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Paris, I Love You

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This Christmas break was without doubt the most relaxing and inspiring breaks I’ve has in a long time. I spent the best part of days strolling around exhibitions I’d long wanted to visit but never got round to going to during the year. I even managed to catch up on the mountain of books gathering in my Kindle that I’d bought but hadn’t had the chance to read. It made me start the year feeling inspired and raring to go.

Everyone gets those moments meh moments, especially after you get back into the swing of every day life after a break, but mine started earlier than most. A few days into the year I dove head first into covering the men’s shows, followed by a few weeks catching up, with a few work trips thrown in between, before embarking on fashion month for the women’s shows, which is what brought me to Paris this week.

As much as I love the whole experience of going to the shows, there’s no doubt about it – it’s exhausting and now more than ever. I’m not sure whether I feel that way purely because I write for a national newspaper on top of running The Fash Pack, but with the endless shows and the mounting pressure to report in real time both through online reviews and social media, it’s starting to make the show experience lose its luster.

How can you really feel inspired and excited when you’re seeing upwards of 10 shows a day? And more to the point, how can you actually digest what you’re seeing and feel inspired by it when you’re constantly being exposed to more and more?

It’s something I started thinking about during London Fashion Week. Sitting at a show, I started to notice just how many people were preoccupied editing photos on Instagram rather than actually looking at the clothes. That’s not me judging at all, I’m guilty of it too. The downside is that fashion week is quickly starting to feel like an endless machine, forcing you to constantly churn out content rather than allowing you to fully devour in all the new season delights and feel inspired. I’ve seen it even with photographers. The passion is gone. Instead, those that are being paid by magazines are rushing to get there required 40 or 50 shots of the day quickly, in order to send them early and call it a day. Where has the creativity gone? The pressure to constantly produce is quashing it.

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Paris is where things feel different. It’s my drug. It’s the one city that forces me to slow down and take everything in. Paris urges you to lose all sense of time and completely lose yourself. You can’t help but feel inspired, no matter how many times you’ve been.

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One of my favourite quotes about the city is from Michael Simkins. He said that, ‘Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.’ I couldn’t have put it better. Thomas Jefferson said the same thing: ‘A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.’

That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I arrived here earlier on this week. Rather than killing myself going to everything, I’ve narrowed it down to a few key shows a day and in between, have a made a point to walk, not in any particular direction, just to walk and allow myself to soak everything up.

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It’s worked. I’ve kicked my funk; managed to find the time to make pit stops at all of the galleries I’ve shamelessly never managed to get to; walked aimlessly for hours taking hundreds of photos and spent ever more drinking amazing wine and laughing until my stomach hurts with my favourite people.

Paris, I love you.

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