Most of us will never make it onto an awards-show red carpet — not even as sentient product placement. But we’re all worthy of feeling like we’re beaming in couture, about to be recognized as one of the very best at something. At least that’s what Stitch Fix, the personal styling service that delivers handpicked pieces to your door, wants to convey this awards season. On Monday, February 11, as America recovered from one of the biggest annual pre-show parades, the brand threw its own red-carpet event — in New York’s Columbus Circle subway station. On this carpet, everyone was welcome, and the questions were geared toward self-love versus designer name-dropping.
Starting at 10 a.m., Stitch Fix’s minty-blue logo greeted commuters all around the underground passage beneath 59th Street in Manhattan. Upon descending the stairs underground, train-riders marveled at a brightly lit step-and-repeat. Stitch Fix team members invited everyone passing through to walk the carpet and pause for a throng of (hired) photographers who shouted for their attention. After strutting down the short carpet, participants — giddy at the spectacle — posed for a professional video portrait.
The Cut covered the “real” red carpet with help from Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, co-founders of Shine, a daily “pep talk” text service and self-care app. The hosting duo hit the press pit ready to start the conversation around celebrating everyday wins and already being red-carpet material. “It was really special to see busy New Yorkers take a moment to stop and show themselves some love,” says Lidey. Whether participants were wearing a hoodie or head-to-toe luxury brands, she adds: “You could really see people get out of their heads, relax their bodies, and allow themselves to be celebrated.”
Our interviewers engaged the red-carpet cruisers with questions ranging from how they shine everyday to what feel-good fashion means to them. Answers ranged from positive rituals — “My skincare is my child,” as one woman laughed — to always fearlessly choosing the bolder style choice. Lidey especially loved seeing friends support each other, including one pair who were both celebrating recent raises, and a woman treating her friend to a shopping day on the anniversary of her husband’s death. “As two friends who created a company on the principle that feeling less alone can be a game-changer,” says Lidey, “it felt magical to see that in action.”
Click through the slideshow below for more from Stitch Fix’s “real” red carpet event.
Hirabayashi related to other moms who walked the carpet: “As a new mom, hearing some of the mothers speak about how they actively practice self-compassion in front of their children really struck home,” she explains. She also got a boost from one man who danced down the carpet, armed with a fanny pack and “exuding joy,” who cited weekly dancing dates with his wife as his celebratory outlet. One of Hirabayashi’s major takeaways was rejecting the idea of fitting into a certain ‘type.’ “From influencers to commuters,” she says, “when we asked people about their keys to confidence and original style, there was a consistent response of ‘I stay true to me.’” This, she argues, is proof of the unprecedented era of self-love we’re in now.
In addition to subway foot traffic, a handful of influencers were present, including Hunter McGrady, Grace Atwood, Katie Sturino, and Dale Moss. “It was a great reminder of how easy it is to make someone feel seen,” says Lidey — especially those without thousands of followers. “The simple act of taking a photo of someone and asking them how they’re doing seemed to have the most impact.”
This is paid content produced for an advertiser by New York Stories. The editorial staff of The Cut did not play a role in its creation.