Oh, Fashion Week. Every season, it comes out nowhere — and after seven blurry days of street style, cross-town cabs, booze and ankle blisters, it’s gone as quickly as it comes.
Quite a few of you have asked me about New York Fashion Week this year — and mainly, how you can become a part of it. I felt it’d be best to create a dedicated post on the topic as a result, so I’ve read through your many comments, tweets and e-mails (and even a few little gems at the bottom of this post) to assemble today’s Q&A.
Let’s get started, shall we? After the jump, you’ll find a few NYFW facts, pointers on how to get Fashion Week invites and ultimately make the most of your time in New York. Here’s my advice for taking Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week by storm:
FASHION WEEK FACTS
And if ya don’t know, now ya know…
Why are summer clothes shown in fall?
The spring/summer collections are shown six (or so) months ahead of time so that buyers can place their orders and have them in time for the new season. It also gives editors time to create stories and editorials around the impending season’s must-have items and trends.
How long do the shows last?
Not long, which surprises most people. The process of getting in/finding your seat and waiting for the show to start can take nearly a half-hour — all for a runway show that’ll last around 7-10 minutes.
Is the runway always linear?
No, not always. U-Shaped runways were created to increase the number of seats available in the front row, which makes more room for VIPs to attend. (BCBG is one show where there’s usually a U-Shaped runway).
Is every show at Lincoln Center?
Nope. Some designers choose venues that are more in-line with their own aesthetic. Other factors that play into this are the rental costs, how roomy the backstage area is, the need for customizing Lincoln Center’s stark-white spaces, and so on.
I’m so over these Fashion Week hashtags on my Instagram feed (#NYFW, #LFW, etc). Aren’t they all the same?
No, actually. Each of Fashion Week’s “Big Four” are known for championing different styles: New York for ready-to-wear, London for edgy, avant-garde aesthetics; Milan for high-end, over-the-top looks; and Paris for haute couture (style speak for “things you can’t afford.”).
HALLIE’S INSIDE SCOOP
You asked. I’m answering.
Okay, seriously. Do bloggers REALLY need to go?
I think this depends on the blogger — and as a blogger, I think it’s important to define your intentions/know what your readers expect from you. Are you here to cover shows? The backstage beauty? For me, it’s about storytelling — and connecting with the clothes. Whether that story is the message a collection is conveying or a chaotic depiction of what the overall experience is like. My intentions are to transform Fashion Week into an accessible, relatable experience through writing, participation and photography. What’s yours?
What’s it like inside a show?
It’s like herding cattle. People with clip-boards are everywhere and all of the photographers are in a media riser at the end of the runway (“The Pit.”) Chaos ensues. More details on that in this post.
Do celebrities get paid to go?
Yes. (File under: Career Objective.)
What about the models? Do they get paid a lot to walk in shows?
Depends on the model, but most lesser-known names make next-to-nothing. It’s “more about the exposure.”
How does everyone wear sky-high heels and tote around tiny handbags?
We don’t — or most of us don’t. I always have my Tieks in-tow — fold-able flats are a Fashion Week essential. I’m also usually carrying a computer, my camera, a change of clothes and a shit-ton of make-up (evidenced in this post). I don’t have a car service that waits for me after every show — or a doting boyfriend to tote around my bag, so, you know. Wink.
I’m exhausted just reading [your recaps]. Does anyone sleep?
Kind of — I, for one, take cab naps. Remember? But really – not very much. Fashion Week comes but twice a year (February and September), so I prefer to have a jam-packed schedule in order to immerse myself in the experience. Also, my recaps would be SO boring otherwise, wouldn’t they? YOLO over FOMO.
Is it really as stressful as you say it is?
Yeah, it really is. Especially if you have a full-time job, too. On my end, the stress is caused by my calendar always looking like this (below). And my phone looking like this. You’re constantly rushing from one thing to the next, and Manhattan makes it hard as hell to get anywhere easily or on time. Beyond that, it’s just because I love the experience (and sharing it), so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get in the trenches.
How’s the food? Do people hang out at events or take an Insta and leave? (Charlotte, @gimmepleaseblog)
Honestly, I often to forget to eat during the day throughout Fashion Week because everything is so go-go-go. It’s usually a one-big-dinner type of day, and trust — that is one BIG dinner. Somethingthing we are always doing, though, is drinking. Sanity is found in a glass of SauvBlanc, my friends.
