It’s that time of year again! And since SO many people have asked me SO many times “How can I get into New York Fashion Week,” I decided to repost an article I wrote last year. Hopefully, it will answer all of your questions. And if it doesn’t, feel free to ask more below!
Quite a few of you have asked questions about New York Fashion Week, how you can be apart of the event and how you can attend shows. And though I wish I could answer you all individually, I feel it would be best to create a dedicated post to the topic.
NYFW is one of the greatest Fashion Weeks in the world and is definitely the premier Fashion even in the States. Though every state, city, and neighborhood has a Fashion Week of some sort, it’s in New York where all of the contacts are created, decisions are made and careers are established. Thousands flock from all over the world to gather with models, designers, publicists, journalist, celebrities and everyone else you can imagine for a Week full of Fashion extravagance. This happens twice a year in NYC and in other cities all over the world. And twice a year, many bloggers wonder how they can gain access.
Getting into Fashion Week isn’t easy. But it can definitely be done. And with a little bit of persistence, you all can gain access to Fashion Week as well. Last season was my first Fashion Week ever. And though I never planned to attend (I just went to NYC for the IFBCon) I ended up sitting front row at a few shows! For me, it was all about networking, being likable and showing myself approved. It was about fashion, style, and all that jazz. It was about being myself and letting people know who I am. And guys, I did just that without even knowing it. And you can, too! You can bet your last breath I will be in Lincoln Center for NY Fashion Week this season. And with these tips, hopefully you all will be there with me.
First, I’ll start of with the general directions on how to get in. These are tips on how anyone with a reputable publication (blog, magazine, newspaper, etc) can gain access. Last season, my blog was only two months old. So, I didn’t think to take this route. I thought for sure I would be denied. But your blog may be a little bit more advanced than mine was at the time. So, here’s some general advice for those who can use it.
1. Get Press Credentials
This is probably the best way to get into Fashion Week and it’s a guarantee that you won’t be turned away at the door. To receive press credentials, log onto MBFashionWeek.com and register under press. Fill out the complete application. Leave nothing empty (even if it says optional) and be honest about your stats. Don’t lie about anything you have going on. But definitely brag a lot. This is where your little light should shine bright!
Press credentials won’t guarantee you access into the shows (although you will very likely be invited to several), but at least you’ll be the venue with everyone else. See, designers and their PR firms will have to invite you to their shows personally. Once you get into the venue, you’ll have to stand in a line in the lobby for your tickets to the shows you were invited to. Without tickets, you’ll have to stay in the lobby with everyone else. Which isn’t a bad thing at all! While in the lobby, you can network with people, discuss career options, promote yourself and turn your business into a brand. You can also plug into the community wi-fi and blog away your experience, take pictures with celebs and plan events. It’s also possible that you may meet someone who has an extra ticket to a later show, or can’t attend it themselves, and desperately needs someone to cover it for them. That someone can be you. So, don’t hate the lobby. Work it!
(Side Note: If you are a jewelry designer or boutique owner, the lobby is also a great place to promote your items to bloggers and magazine editors that are there. Bring samples of your work and hand them out to those you connect with. If people like your product, ask them to write about it in their publications or shout you out on Twitter. That little bit of effort will equal an invaluable amount of free advertising!)
If you’re not good at networking and you still want to see a show, you can always stand in the standby line. The people in this line are granted tickets to the shows that have extra seats. Designers hate having empty seats at their shows. It’s a total blow to their ego and looks horrible on camera. So, make sure you’re there to fill them. Just before the beginning of each show, ask the ticket agents if you can receive a standby ticket. If there are any available, they’ll give you one. If there are none available, get back to networking! The lobby is a goldmine of possibilities. Don’t let any of them pass you by!
2. Get on the designers PR list
If you receive press credentials, you’re pretty much guaranteed access to a few shows. The names of all approved press are placed on a press list that is sent out to every designer who’s presenting during the week. Some of the younger, smaller design houses will invite everyone to their show (including you) just because they need the press. The larger, more notable designers are more selective and will only invite a few major players that will make a big hit in the media world. So once you get your press credentials, begin working towards adding your name to the designers invite list. This isn’t super easy. But it’s not impossible either. Research the PR companies that will be handling the shows of the designers you love. If you gain press credentials, you won’t have to research much since a list should be emailed to you. But if you don’t have credentials, you can start with ModemOnline.com and work your way from there. Send them an email asking to be on the list. Be professional and honest about who you are and why you should cover their show. A rule of thumb: include all of the information you included in your press credential registration application. If you’re approved, and invitation will me emailed to you. If not, you won’t receive and email. Don’t fret if you’re rejected. Instead, stand in the standby line like nothing happened. You will be one of many.
