I arrived around 11:00 a.m. at the Highline Stages in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District this past Saturday–three hours before the scheduled start time for the Alexander Wang “secret event.” See, earlier this week Wang-o-files received a cryptic email announcing a “one-time-only, undisclosed special event.”
I got there three hours after the first person in line. That distinction went to Michael Shane, a media consultant and DJ, who told me he “couldn’t decide whether [he] wanted to get here at six or seven–so [he] just decided on seven and ended up being there almost half an hour before everyone else.”
And so, I joined the sweaty leather-and-Nike-clad line (I was number 80), which eventually stretched the length of two avenues. By the time 2 p.m. rolled around, I would estimate that several hundred people had lined up.
It was immediately clear just who exactly were my fellow partners-in-Wang. We were young, we were interns, we were assistants: Too low on the totem pole to score an invite to a legendary Wang fashion week party, too broke to afford his clothes IRL–but dedicated, nonetheless.
My roommates and I joined in with the conspiracy theorists, offering up our own far-flung suggestions of what might be in store for us. A Die Antwoord concert? A Rocco bag scavenger hunt?
Around 1:45 p.m., we were led into a dimly lit studio space facing a blank projector screen. The first 20 people were handed white shopping bags. Hearts pounded as we scanned the room for clues of what was to come. Then the Alexander Wang logo flickered and the crowd began to cheer. The man himself appeared on screen. “Hi guys, I want to thank you all for coming,” he said. “I’m sure you are all wondering what you’re here for. In just a few minutes you’ll have access to the entire T by Alexander Wang collection… and everything is free.”
Screams–the most blood curdling screams I’ve ever heard–filled the room. A look of shock swept over the faces of the people around me. The room went dark.
The screen flashed again: “No limits. No shopping bags. Exit on the street.”
Suddenly, doors burst open letting in a blinding white light. Yeezus was that you?
Seconds later, I found myself running, not because I wanted free clothing (though that obviously played a part), but because it seemed like the only thing to do. I remember grabbing a sweater and not much else after that.
Within the blink of an eye, the showroom was in disarray, the racks now bearing nothing but a few hangers. Viciously, the crowd had moved onto the boxes neatly stacked in the middle of the room. The Hunger Games is real, people. It happened at Highline Stages that day. This time, though, the odds were ever in everyone‘s favor.
I watched in horror as a nice law student I had spoken with earlier violently punched a box as if it had just insulted his mother. He tore a t-shirt from inside it and hurled the packaging across the showroom.
Finally, almost in unison, we all stopped. The clothing had been claimed and we were all coming out of our zombie-like states. Yes, we had battle wounds: My roommate got scraped with a hanger and Twitter user Tessa @ANECDOCHE_ (who, according to her Twitter profile, works in social media for Marc Jacobs) posted a photo of her bruised and scratched up knees.
And then, smiles. It was over.
The man of the hour, Alexander Wang himself, emerged, sitting on a platform above the now-destroyed space. The crowd cheered for him, and the mood shifted from feeling terrified and demoralized to exhilarated and overjoyed. We, the interns and assistants, the loyal followers, the fangirls and boys who, before this weekend could merely covet Alexander Wang’s creations, were holding bunches of his collection.