H&M Flagship Party: A lesson in avoiding people

H&M Flagship Party: A lesson in avoiding people

Last night, every single person who is or has ever been marginally involved in Toronto’s fashion scene – like I mean, even dipped their finger in it for five seconds – attended the H&M launch party for their newly renovated Canadian flagship store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Not for anything, but, when a retailer can get all of Toronto’s biggest egos to wait in line at the door of a party without too many hissy fits and “do you know who I am’s?” there is something to be said about that. And you know what? It was totally worth the wait. What a fucking blast!

It’s about time Toronto had a shindig like the one we had last night.

However, in 57,000 square feet of people, you’re bound to see the good, the bad and the ugly of your social circle. I spent my entire night in a corner, paranoid. Afraid of who I might run into. Someone whose name I don’t know, but should. Someone who I find extremely annoying, but should probably say hi to. Another person whose email I didn’t answer. And another person who didn’t answer mine. A person who’s too drunk. Another who’s too sober. And then that person who I told to go suck a thistle last year, and haven’t spoken to since. Yup, all there.

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You know, for the first half hour or so, these parties are thrilling. All your friends in one space. You’re partying with all your favourite peeps – every corner you turn there’s another squad member ready to turn up for your Snapchat.

And then an hour later you’ve back yourself up into a corner like Polkaroo, only making an appearance when you know it’s safe. Or clinging to the same three people the entire night hoping that they will shield you from a potential bullet. I may or may not have spent a significant amount of time locked in a fitting room texting my mom until some of the people I can’t stand finally went home.

Call it anthropophobia, call it a case of the ex – I mean, this is the reason I don’t ever do Uber pools. Get in a car with up to five unknown “wildcard” people in the city of Toronto? Like, hello. That is just asking to run into your ex or old skeletons in your closet. Also another reason I don’t answer phone calls from random numbers. I am totally the person sending the “new phone who dis” text message.

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For better or for worse, sometimes you just don’t want to engage in even the smallest of smalltalk with any living soul. And other times, like at my yoga studio, I show up for class half an hour early just so I can loiter and cruise for acquaintances. I comment on people’s tattoos, I ask them if my water bottle is dishwasher safe when I notice we have the same brand, read the weather to people, I’ll hold the door open, do that stupid closed-mouth smile, and even – as shameful as it sounds – randomly join in on other people’s conversations if I hear the name of like a restaurant I just ate at or a brief pause. “So, how about that bow pose?”

I love being social, but on my terms. Sometimes you’re going to be the girl who pretends she’s looking for something in her purse to avoid making eye contact and other times, you’re going to be the girl who chases someone for five blocks just to tell them you like their shoes. Last night, I was both.

Leave me a comment if you’ve ever found yourself in any of these crazy situations. But if you just came for #outfitinspo, here’s how to get my look:

Forever 21 Boyfriend Blazer // Taudrey Side Star necklace // Blank NYC vegan leather jeans // Black Fox Fur collar // Ever New Black Suede Boots // J. Crew White T-shirt //

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  1. February 25, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    The older I’ve gotten the more I realized I’m a loud introvert. It’s been weird to grapple with, haha. But during the summer we have this “food truck stop” situation & everyone and their mother and dogs & children go. I usually run into 2-3 people each time who have been routinely rude to me in the past, but act fake and all “omg, heyy how are you?” Since it’s so packed to run away and avoid them instead of playing it cool I give the death glare and am just like “fine.” In front of all their friends. I don’t play that game.

