Last week, I received an invitation to attend Fall… In Love With Fashion, billed as “a fun and chic night of fashion at Northshore Mall complete with runway fashion shows, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails & much more!” Sounds fun, right? I thought so, too, & was planning to attend – until I realized that the event falls on September 29th, which is Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest of Jewish holidays.
When I looked further into Boston Fashion Week, with which the event is affiliated, I learned that BFW takes place Sept. 28-30 – the duration of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Nice, I know. Would you attend an event on Christmas? No. Nor will I attend an event on Rosh Hashanah, no matter how freaking cool it may be.
Steaming, I shot off an email to the Northshore Mall outreach person who’d originally invited me to the blogger event. Recognizing that it’s not her fault Boston Fashion Week is so poorly & insulting scheduled, I also sent it to the general mailbox of BFW & a few key media folks. You can read the full text of the letter on my personal blog, but here’s an excerpt.
As you may recall, London Fashion Week & New York Fashion Week have in recent years been scheduled to conflict with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur – the other biggest holiday of our faith. As both of these (entirely avoidable & egregiously insulting) scheduling disasters made headlines worldwide, I would expect the organizers of Boston Fashion Week to be more sensitive and attuned to the religious calendar and more committed to avoiding similar conflicts. Given the high population of Jewish residents of the Boston area (if you’re curious, JewishBoston.com can give you a feel for just how Jewish the city is!), I would expect Boston Fashion Week organizers to do their best not to alienate this community from the biggest fashion event the city has to offer.
… Asking designers, models and fashion fans to choose between their dedication to fashion culture and their commitment to their faith is insulting, unacceptable and, frankly, surprising … In the future, I not only hope but expect the people behind the planning of Boston Fashion Week to be more sensitive, inclusive and sensible in their organizing of this otherwise wonderful event. I am disappointed to be unable to participate this year – but I’m even more disappointed that this scheduling conflict was a completely avoidable one that your organizers simply opted to ignore.
Early this morning, I received a response from Jay Calderin, founder and executive director of Boston Fashion Week, who reached out to be both via email & in the comments section of my blog.