The Front Row Whisperer! Where Mario Abad Gets All His Fashion Tea

by Freya Drohan

If you’re not following @MarioAbad, Paper’s fashion editor, do yourself a favor and hit that blue button. Abad and his routinely laugh-out-loud Instagram Stories stand out both for their hilarity and honesty when it comes to dissecting the who-what-why of the fashion world. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry that never, ever seems to take a mental health day or PTO ain’t easy—so we were keen to learn where he gets his tips from. Pull up a chair… 

You’re always on the beat! Where do you get your scoops?
I lurk on TheFashionSpot a LOT. Those forums are packed with juicy fashion media scoops. I check Twitter like 20 times an hour because, God forbid I’m ever late to anything major fashion news-wise! In real life, the best tea happens over drinks with colleagues, other editors, publicist, and designer buddies.

What do your DMs look like? Do people send you tips/gossip?
People mostly will just forward me fashion stuff asking for my thoughts and takes, but every now and then someone will randomly spill something interesting. I knew the Linda/British Vogue September cover was happening way in advance thanks to a tip. I don’t repost most of those—I’m not trying to be DeuxMoi!—but it’s nice to have a little inside knowledge.

What’s been your favorite juicy tidbit this year?
That beloved female designer who was supposed to launch her own brand this year? Not happening. Allegedly because of a very serious reason…which I will never share publicly!

Most unexpected fashion scoop of the year?
It’s think been pretty lukewarm compared to last year scoop-wise. The Yeezy Gap x Balenciaga news was pretty big. I’m very curious to see what Maximilian Davis does at Ferragamo.

You’re one of few who doesn’t feel afraid to challenge traditional brands/PR when revealing news. Why is that?
I guess I still feel quite removed from the industry, even though technically I work in it. Actually, I think a better word would be that I participate in it, but I’m not so entrenched in the system where I feel beholden to anyone. Like, I’m not part of that very gatekeep-y group of media elites who are flown around the world for Cruise shows, for instance, so I’m able to observe from a distance in a way. Although a few fancy PRs seem to like what I do!

We do too. Do you actually drink tea? If so, how do you take it?
No! Not even coffee!

Who’s your favorite person to sit beside at NYFW or at a fashion dinner?
At shows, Tyler McCall, Ana Colón, Mickey Boardman. At dinner: Kevin Ponce, Ty Gaskins, and YOU. For the international circuit, hands down Chido Obasi! He always makes me laugh and always has the tea.

What do you find the hardest/biggest grind about the industry?
Probably juggling all those relationships. I’m naturally a people pleaser so it’s hard to say no without feeling like I’m disappointing someone. Also some brands pay me dust no matter what I do or how hard I try to build something.

What did you love this NYFW?
Peter Do’s show, my friend Marcelo Gaia’s runway debut for Mirror Palais, and Elena Velez.

What got you through the relentless NYFW schedule this season?
The urge to see and be seen.

What’s your cocktail of choice at fashion parties?
Anything pink and in a martini glass.

Are fashion parties even fun anymore in your opinion? 
I’m way more selective with parties these days since I learned the hard way my first season going to shows how being out all night is detrimental to getting any work done. I prefer dinners to parties.  Saks always throws the best parties, and Bergdorf Goodman.


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