They came to New York City from the eclectic metropolises of Korea, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the scorching capital of Mexico.


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They shared a common thread: where you are from can have an indelible impact on what you wear, or it can make you into something of a fashion rebel.

Wearing accented accessories and shoes intended to catch the wandering eye, attendees at New York Fashion Week put a stylish spin on an old adage.

When in Rome, do not do as the Romans do.

“I'm not a normal person in my city,” said Gina Ortega, who was visiting New York from Mexico City. “People sometimes look at me in a weird way because I like to mix and match things that really don't make sense at first.”

The parties and shows indoors -- from Alon Livne to Zang Toi -- may be the main events, but it's the street style outdoors that paints the most complete picture of what these denizens are trying to showcase. For a few days, the concrete sidewalks of the city become a venerable catwalk in their own right.

Ortega wore a blue-and-orange polka dot trench coat with a mustard-yellow light sweater, rainbow sorbet handbag, floral print pants, gold metallic heels and sunglasses. Though fashion and design were a part of her life from when she was young, she said, she strayed away from the muted style of people she saw in Mexico City -- opting for a more vibrant palette year-round.

New York Fashion Week attendees pose in their outfits Sunday outside Lincoln Center, where some runway shows and events were being held.
New York Fashion Week attendees pose in their outfits Sunday outside Lincoln Center, where some runway shows and events were being held. (Photos by Aaron Edwards / Digital First Media))

Attendees throughout the day told stories of reading fashion magazines as children, or seeing an unusual outfit on the street of their hometown that made them want to try something out of the ordinary. Others vividly remember the iconic styles of where they grew up, but decided to go against the grain.

“The way I look at fashion is ‘live, work and play,'” said Denver native Timothy Quinn Stanton, who moved to New York City six months ago from the Mile-High City. “In Denver, when people play they go to the mountains, they ride bicycles, they're rock climbing, so a lot of the fashion there is outerwear, sandals, hiking boots that sort of thing. I kind of went the opposite direction of that, and I'm more of the presidential fashion.”

His look, a black pea coat, slim-fit yellow sweater with a striped blue button-down underneath, jeans and wing-tip shoes, was peppered with unexpected details: the diamond pattern on the inside of his collar and Union Jack cufflinks.

Ola Yussuf, who sported round, thick-rimmed glasses, a simple head-to-toe black ensemble with a gray-and-white feathered jacket and light gold purse, highlighted one of the themes of her own personal style: “classy” taste doesn't always have to equate to overly expensive clothing. “What do they say, you can pay for school, but you can't buy class?”