We all know that famous Carrie Bradshaw line. “Every year, the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future… This is know as Fashion Week.” Carrie couldn’t have said it better. When you think of NYFW, it all seems like a dream. You get sucked into this giant rabbit hole of social media blasts, and you imagine it as a wonderland. It’s a place full of beautiful clothes, exhilarating shows, fancy parties, and champagne flutes. Virtual friends are brought together, and Instagram stories are at it’s prime. You can picture yourself there, and you are ready to hustle your way into these events as well. Everything seems all glam and amazing, but there’s always two sides to every story. Today, I want to share mine.
Let’s start from the beginning shall we? Even before you get there, it’s all about hustling. You don’t just show up and magically walk your way into the shows. You have to pitch your way in to every single show, presentation, party, showroom, and event that you want to attend. This is how it goes for all of us smaller bloggers. Sometimes companies will reach out to you to attend these events, and then you are ahead of the game. For me, I pitched my way into everything.
With that being said, you won’t be able to get into every show. Therefore, it’s best that you pitch to as many brands as possible. I think I ended up pitching to over 100 different brands. In addition, you have to scour the internet for their contact information. Many of these brands are going to have PR companies (which can be hard to get ahold of) that handle these requests. Make sure add them to your pitch list. Now the limit does not end at just the runway shows. Feel free to reach out to other brands. Many of them are having events of their own. Be creative and think about stores that you like to shop at!
Luckily, I wasn’t completely in the dark with all of this. I technically went with a blogging community called, Style Collective. It was created by Annie Spano in order to help bloggers and entrepreneurs grow their network and become successful brands. Style Collective provided me with the best time table information for when to send out my pitches and book my accommodations. They even provided a discount at The Lexington Hotel! This was a major reason why I decided to join. SC really helps you take on NYFW smoothly, even as a rookie and smaller blogger. If you would like to join and become an SC sister, check out this link here!
Now I made quite a few rookie mistakes when it came to attending runway shows. The day I got there, I was to attend a show where I had an actual seat. We couldn’t check into our room right away, so I was scrambling to get ready and ran out the door. Of course, I thought that walking and taking the subway was the best/cheapest option. I was clearly wrong with this assumption. Not only were my Apple Map (always use Google Maps) directions taking me the wrong way, but I couldn’t even make it in time with a last minute cab. I made the ultimate decision to email the contact I had for this show, explaining my predicament. Yes, I know there is no excuses in fashion, but I couldn’t just say nothing and not show up.
Fast forward to the next day, I had a couple more shows. I left in time to make the show, but I did not have preferred seating. I’m more of a peasant blogger. Therefore, I had to wait in this giant line for a standing seat, even though I technically had a ticket. I thought I was good to go! A half hour went by, and the show still wasn’t starting. Heck, I’m still waiting outside! Finally the line starts to move, and I was about 15 people away from getting in. Because I did not show up at least 45 minutes early, I was pushed away from the show. They maxed out capacity, similar to the way airlines overbook flights.
The thing with runway shows is that if you don’t have an actual seat, it’s not guaranteed for sure that you will get into the show. It’s really more of a privilege to be invited to them. I did not know this prior to going. After this happened, I realized that I should have tried to make the first show (even if I was late), because I had an actual seat. From that point on, I made it my mission to show up 45 minutes early. That meant that the walking/subway option was out!
While it is very rare for influencers to get paid to attend shows, some receive compensation in clothing to wear to the show or ride services. After my epic fails, I can definitely see why having a driving service is such a big deal. I mean you are in NYFW, so it’s definitely an investment. If taking a cab/uber helps you make the show, so be it!
During NYFW, I went to one presentation. Olivia Palermo created a F/W2017 collection with Banana Republic. Again, I had a ticket to see this and my name was on the list. I even got to bring my mom! By the way, for almost all events you do not get a +1. Thankfully we showed up an hour and a half early (by accident). We shopped around up until about 45 min before the presentation. We then proceeded to get in the public access line. There was only one other line that was dedicated for photographers. It was just like the fashion show shenanigans all over again. It didn’t matter that my name was on a list, because there was no check in.