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:02 am

      OH lord! That food truck stop sounds like quite the affair!! Bringing people out of the woodwork sounds like. Ah, I’d love to see you in action. Lemme know how it goes this summer :)


  2. February 25, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Haha your posts always make me chuckle, thank you! This happens to me more times than I’d like to admit. I consider myself quite a social person but lately- that hasn’t been the case. I’ve recently moved to Montreal and my French level is far from intermediate. All the events and social gatherings I attend consist of much French, so after the first few hellos and discouragement due to my lack of French…. I resort the corner. I’m sure it will get better soon.. but for now, thank god for booze and cheese plates!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:13 am

      Yes!!!! Booze and cheese make everything ok. Oh man, I can’t imagine living somewhere I don’t know the language – at least some people in MTL speak english and will gladly converse with you. But I know how you feel. It’s like a secret club, those french-speaking MTL people. Makes me feel so un-chic every time! Good luck! and thanks for reading :) xoxo J

  3. February 25, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    lol wondering what last night might have been like! and you’re totally bound to bump into most, if not all of those personalities with Toronto being so small and all. but I have the deepest respect for you & Alex representing like true pros and handling just about any situation with finesse. other than that it looked like it was a blast! at least from the snaps! xx
    p.s. the fendi pumps are to fucking die for!!!!! ???

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:15 am

      HAHA Thanks Yvette!!! Miss you already :) Oh man. I try. Sometimes it is hard for sure, to keep your cool. A cocktail helps – and you’re right, it’s better to be graceful than a mess. It def was a fun party —- still haven’t worn the Fendi pumps other than around my apartment and Soho House (which is beside my apartment). I need to just bite the bullet! hehehe xoxo J

  4. February 25, 2016 / 11:14 pm

    This was a hilarious and painfully truthful read. Right when I walked in last night I saw someone who once said something not very nice (and completely unwarranted–of course?), about me to MY friend and who now awkwardly ignores ME. And in turn, I awkwardly ignore her. It’s exhausting and I get super stressed about it. I’d rather mutter an insincere “how are you?” with a half smile and move on!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:18 am

      I think everyone who was at the party probably experienced a little bit of what I’m talking about! I think it takes time – eventually, if you have to be in the same space over and over again, you might say hi. But I def have a few people who ignore me, too. Only time will tell if that turns into friendship or you will just keep on ignoring each other and never be friends again. Just something we have to deal with in the industry! xoxoxo J

  5. Seanna
    February 26, 2016 / 9:31 am

    Omg. This. When I attended my first work party I at the City I knew I was in the right place cause I didn’t feel the need to spend half the night in the bathroom like I did when I worked in the private sector. TRUE STORY! Also living in the beach really is like a village. You never know when you are going to bump into the good the bad and the ugly – a single friend had to move cause he had too many exes in the hood! great post!!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:21 am

      OH god … THE BEACHES! You’re always telling me about the social strata of that neighbourhood! I cannot wait to move into a neighbourhood like that and be the MAYOR.

      Hope all is well! (How’s the LV bag?) xoxo J

      • seanna
        March 5, 2016 / 3:20 pm

        I LOVE IT!!

  6. Filipa Jackson
    February 26, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    This rings so true in my ears, I thought I was alone in feeling this way. I find myself to be rather socially awkward especially in Toronto’s fashion world, it is such a small community full of various cliques that I don’t fit into. I tend to find myself alone in corners loving life alone… is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so better to be alone than with a bunch of people you really don’t click with.

    This post made my night! Also can I just say how much I love this outfit?! That blazer is to die for!!!

    Filipa xxx
    PlayingWithApparel.com | Instagram

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 28, 2016 / 10:25 am

      Oh god. I felt like that a lot the first couple years I was in the industry. I still feel like that sometimes, too. You’ll find people you click with eventually – and some you will just never click with (trust me). But I’d rather have genuine friends than be fake. Sure, there are people I see at events and we chit-chat and then there’s my family squad that I hang out with at home outside of events. True friends like that are keepers! Hope you find some true friends in this industry :) xoxo J

  7. February 28, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    Love how you talked about the things we’re all thinking! The worst is smaller cities! Loved reading this Justine!

  8. Cindy
    March 8, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    As always, nailed it. I second Velvet & Vino: smaller cities are the worst!? Been stuck in Ottawa week after week reminds me all too well of this kind of awkwardness and I’m all too happy to lay low. I received the invitation to the H&M Flagship party as well and seriously considered faking an embolism at work just so I could dip from there and make my way to the city for the shindig, but sanity prevailed (although I would have loved to see your pretty face and chat). Thank you for always keeping it real.

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