Lifestyle Company Refinery29 Makes NY Fashion Week a Treat for the Senses

by: Antony Hampel

New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest events in the world for designers, models, and retailers. It comes around once every year and, each time, it seems to be louder, bolder, and more surprising then the last. While many of the most prestigious catwalk events are invite only, there are plenty of other exciting exhibitions and performances that are open to the general public.

This September, digital lifestyle brand Refinery29 celebrated NY Fashion Week in its own special way, by hosting a multisensory experience for fans. The sprawling exhibition covered 50,000 square feet of warehouse space in Brooklyn. This included 29 individual displays, all containing something visual, musical, or interactive. It was aptly called 29Rooms and it was a huge hit with both fashion fans and industry figures.

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The expansive experience brought together scores of promising stars from the worlds of fashion, art, design, food, beauty, cinema and more. The overarching theme of the exhibition, this year, was to get visitors engaging with some of the most pressing issues facing western society right now. From gender equality to modern politics, unfair beauty standards, and the cultural role of fashion; 29Rooms didn’t shy away from the big questions.

Yet, it wasn’t just NY Fashion Week that inspired the popular lifestyle company to create something extra special. 2016 saw its tenth birthday and executive director, Piera Gelardi, was keen to show the world that there’s a lot more creativity and innovation yet to come. So, after chancing upon an amazing location – with the perfect amount of rooms, – he knew that the event had to be immersive and unforgettable.

The exhibition space included interactive pieces like ‘1,000 Questions,’ which invited guests to write about themselves on the walls. There was a pop up movie theatre screening short films from a host of promising new female directors. The piece de resistance was a colourful bouncy castle, in the shape of a handbag, complete with inflatable lipsticks and a cellphone. Ultimately, 29Rooms encouraged fashion fans to realise that it doesn’t just stop at pretty clothes and glossy magazines.

Fashion is what you eat, what you smell like, where you like to spend time, and who you want to be as a human being. Fashion is universal, but it is also deeply personal. It represents the version of ‘you’ that you’re trying to send out into the world.