Featured Article: “Their Met Gala, Their Way. You’re Invited.” by Vanessa Friedman
This year, the Met Gala, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual fashion show, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, a virtual fashion event, planned by teenagers, remains on the calendar. High Fashion Twitter, or “hft,” will host its first hft Met Gala on May 4. The hft Met Gala was conceived by a group of Gen-Z students last November as a companion event to the Met Gala — an event they follow but are unable to attend.
In this lesson, students will learn about the history of the Met Gala and reflect on their own experiences with teen-centered spaces. Then, they will create their own designs for the hft Met Gala.
In the featured article, you will learn about a version of the Met Gala that was created by young people for other young people. Before you read, familiarize yourself with what the original Met Gala is by watching the below video from Vogue. Then, answer three reflection questions.
Based on the video, who appears to attend the Met Gala? You can think in terms of identity — race, gender, age, class — and also more specifically about people’s professions or connections, if you recognize anyone featured in the video.
How would you describe the focus of the event? What narratives, or experiences, seem to be central?
Who does not appear to be part of the Met Gala? Why do you think that might be?
Questions for Writing and Discussion
Read the article, and then answer the following questions:
1. Why did Aria Olson, a 19-year-old aerospace engineering major, decide to organize the hft Met Gala? Who are some of the curators and coordinators she is collaborating with? How did they get involved in the hft community?
2. How can someone participate in the hft Met Gala? How is it similar to, and different from, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s event?
3. How has the hft community responded to Vogue’s Met Gala virtual event, the #MetGalaChallenge? What is your reaction to their challenge?
4. The writer of the article, Vanessa Friedman, said there is a “French Revolution-like air” to what the hft teenagers are organizing. Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
Option I: Respond
What is your reaction to the hft Met Gala? Are you interested in attending the event? Why or why not?
One focus of the article is on teenagers creating a space to come together in because they are not granted access to the original event. Can you think of any other examples of teenagers organizing something like this?
Do you think it is important for teenagers to claim and create their own events or communities? Are you part of any teenager-created and -led groups, either online or through your school or community? How do you feel when you collaborate with peers versus participating in an adult-organized event?
Option II: Design
Design your own look for the hft Met Gala event. According to the event sign-up page, you can participate in one or more of the following categories:
Photoset Creation — I will create a photoset using images I find myself
Brand Challenge — I will create a photoset using images from a particular brand archive [brands will be randomly assigned]
Wardrobe Styling — I will post photos of myself in clothes I already have in my wardrobe [formal look not required]
Illustration Expression — I will post photos of my own fashion illustration of an original or archival design
Open Creativity — I will be participating in my own way [i.e. creating my own garments, etc.]
As you look at the list of options, does one of the categories appeal to you? For example, if you love to draw, you can illustrate a fashion design. Or if you are more interested in graphic design or photographs, you could create a photoset of images.
If you want to officially submit your design, you can use one of the templates that hft Met Gala has created, or you can create designs on your own and share them with your classmates.