A Virtual Night at the Met

High fashion community of Twitter set to host online version of Met Gala


Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson

Around every corner, news about COVID-19 is there waiting for you, so it’s natural that many people are looking for an escape from our new reality. For most of us, social media has offered that escape. 

Anyone with access to a social media account is constantly exposed to creatives from all over. It seems that with more time on people’s hands, creativity abounds on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Social media has also played a key role in raising money for those who need it most during this pandemic. 

If you have tailored your timeline or feed to avoid news publications and other content that incites anxiety — except for those quarantine memes that offer some humor this worrisome time — then several minutes (or hours) of scrolling await you. 

During this time of unprecedented cancelations of events around the world, such as Cannes Film Festival, Coachella and Pride celebrations in New York City, “fashion’s biggest night out” — the Met Gala — has also been postponed indefinitely. 

The annual celebrities’ night out at one of the world’s most prestigious art institutions is anticipated by not only its guests but by millions of people who watch coverage of the event. Yet the cancellation hasn’t stopped the high fashion lovers of Twitter — known as HF twitter — to debut their own event, the High Fashion Twitter Met Gala 2020 (HFT Met Gala).

On May 4, 2020, participants of HFT Met Gala will post their submissions to the categories: Photoset Creation, Brand Challenge, Wardrobe Styling and Illustration Expression. The coordinators of the event opened submissions to anyone with a simple passion for high fashion. 

This virtual event offers unique access to a normally exclusive celebration of art. In the same way, social media has offered access for all to celebrity life during this pandemic. Celebrities from all industries have been able to connect more with their fans now than they did before quarantine. During the multitude of Instagram livestreams, influencers can watch what their fans are saying in real time and respond if they’d like. 

In an era where the days seem to run together and time is but an illusion, it seems fitting that the theme for the HFT Met Gala is “temporal conflation.” In correlation with the Met Gala’s 2020 theme, which was “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” the event will explore fashion through time. Most importantly, the theme explores the ways fashion is anything but chronological. 

To encourage social distancing, the HFT Met Gala challenges its participants to not only participate at home but use only clothing and items they already have at their disposal.

Challenges like Photoset Creation call for participants to create a photo layout of what they would wear to the Met Gala — keeping in mind the theme of the event — while Wardrobe Style challenges the stylist minds of its participants by challenging them to create an outfit using only clothes from their closet. The category of Illustration Expression encourages participants to showcase their fashion illustration talents. 

As of April 25, over 250 people have signed up for the Brand Challenge, where participants create a look from only a brand or fashion house that was assigned to them.

In the same manner that the Met Gala raises money for the Costume Institute, the HFT Met Gala is also a fundraiser, but for a much more timely cause. After the event, the coordinators will compile an e-book of the day’s submissions and sell each for $5. All proceeds will go to the International Medical Corps to support first responders of this pandemic. 

For those looking for ways to stay entertained during the pandemic, HF twitter continues to provide commentary on contemporary and past fashion trends and houses while offering their own take on the world of glitz and glamour. More recently, the popular platform TikTok has led to the rise of short fast-cut videos of makeup looks that range from “soft glam” to striking bold looks involving different mediums such as rhinestones. 

This year’s Met Gala may not be a day for high-priced gowns and elaborate costumes, but it will surely be a day that displays creative resilience and solidarity in this uncertain time — something that social media is doing for us all.