This is gonna be fun! Tyler McCall is the editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com, where she used to religiously leave comments while an undergrad at the University of Florida. She spends a lot of time wondering if the boys of One Direction are happy on hiatus and trying to find the perfect reaction GIFs of Blair Waldorf. She’s also logged hours at Teen Vogue, Vogue Runway and WWD.”
“A lot of designers are returning to [the trunk show model] as well; well.. they were when people were when people were doing stuff, right, but you know, it’s a great way to connect personally with your customer, to know what they’re looking for, and you get that real on the ground feedback versus it being filtered through an entire sales team at a retailer who is looking out for their bottom line and not necessarily yours”– Tyler McCall
Ok and we are live on August 17, 2020! Okay. All right. We’re live. And it’s funny. I’m glad I remembered to take us live because we were having some really animated conversation, but I totally would have forgotten and we would have talked for like 30 minutes and totally missed the live window. So I’m glad you’re here. Tyler McCall editor in chief of fashionista.com Welcome to 20Minutes In lockdown!
Thank you for having me.
I am so glad that I discovered you…I don’t know who retweeted you.. How do we meet?
I bet it was Elisa. Had to be Elisa.
Yeah. Alisa, if you, if you, if you look at everything, Eliza really is the fulcrum of the universe.
It’s very strange her, like, between her and Randy Zuckerberg, between the two of them you could do like the hands across America thing without any other help. But yeah, so it must’ve been Eliza, but yeah she is the bomb. I love her to death. Um, But, yeah. So I’ve been following you on Twitter and you were very, very funny and very, very talented and smart and you are in Brooklyn surviving this horrendous dystopian nightmare bullshit that we’re all going through. And, um, what is, what is, what is the state of fashion today? And then in the middle of the pandemic!?
Jane Morehouse just said you have fabulous hair, well she said fabulous hair color and until I’m told otherwise, I’m gonna assume she’s talking about me. Yeah. But it could very well more than likely you. Yeah, it’s funny. I got light going on. So I got the whole Paulie walnuts thing here, but it’s not. And Granville side, you just can’t see it based on where the, where the wing light is, but, okay. So what’s the state of fashion today in this world?
Um, you know, everything had shut down and fashion was one of the harder hit industries as best I understand, you know, I don’t work in every industry, but especially because you have the brick and mortar shut down, so everyone had to shop online, but then you have these smaller, independent designers who have been so reliant on retail for so long. And I’m sure, you know, that’s sort of in freefall anyway, so, um, it’s bad, but I think that things are starting to turn around. I hope that things are starting to turn around a fashion month. Is around the corner, whatever that’s going to look like. We’re still trying to figure that out.
I think, fashion week are really the only industry; it’s the only industry where I believe actually should get a week in a month. Right. Social media does not need a fucking week. Right. Social media does not need the social media week they need a swift kick in the ass, not a week, but fashion week I’m totally all for that.
So, I guess we’re going to figure out what that looks like. Uh, Europe certainly seems to be doing okay. And they’re pretty reopened, but they’re not allowing Americans so I don’t know how many Americans will be traveling for fashion.
Our passports are.. It’s the most useless pieces of paper we’ve ever been. It’s I’m looking at dual citizenship there. I found that there are there are some small little tiny countries where you can spend money and buy property and you can get dual citizenship, like seriously, Im considering it, I started all of a sudden, a country that no one’s ever heard of. And you’re like Fiji or some shit. It works. Yeah. Yeah. I guarantee you, people are going back, looking through ancestral. Well, I have a cousin from Poland somewhere like four generations removed and yeah, it’s it’s insanity. So are they doing virtual shows? Are they doing virtual runaways? I mean, how what’s, how is that working? I don’t see. I don’t see fashion working over Zoom?
It’s harder. It’s harder. I mean, it’s such a visual medium and you have to touch things and see things up close. I think it’s harder. Um, certainly during the tour and people were starting to do cruise shows over the summer. Um, you saw some people doing virtual. I know like Dior experimented with putting on a completely live runway show, but live streaming it. Yeah, which was nice. I mean, you know, you still get the big effect and certainly I think Dior has the budget for that. Um, but it is a, it’s a little different, I feel like you’re missing some of the magic that you would be when you’re there in person and seeing things on the runway.