How can I balance work/blog/Fashion Week? (Alyssa, @feathersstripes)
When I figure this out, I’ll let you know… But really, it’s very easy to get caught up in the haste of writing, rush reporting and obsessively Instagram’ing. The only thing you can do is embrace it! Plan your blog content in advance, get a mid-week blow-out and use long-wear make-up. Oh, and up the ante on that Starbucks card. Do whatever it is that you’ll need to do to feel present while you’re here.
What should I pack? Any essentials I’ll need?
Yes, I’d suggest bookmarking this post.
What else should we know?
Hmmm.. Oh. If you have to use the restroom inside Lincoln Center, you have to go in a weird, freezing Porta-Potty type of back-room, which is ironic given the glitz and glam surrounding the actual event.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
See you next season.
I’m new to NYFW. Where do I start?
There are two main ways to get invited to shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: (1) By registering for press credentials or (2) by e-mailing and asking designers (their PR companies) for invites. You’ll need to wait until a month out to do this before each season.
Okay, I applied and have press credentials. Now what?
If accepted, you’ll get a media pass and access to all relevant press contacts (read: a PDF with loads of e-mail addresses).
So can I get into shows?
Kind of. Your creds won’t guarantee show invitations, but you will get access to enter the venue. The names of all approved press members are placed on a list that is sent out to every designer who’s showing during the week — and there’s a lot of them. Occasionally, the younger, smaller designers will invite everyone (including you and I!) because they need the coverage.
Well, how do YOU get into shows?
It gets a tiny bit easier when you do this year-over-year — people will start to recognize your name or your blog. In sum, I send a SHITLOAD of e-mails. I spend hours following-up with people, customizing my outreach and organizing my calendars. It’s exhausting, but worth it.
How can I increase my chances of getting invites?
Start by researching the contacts that are handling shows you want to go to. Reach out, be professional and honest about your blog and why you should be there. Some opportunities will be more feasible than others — for example, BCBG, Tommy Hilfiger and Kate Spade are three designers typically keen on getting bloggers to attend their collections.
Are there seating assignments?
Yes, they look like this — and there’s more info on that in this post.
Is it easy to sneak into shows?
Not really, no. Unless you have creds, a show ticket, or a form of evidence that you should be loitering at Lincoln Center, you won’t get past security. (Remember: A press pass gives you access to Lincoln Center and the ability to wait in line for stand-by/standing tickets to some of the lesser-populated shows.)
So do you get into every show you request an invite to?
Definitely not! Remember, you have buyers, bloggers and press people coming from all over the world to see a handful of shows that have a limited amount of space. Ultimately, ever designer is looking for the maximum amount of positive coverage, so explain to those PR how you taking up one of those sought-after seats is going to benefit them.
I really want to go. How can I make the most of it?
Say yes. Say yes to everything. LITERALLY, EVERYTHING! (See above: “Why is it stressful?”) Reach out to bloggers you want to meet and introduce yourself so frequently that you become physically exhausted by the sound of your own voice.
What if I don’t get approved?
You can poke around Modem Online for designer contact info, and there’s still a lot you can do during Fashion Week beyond going to shows.
What else is there to do besides shows and parties?
Lots! Make plans with other bloggers, organize a brunch, e-mail brand representatives and set up visits to showrooms. Sure, it’s a spectacle, but Fashion Week is a mega-networking opportunity for bloggers to develop and deepen their relationships. (That should answer your question, Leah/@eatpraywearlove).
And just for fun, here’s a few wild-card questions. Because, hey — even though you’re using an anonymous Internet forum to share your opinion, your questions deserve to be answered as well. LYLAS!
I’m so over these stupid blog names – “Corals & Cognacs,” really????
So close! It’s actually “corals + cognacs.” But yes, really.
She’s [that’s me!] the exact reason bloggers are getting banned from fashion week… sneaking into shows? *trying* to make it funny on her blog?
But how else will people know that I took, like, SIX CABS in one day? Just kidding… I do it for the story, girl.
So… is it normal for people to steal other’s seats at the fashion shows? It would be different to sneak in and stand, but to actually take someone’s seat?
Kind of. If there are open seats prior to showtime, people are asked to fill seats so that it doesn’t look empty. I essentially play a strategic game of battleship, which you can read more about here.
Ugh. Corals and Cognacs. drool Lame blog name, caca blog, and she’s uncute. NEXXXXXT!
PREACH! If it’s Fashion Week, chances are: I woke up like ‘dis… Haggard! And ugh. Punctuation, syntax and grammar are so caca drool. (Anyone know what the f–k that even means?)
… Hope this was helpful, guys. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts or leave a comment below. And with that, I’ll see you in February, right?
Street style photos via