As we waded our way through the line, we finally made it into the store. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the presentation was held in the Banana Republic store on 5th Ave. After being 45 minutes early, we still somehow managed to be at the end of the line that made it into the presentation. We were stuck all the way in the back, with very minimal views. Luckily at the last second, we snagged a great spot. It was really a beautiful collection, but it was very hard to get a really good look at it. As a blogger, we are technically classified as press. We are there to give the people who can’t attend the experience of being there. It’s very hard to watch the collection, while trying to get stable footage.
After the presentation, we were allowed to shop the collection right then and there. Such great idea, and I was all for it. You also had the opportunity to meet Olivia Palermo. I get how amazing she is, but I was there to do a job and create content of the collection. Although when we went to shop, everyone else was pushing to meet Olivia. It’s crazy how quickly priorities switch from the clothing to celebrity.
Parties + Events
Brand parties and events seem to be where all the commotion is in the blogging industry. As bloggers, we work with different brands to help market their products. NYFW parties and events are no exception! Furthermore, I would say that more bloggers were party/event centered as opposed to runway show focused. Runway shows are more of an art form and a place to get inspiration. Parties and events are more for ready to wear (RTW) products, which is what we market.
For my next NYFW, I’m definitely going to try to pitch myself to more brand parties, launches, showrooms, etc. to further hold more of a lasting relationship with brands. As a blogger, I like to go to runway shows because I’m a fan of the production and creativity of a runway show. I also saw that some bloggers who work closely with PR or beauty brands, would cover the shows backstage. At the end of the day, parties/events are more catered for bloggers, while runway shows are for inspiration, support, and exposure to the brand.
With my first NYFW under my belt, I have accumulated a couple things that I wish I had known beforehand:
1. Always throw your most comfortable and fashionable pair of shoes in your suitcase. Even if you don’t have any outfits planned for them.
2. Bring Blister Gel Guard Bandaids for your heels! These ones in particular are game changers. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in a pair of non-fishnet socks, while you’re at it.
3. Have more shows on your list than you plan to attend. You will get bumped out from several.
4. Use your time wisely, while waiting in line for shows and network!
5. Don’t plan everyone outfit. Take time to shop at stores you don’t have locally to supplement your NYFW wardrobe.
6. Don’t plan on attending the whole week. It’s too exhausting. I’d say 3-4 full Fashion Week days will suffice.
7. Take time after the show to explore the neighborhood, where the show takes place. Take this time to cater towards your IG stories! I found that my following/engagement grew immensely by filling my story with places that people don’t usually get to see.
8. Take time to stroll the designer floor at the original Saks on Fifth Avenue to see current designer collections up close. Tons of inspiration can be found here for free!
9. Remember, not all people in fashion are nice. People will do their best to push in front of you. Don’t take it personally. Everyone has a job to do. Kelly Cutrone graced her angry presence with me at a show, and it was thrilling! I’m not even being sarcastic.
10. It’s okay to go out of your way to help a fellow blogger. Invite them to an upcoming event that they maybe didn’t know about. There’s room for every voice.
11. Make sure to bring more cash than originally planned. Ya never know!
12. Keep watching your IG for updates and surprise events/appearances. If you haven’t checked out my Instagram (shameless plug), I got to meet Sophia Shab aka Trendmood. Also, Rihanna sightings were popping up, and if I wasn’t too tired I could have checked her off my bucket list as well.
13. Get the NYFW app on your phone! It has the entire list of shows each day.
14. Don’t forget your laptop…
15. If you want to attend the F/W2018 NYFW, subscribe to my newsletter! I will be sharing my all of my tips, including my pitch letter and current contact list to name a few!
I grew up watching Rachel Zoe’s show, The Zoe Project, and things aren’t always as they seem. My philosophy is “If you don’t go, you don’t know.” I learned a lot from the process of preparing to attend NYFW. I also learned more from all the mistakes I made. It’s easy to get mad and overwhelmed, but is 100% worth the investment. Remember to be yourself, and don’t blend in with what’s popular. Also, don’t expect Tommy Ton to be taking pictures of you at your first NYFW. Save your 5 inch heels for sitting purposes only. And above all, allow time for power naps.
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[Linked up w/: Style Elixir, Style Nudge, Thursday Moda, Thursday Fashion Files, Living in Color, Casual Friday II, Passion For Fashion, Fashion Friday I, Fun Fashion, Five on Friday, Flashback Friday, Friday Finds]