And I feel like it’s, it’s, it’s one of the fashions, one of those things that’s an experience, right? It’s not just, you don’t just report on it, you report on the entire experience. Um, you know, I mean totally now. I mean, with, with, with multimedia and everything like that, I imagine it it’s difficult to get.. I suppose the best designers can get their message across regardless of, of what they have to work with but it definitely makes it easier for like new up and coming designers, whatever, if they have a theme and if they have the, yeah, that must be good.
Really the really smart designers, I think what they’ve done is they’ve pivoted to use social media, to connect with their customer in a more kind of personal basis. Um, cause if you’re not putting out the clothes as much, it’s good to figure out like what your brand is and what you represent and who you’re representing. Um, like I think specifically, Brandon Maxwell’s been doing a great job of that on his Instagram. And I think about that, uh, Rachel Antenoff on a different designer, also doing a really great job, making her Instagram feel personal, um, and connecting when you’re like, you can’t really do anything else, right?
Well, that brings up It brings up an interesting point because you have designers who are not only working and doing sort of brand new things, but are also saying, okay, here’s the chance to break all the rules. Right. Not that fashion really had any rules per se, but they had some and everything’s out the window, right?
You’d think so. I think some people are still trying to, some of the bigger, more established fashion brands certainly are still trying to play by those rules because the rules work for them. If you’re a Chanel or Dior, one of the, you know, like a Prada, those, those rules still work for you. Um, versus if you’re a smaller designer and you’re having more chance to experience a experiment, kind of play around with things.
It’s interesting. I think that one of the things about a pandemic, because I’ve been through so many of them, you know, and I know this..! One of the things about a pandemic is that you get.. It’s just like, I remember when I was running my PR firm back in the middle of the.com boom, right. Like 2009 and eight. And then in 2000, um, I was able to start a PR firm at like age 25 because everyone else was doing weird shit. Right. It’s like, Oh, if you want to start away here, here’s $20 million launch your.com, we don’t care if it ever makes money. And so you piggyback on the concept of no rules. And when you’re looking at the premise of sort of the no rules factor today, what do you think’s going to come out of this? What do you think in the fashion world we’re going to see in 10 years, five years, you know, from this where we’re looking at.
Yeah, that was born.. that’s that’s that’s “Demic fashion” or whatever horrible fuck term they’re going to call it, whatever, whatever horrible term they’re going to come up with and just destroy, but you know, what are we going to see from that?
Yeah, I think one of the biggest things is that sticking with that really strict fashion calendar of you show spring and September, or you show fall in February. Um, it works for some people. Um, I think a lot of that has changed the system of retail that doesn’t really work for people anymore. I mean, if you look at all the retailers who are going out of business or going through bankruptcy, I mean, Barney’s.. R.I.P. right.. um, you’re going to see designers kind of trying to figure out again. I think that that’s where that personal connection comes in and connecting with your customer on a personal level is relying less on that model of, I show on a runway, I get an exclusive rack and like a Barney’s or a Saks fifth Avenue or whatever and people discover me that way. Versus how can I find my customer and people who will connect with me?
I think it’s interesting; it reminds me of like the trunk show model. A lot of designers are returning to that as well. Well, they were when people were when people were doing stuff, right, but, um, you know, it’s, it’s a great way to connect personally with your customer and to know what they’re looking for and you get that real on the ground feedback versus it being filtered through an entire sales team at a retailer who is looking out for their bottom line and not necessarily yours. So, I’m hoping that’s all gonna change.
Interesting that you bring up connecting with the customer because I’ll bring up the, uh, Um, you know, if the F word used to be the word that you weren’t allowed to say 20 years, and now it’s the I word, of, of, of influencers. Right. And, uh, yeah, I’m, I’m one, right, I have a weird audience and I love my audience and, and, you know, they, I get a bicycle because you know, I do triathlons and normal people live so that fat ass Shankman can do a triathlon maybe I should too. And I’ll get the same bike like he does right. So, no, but, and I’m not against that, the concept of influencing, but I think that it has just gone so over the ‘I want to puke line’ over the past several years that, you know, like it has the Instagram, you know, what’s the great quote I heard. Um, This is probably like 10 years ago now. Oh, you’re a model. Who’s your, who’s your agency, Instagram? You know, and it’s sort of that, that, that it’s, it’s taken on that negative connotation much like social media week. Right. So, but there’s still value in it and there’s still connecting with your audience and connecting with your brand if done right. Yes. There’s a lot of value in that. Talk about that.
