Smith or Noir Kei Ninomiya.
In addition to the challenges, the HFTMG team have used their account as a platform to discuss fashion history and advocate for environmental and sustainable change in the industry. Long threads discuss the history of the gala and the academic inspirations behind this year’s show, encouraging followers to engage with the lesser-celebrated aspects of one of fashion’s flashiest events. Think of it as Fashion History 101.