Fashion Week

The Vivant’s Guide to Surviving Fashion Week


The secret is just the right balance of meditation and caffeine

The frenzy, excitement, and sheer unbridled joy of Fashion Week can be, if you’re not fully prepared, a little terrifying. From trying to get a coveted invitation to the shows and the after-parties, to simply taking in the non-stop excitement, there is a certain mindset that one must maintain if you’re to make the most of this celebration. Even outside of the shows and parties, the streets, restaurants and clubs throughout Manhattan will be buzzing with excitement, as the fashion industry’s elite show off the season’s latest couture. Fashion Week

To achieve that zen state you need to get through it all, we turned to none other than Donna Karan, whose Urban Zen partnered up with Los Angeles-based Unplug Meditation for a special Fashion Week Self-Care Plug Meditation x Urban Zen Series, with early morning meditations held daily at 8:00 a.m. at Urban Zen on Greenwich Street.

My earliest experience with meditation dated to my time in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, hanging with the Hare Krishnas and other assorted hippies, but I didn’t really experience it in its true form until I lived in Thailand. I still remember sitting across from a group of Buddhist monks in the temple, as they coaxed me to bend my legs into a lotus position. My mind was willing but my legs were not, and the monks laughed, good-naturedly, at my mostly failed attempt at the yogic pose. They relented and allowed me to sit cross-legged in a more relaxed fashion. Karan has the right idea in starting out a hectic day with this ancient routine.

Karan’s retail philosophy fits in well with the philosophies I learned in the East, and her entire in-store experience is all about realizing the customer’s state of being. “For me it has always been dressing and addressing people both on the inside and outside,” said Karan. “Fashion goes beyond just the clothes – it’s what is happening around us and how they make us feel. I start my day with a morning meditation and I want to introduce that to everyone. Our collaboration with Unplug further represents what Urban Zen is all about by offering a space and a place for people to find their calm in the chaos.”

But getting through the week requires balance, in true Buddhist spirit, to achieve the Middle Path. Perhaps a little caffeine later in the day will give you that little extra push of energy you need. That said, most people aren’t going full-on Zen and will still want to equip themselves with the best luggage sets for carrying all those wonderful fashions back home.

Backstage and behind the runway, you can bet there is plenty of caffeine, and RISE Brewing Co. has made sure of that. Now I’m from the Midwest, so when I think of coffee I immediately consider pairing it with donuts – although I doubt there will be very many Krispy Kremes in the dressing areas. That said, if you’re not a runway model, a RISE and a couple of fresh glazed ones is a great combination – I’ve tried it!

A great stop in between shows is one of RISE’s two cafes, at 87 Orchard Street and 2 Great Jones Street, where you can enjoy one of these spectacular nitro-brewed cold coffees (my favorite is the classic latte).