I think that if you’re an influencer now, I mean, you’re a great example of this. Sure. Are you selling bikes? Great. But you also have something to talk about and you have a point of view and you have something that you represent. Right? I think if you’re looking at the fashion space now, especially with everything that’s been going on over the last six months, is there an influencer that for the last six months, all you’ve been doing is posting free clothes, then you’re kind of out of it, right? What are you doing? We have all these things like the pandemic, the social justice movement, the black lives matter movement. If you don’t have a stance and a point of view and a fearlessness and having that kind of viewpoint, then you’re not, then you’re a nothing like, you know?
And I think the downside there is that you also have people who I think, think that, but they, in the wrong way, i.e. the two or three, three Instagrammers who were filmed at BLM protest, literally showing up, putting a photo of him, holding a shovel to help clean up and that’d be filmed doing that one of them was, was a reporter somewhere. I think. I mean, it should.
It’s just, it’s ridiculous.
Yeah. You got, it’s gotta be authentic of course.
Why is it so hard for them? Why do so many people want to hurt the world? By by even though they know it’s there, there has to be authenticity, they, they, they, they just, they just don’t do it. Why? Why?
I think it’s just safer to not do that. Right. It’s safer to just be somebody who gets flown to fashion shows and puts on clothes and doesn’t have an opinion on anything. It’s, it’s sort of, I think about what people used to accuse Taylor Swift are doing right, is that you you’re at risk of alienating anybody who might be a customer or a guest, if you’re an influencer, a follower, then you just do nothing. And I think that we’re seeing, I mean, we’re in a world where even Taylor Swift is speaking up about politics. If you’re an influencer, you can speak up about the stuff that matters to you. You know what I mean?
Well, that’s the thing I think, you know, I think a lot of that, I think a lot of the reason I do that it comes from me is, is the concept that I have ADHD as everyone knows, and I have massive ADHD and I’ve made I’ve part of my career is being up front about that and talking about that, because I think a lot of my success has come from that- to get to that point I’ve had to stop. I’ve had to literally clean out my field of fucks. I have not one fucketh left. My field is barren. And because I don’t care. Right. Because I no longer care what people think of that comments. And because I know, you know, I’m not gonna listen to the haters, things like that. I’m as honest as I can be. Yeah. True to myself as I can mean if you don’t like it. Well, fuck. I’m sorry. I’m really kind of busy enjoying my life. So I’m going to go that for us today. And I think that, that, I think it’s more influencers adopted that strategy they’d be much more successful.
Yeah. I mean, I, you brought up following me on Twitter and seeing that I’m funny on Twitter, which is very kind of you by the way, but I’ve made myself like virtually unhirable because I just constantly tweet my opinion, like my real opinion and sometimes I think, Ooh, maybe no one’s calling me for a job because it’s about how stupid I think they’re being.
I would argue that I would argue that you have made yourself un-hireable to brands that you probably wouldn’t want to work with. Anyway. I mean, I’ve always thought about that. Like, if, if I, if someone’s not going to give me a speaking gig, because they’re offended by what I said online, or because they think it’s too out there, I probably don’t want to speak to their company anyway. So, and then again, you know, I see there are people out there who. I look at their feed and I look at how many of their, their, their, their, their followers are bots. And I look at that they’re always very vanilla and they see exactly the right thing. I know they’re making money. I just, I feel like that’s blood money I couldn’t take that episode -by the way, guys, Tyler has not watched the Soprano’s yet. She’s never seen the Soprano’s, right? So you gotta, you gotta make that a thing this year, but there’s this great episode where one of the, one of the people that I won’t tell you, which one goes to see the shrink that this rank on another street, and he’s like, I won’t take your money cause it’s blood money. I mean, it’s sort of that thing premise, like if you’re, if you’re making all this money, because you’re just plain vanilla and you’re not taking the peanut, anything talk less smile or type thing, right? Yeah. What are you standing for and how long can that really, exactly. Yeah.
