It had been a long summer. I had spent 3 months interning for a company I hated, I had just been dumped by a guy I met on Tinder, and Julia (my sister/bff) and I had been paying $2600 a month to live in a dorm room the size of a closet. On top of all that, New York City in August is as close to hell as you can get. After coming home from yet another tedious day of staring at a computer screen, Julia looked at me and at the exact same moment we practically shouted, “Let’s go get sushi and smoke cigs!!” As we crossed Houston and headed into the East Village, cigarettes poised between our fingers, people actively turned their heads to stare at us, their faces distorted with disgust. “Is my outfit weird or something?” I asked Julia. We quickly realized it wasn’t my denim mini receiving the death glares though—it was our cigarettes.
Meanwhile, across the pond at fashion school, the smoking issue (or rather, lack thereof) is a completely different story. Between classes everyone gathers together, gossiping and laughing, all while enjoying their cigarettes. I’m not artsy in the slightest, so I quickly realized that in order to look like I belonged I must smoke.
“You guys, smoking is basically like a right of passage into fashion school,” I giggled the first week of classes with my new friends Hannah and Jake. Since they’re both Brits, naturally they did not find my comment as funny as I thought it was.
Then, as if someone read my mind, the cigarette made several appearances throughout the Autumn/Winter 2016 shows. Jeremy Scott plastered the pun “FASHION KILLS” all over his smoker inspired garments and accessories at Moschino. Cara Delevingne returned to modeling, cigarette in hand, for Saint Laurent’s latest ad campaign, and the talking point of Alexander Wang’s most recent show was the blunt.
But the real question is: Why is smoking still considered fashionable when it’s so frowned upon by the rest of society? I blame it on anxiety. In an industry that is all about constant change, where you can be “in” one day and “out” the next, the cigarette is somewhat of a necessity. However, “in fashion” or not, smoking is still a bad habit that I will be quitting. Let me just finish the rest of this pack real quick.
* Photography by Sergio D. Estello*