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Backstage at VFiles AW18Photography J’Dee Allin

Young Thug, a live photoshoot & a party: VFiles switches it up for new show

For AW18, the New York collective ditched the catwalk

VFiles normally hosts a fashion show, where young designers – mentored by the likes of stylist Mel Ottenberg and Naomi Campbell – show debut collections. The atmosphere is always raucous, and last season, Vogue suggested that instead of a catwalk presentation, VFiles should just throw a big party. And for AW18, that’s exactly what they did.


The event, called “Be Heard. Make Noise”, was hosted at Midtown music venue Terminal 5. Outside was an absolute mob scene; VFiles publicises their shows on Instagram, giving all users of their website the opportunity to come. It seemed as though hundreds – including celebrities like Joey Badass, Slick Woods, and Sasha Lane – showed up, filling the vast space. And “be heard” was not taken lightly; as things got started with DJ Gianni Lee and dancers The Bond Twins and ThatKidManny, the bass was so loud that videos vibrated on my phone.


Dancers made way for several performers: the first, K Rizz, aka “Slayrizz,” had everyone bopping along to clever lyrics about identity (sample verse: “I fucking love being Asian/Went super Saiyan then I turned into a Slaysian/Tryna rid the world of cultural appropriation”). Next was London rapper Blakie, who asked if the audience knew grime—I shouted very loudly in the affirmative, in an attempt to save America from embarrassment (too late). Bali Baby hit the stage next, in the infamous Namilia “dickini;” then there was 19-year-old rapper Comethazine. The rapper Tracy, son of Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, played in a Blink-182 and No Doubt tour t-shirt. The evening, which began at 9pm and ended at midnight, was closed out by Soundcloud rapper Smokepurpp, who insisted at one point that the lights be turned off for dramatic effect.


For the fashion element of the evening, VFiles set up a photo studio onstage. They essentially brought the backstage portion of a fashion show to the front – there was even a hair and makeup area. Photographer Christelle de Castro and stylist Anna Trevelyan conducted a live photoshoot, complete with thundering camera-clicking sound effects. De Castro’s images were blown up on a screen as models posed, all while DJ Mazurbate spun a playlist including the likes of Maluma and Brazilian pop star Anitta. Participants like Instagram stars The Clermont Twins, Dounia Tazi, and Odalys, strutted and vogued and twerked across a platform. Perhaps the most major moment was when Young Thug styled his longtime partner Jerrika Karlae onstage. VFiles did not provide information as to who made the clothes, but the models seemed to be styled in VFiles alums like Namilia, Danielle Cathari, and Kim Shui.


But the show wasn’t over yet. Players of the wildly popular (1.5 million subscribers) and possibly nefarious app HQ were surprised by the presence of host Scott Rogowsky, aka Quiz Daddy, who hosts the mobile game show. There are fan theories that Rogowsky is locked in a dungeon; seeing him in the flesh was quite a shock. He referred to the audience as “fuccbois” and “fuccboi-ettes.” The majority of the audience did not seem to know who he was. Frankly, good for them.