Right. Are you’re doing this for the quick buck or you’re doing this for long term. Yeah. I’ve got a 7-year-old who’s gonna be in college, like by tomorrow. So I’m longterming on this bitch. Mmm. So how are you moving? How are you getting. Sue. Procko just shattered out. Tyler! do we know Sue Procko? Uh, Tyler as if she is just, she loves you or he’s good friends with you, so whatever.
Oh, no. She’s angry that you didn’t watch Sopranos. That’s what it is. Okay. Oh my God. Just, just watch the Sopranos, right?
Okay. I see. I’m saving it. Okay. My son I’m singing it because I know that I’m only going to be able to watch it for the first time; you know what I mean? I need to save it for a time that I’ll be able to fully enjoy that moment.
When do you, when do you get that point in your life where you embrace the Soprano’s, I get it.
Me, I feel like I need to earn it.
So you’re in Brooklyn, right? How’s Brooklyn holding up as a city. Manhattan just fucked beyond belief. How’s Brooklyn holding up?
I haven’t been to Manhattan. No, that’s not true. I went to the dentist in June. That’s the last time I think I went through it. What was with subway? Nice. No, you know what? I cheated. My cousin has a car, so do my parents. Uh, and so she, she, uh, texted asking for a dentist recommendation. So I recommended mine and we made an appointment at the same time. So it was like, okay, well I need to go.
From what I hear, but it’s been quiet.
Um, Yeah, it doesn’t, it never felt changed in the same way that I’ve heard Manhattan feels changed, um, except we live on a pretty thorough, like pretty busy thoroughfare that runs straight to the hospital so I will say that was a bit eerie cause like everywhere else, it was just sirens all the time, um, and we have a great view of the city, which is nice, but also when the empire state building was lit up like a beating heart, that was a little eerie I didn’t like… something a little cheerier, like I understand the point, but what had.
Two questions? What have you learned about yourself over the past five months?
Oh, I wish I had learned something about myself. Right. What else have I been doing? I don’t know. Um, Yeah, I’ve learned that. I, I honestly, okay. So honestly I feel like, yeah, uh, more uptight than I thought I was, and I’m trying to work on that a little bit. That makes sense? Uh, I learned that I certainly, I certainly thought I had more time. I was, I’m known as a flake, unfortunately. Cause I like, and you know, in this job you have so much going on all the time, always have dinners or events after work or drinks or whatever. I remember those. I remember seeing people so on the weekend, I’d be like, Oh, you know, I’ll hang out with my friend. I’ll get friends with them next weekend or whatever and then it shut down and there is no next weekend to get burned. So now I’m like, okay, well, when this is over, I’m never canceling on plans again
to that, by the way, that’s not true. Yeah, I have to be careful.
I mean, I buy my new favorite shirt is a picture of a cat and it just, it’s looking around the corner and it’s wearing a mask going, “eew, people!”.. you know, for the, for the introvert extrovert that I am. Right. It’s spectacular because when I’m on stage, I’m awesome. When I’m on a zoom call, I’m awesome. But I don’t want to sit down and have dinner with seven people cause people suck and, you know, it’s, it’s that, it’s that premise of I’d rather be in the back room, like, you know, plenty of doggedly, but I find that, um, you know, the interesting side of that is that while I don’t necessarily miss people, I miss. I miss knowing that I could be going out and do something right.
But you miss the potential for it. Exactly. That’s how I feel.
I’ve heard. Um, couple more thoughts from, from the industry. I’ve heard that there are, uh, and of course I, I have a seven year old kid so I haven’t gone to a party in about seven years, but I remember I’ve been hearing more and more that there are these underground, uh, sort of whatever industry, elite parties, something..
Like the tick tock kids?? No they’re actual parties. Like they’re there in Manhattan. Like they’re busting like, like they used to bust GBH parties in the 2000’s kids that are fucking rave in, in, in somewhere in the East village.
Now I’ll be candid. I was not cool enough to get invited to those. So I believe they are happening, but like, I wouldn’t know about them.
Well, have you, have you used yet, and you can be honest here cause we’ve all done it, Uh, COVID as an excuse when you easily could have gone and socially distance and hung out with someone, but you use it as an excuse not to?
No, I haven’t. Yeah. I haven’t.
You’re either lying or you’re a better person than all of us, heheh!