—-So now, here’s how I got into Fashion Week last season. —–
If you don’t have press credentials and you’re not on a PR list, don’t fret. Good things happen to good people. For me, It happened last season when I went to IFBCon. In February, I went to the semi-annual bloggers convention looking to meet up with other bloggers and discuss how they are able to blog full-time. I wanted to make a few friends and connect with like-minded people who are interested in the same things I’m interested in. I had no idea that after the conference, I would be covering Fashion Week and sitting front row!
3. Network Your Butt Off!
How did I do it? I networked. I networked my butt off. Without even knowing it. I thought I was just being nice, being friendly. But people really loved my energy (all thanks to God for that!) and what I was about. So, during that conference, I was invited to another bloggers event (hosted by Mattie of mattieologie.com) that happened later that night. Of course I went! But it was at this event where I met Brit-Charde of ICFashionChic. Brit, who is now a great blogger buddy of mine, invited me to join her at a show even later that evening. I couldn’t believe my luck. But of course I said yes! How could I not? But it was at that show (which wasn’t at Lincoln Center, but instead at a chic hotel in mid-town) I met a great group of people called The Network Fam. I meshed with them so well that one of the co-owners of the group, Loud Pen, asked if I could cover a few shows with her throughout the week. By this time, I couldn’t believe all of my blessings. To me, this had to be much more than luck. So, just as I did several times before throughout that day, I said YES!
And just like that, my one day trip to NYC turned into a week long extravaganza. The next thing I knew, I was sitting front row at some great shows, partying with fabulous people and dining at the best restaurants. It was a total treat that I didn’t at all plan. But boy, was it an amazing ride that I plan to repeat this year.
This season, things are a little bit more planned for me. I’m still connected with The Network Fam. So, I’m already scheduled to cover a few shows. And of course I’m going to IFBCon. How could I miss it? That’s the place where it all started! And it’s definitely the place where I’ll make the effort to be. So, my third piece of advice is to NETWORK! Network your butt off! And do it like your career depends on it. Because it probably does.
(Side-Note: It’s because of all the networking I did during Fashion Week that I’m now able to blog full-time!)
4. Connect With A Larger Entity
So, lets say your luck isn’t as good as mine, which it probably is. Another way you can gain access into Fashion Week is by connecting with a blogging agency, network, or some entity that’s larger than you yet still need your help to cover shows. That’s what I did, by happenstance, when I met The Network Fam. And that’s what I’m doing this season as well. If you haven’t made a connection already via networking, email blogs that use multiple contributors and ask if you can contribute to their Fashion Week coverage. There’s no guarantee that it will work. But it’s definitely worth the effort.
5. Just Walk In
Just so you know, I never had press credentials during last season. I just walked into the venue and I made it past security without a problem. If you want to attend Fashion Week and you haven’t connected with anyone, you can try to do that as well. One way to do it is to look like you belong, like a model or an editor. Models and editors walk all over Lincoln Center during NYFW. There are so many of them that security can’t keep up with their attitudes, sassiness, schedules, and ego’s. Plus, security is usually hired from some outside service so they have NO IDEA who’s who in the fashion world. Offending a major editor by asking them to show credentials could cost them their job. So if you want to get into the venue, just dress your absolute best and walk past security like your Naomi Campbell or Anna Wintour. Trust me, it works. They will not stop you if you look like you belong. On the contrary, paparazzi may begin to take pictures of you because you look like ‘someone’ and security will widely open the doors because they assume you are ‘someone’. This happened to every pretty girl walking in and out of the venue, including myself. Walking in pairs or groups of three only makes this more of a possibility. Once you’re inside, start working on your blog, networking or standing in the standby line. By now, you should know the routine.
There is one downside to this is…people usually have an unrealistic view of themselves. You may THINK you look like a model or an editor. But in actuality, you don’t. And your lack of self-awareness could lead you towards an embarrassing scene at the front door. One bad moment at the front door could mean no more Fashion Week for you.
Side Note: Remember, this is Fashion Week, the place where all of fashion’s major players will be. So, read a few Fashion magazines before you go so you know what’s in and what’s out in the global Fashion world (not just your neighborhood). Also, leave your Target, Pay-Less and other discount store brands at home. And never, ever wear a fake. You will regret the day you bring your fake Chanel bag to Lincoln Center only to run into Karl Lagerfeld himself, who will promptly call you out. The same goes for Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Louboutin. Someone will call you on it. Your days in fashion will be over before they’ve even begun and your nights will be a whole lot darker. So don’t be fake. Dress the absolute best you can and relax. If everything fails, pose as a photographer. Nobody cares about how they look. They only care about being snapped by the camera.
And that’s about it! I hope these tips help. I’m sure there are questions that I have left unanswered. So, ask them! Let me know what I can help you with. And hopefully, I’ll see you next Fashion Week!