New at KALTBLUT Magazine! A Bite From the Big Apple is a new column from New York. By Angela Gilltrap. Fashion icon, editor in chief of Heaven Has Heels Magazine, Global Content Director of LOT 17 Media. Chapter 1: Fashion As Escape!
When I first moved to Manhattan, a friend told me, ‘Here, you will see the very best and the very worst of everything.’ He was right. It’s what makes me love this city with all my heart. On any given day, you’ll be riding the subway with a guy who’s rapping to his own reflection. In Union Square, it’s not uncommon to see one particular woman exercising her right to go topless—which, coincidentally is not against the law in New York City. During Summer, expect to see women of all ages (and sizes) in spandex crop tops and leopard skin tights.
The thing about New Yorkers is they’ve pretty much-seen everything. If you want to wear your underwear on your head and rap the alphabet, go ahead. No one is going to be surprised. This non-judgement—possibly due to overexposure to craziness—is what makes New York City one the world’s epicenters of personal expression. This, combined with the fact that none of us have cars and subsequently have to physically interact with each another on a daily basis, creates a curious acceptance of the unacceptable.
People who have been hiding themselves away in suburban towns, dying to express themselves, bloom here. In a city of 8 million, you’ll never be the craziest, and with so many people, you’re destined to fit in somewhere with someone.
While the typical “NYC” ready-to-wear brand delivers made-for-the-masses dullness, in the city itself, you’re constantly reminded of the power of fashion as an escape. The other day, I saw a guy in his late ‘70s wearing a swimsuit and a Statue of Liberty crown, cycling down 5th Avenue. #BeyondAmazing. Head to the Upper East Side early winter and catch the procession of old ladies in their floor-length furs food shopping. Or head to Brooklyn for a dose of hipster cool—where outcasts are turned into the in-crowd thanks to carefully manicured facial hair and plaid accessories.
For me, my NYC fashion choices give me super powers. When I wear my Yankees cap, I’m invisible. In a pair of heels, I’m unstoppable. Statement jewelry that doubles as a weapon? You may as well call me She-Ra Princess of Power.
Not everyone lasts in the Big Apple. It’s a city that will eat you up and spit you out. But for those who get to experience their moment in the sun—where they can truly be themselves, swimsuit and all—it’s worth it. Manhattan life may not last but the fashion memories will.
I miss New York. I still love how people talk to you on the street—just assault you and tell you what they think of your jacket.