Yeah. You could say, I guess you could make the argument that I haven’t been home. I need to go home and visit family in Florida. Um, and I was going to try the summer, but then their COVID rates started exploding and perfectly justifiable, unreal. I was like, God, I love you all. And I miss you, but I’m not doing that.
It’s amazing what I’ve seen in terms of, um, you know, it’s sort of like the new, Oh, I I’d love to when I’m washing my mask that night, you know, it’s just, we just, the thing is, is that, is that I don’t feel lonely. Yeah. There’s a big difference in being alone and feeling lonely. I’m the 56th floor I’m looking at it. Well, the city it’s quiet, right? It’s not the ninth Avenue that I’m used to seeing, you know, as a five months ago. But I have people I text, I talk, I can do all this stuff of people. So I don’t.. it’s changed the fact that we don’t, we don’t need, we don’t need all the time to have that; okay. Let’s go out and have a drink mentality. Exactly right. Yeah.
Um, one last question? Where are, where do you, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do when restrictions are lifted? Cause I just heard, we were able to go back to the gym in a couple weeks.
Yeah. Well, I’ve been cheating on that cause the gym and my build apartment building has been open this whole. Oh, I know. I didn’t even think about it until I posted on Instagram.. oh, your gym is open, I was like, Oh my God, because there’s no one ever down there, like, it’s just me and you can wipe down. I wiped down the machines like, it’s like a whole procedure. Yeah. I was just talking about this with my, uh, my boyfriend last night, he was like, what is the first thing we’re going to do? Like, I almost feel overwhelmed. I mean, the realistic answer is that I’m going to sit and be like- I don’t know, are we supposed to go out? Can I just say, like I had this whole plan of like, we’re going to go to drinks and we’re going to go to dinner and we’re going to go to the movies, cause like I miss…
Or you’re going to go to the liquor store, grab a bottle of tequila and go home to watch Netflix, that’s what we’re going to do..
Realistically. I’m going to go out and have one during the freaked and like head back to my cat on the couch. Cause I’ve gotten very spoiled at being able to just drink at home on the couch. Like that’s the real answer, right?
Funny. I rarely drink anymore. I quit for a while now, every once in a very long while have a drink, but. I couldn’t imagine if I was still drinking at the level that I was like five years ago, um, It would be in an d because it’s not, for me, it was never that I’d get, I get drunk and do stupid shit, it was that the next morning, I just wouldn’t wake up early and go to the gym. Right. I literally, I just imagine myself on my couch as Homer where in the episode where he works from home and he’s in the moo moo. I mean, that would’ve, that would’ve been me by now.
Pretty early on. I figured out I needed to establish a no drinking on weeknights rule, because it was that. Um, until very recently I had the rule, the rule was there I established it. I had the rule, I was doing it for a long time and then it got to be summer. And it was like..
I think that goes back to what we were saying in the beginning- the rules have just gone out the window. They really, really have we’re at the point now where it is, it is just, you know, when no one ever prepared, there were no rules to prepare us for living in a world where the outside air could kill you.
Right. Right. And so we pretty much just figured out that whatever happens, happens, I guess. You live, you live with your boyfriend- how’s that going? Are you both home all the time now?
Yes, absolutely. We are very grateful. We, we moved apartments last summer. I think if we had been in our old apartment, it would have been, um, a crime scene by now. But thankfully we have enough space here that we can kind of figure it out. So that’s nice.
That’s very, very cool. Yeah. That’s the one thing, it’s what we joke about New York city. You pay for what’s outside your apartment and when you’re forced to stay in it, you’re like, what are we doing here? We’re not going anywhere.
When we moved, we found this apartment and it has a patio. And I was like that. Like I did not care about that. Cause I was like, we live in New York. If I want to go outside, there’s 5 million places I can be outside. And now I’m like, thank God.
How often is your, how awesome is your world outside now? Yeah.
I went up to the Hamptons last weekend and I was able to barbecue and I’m like, this is amazing!! I’m like, I don’t even know who I am anymore. Anyway, this is awesome. How could people find you? Uh, I’m @EiffelTyler pretty much everywhere you want to be and some places you don’t.
Tyler, we’re having you back sometime soon.
You were awesome. I love you. You’re amazing. Thank you guys. Thanks for watching Tyler. Thank you for being here. We will do this again and guys stay safe. Stay healthy, wear a mask. Talk to you later. Bye everyone.