In the words of Carrie Bradshaw from my all time favorite movie, "Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future. This is known as FASHION WEEK." Where swarms of models, stylists, influencers, creatives, editors and other dope socialites from all over the world are getting ready to touch down in the Big Apple. Since I can remember, I would watch Carrie and always dreamed and aspired for that to be me one day.
Last month, I attended my first season of New York Fashion Week as a guest and I wasn't working and saw 17 shows in total. It was a dream come true, and something I didn’t even think was really possible. From my experiences, and doing some research, fortunately, it is possible to get invited to NYFW as a small or mid-size blogger, a social media influencer or socialite, in this post, I share some great tips on how to get in New York Fashion Week shows and some Fashion Week Survival Tips!
How to Get "IN" The Shows
PR companies and fashion designers both want something from the audience. It is an even exchange. Designers are seeking publicity for their line. The more PR they get for a clothing line, the bigger the chance that a designer store will carry that line, which leads to sales. It’s all about money. PR companies don't put the June Ambrose(s) and Cardi B(s), in the front row only because they like them. They are looking for powerful influential people in fashion.
NYFW has transformed over the years from an exclusive event limited to only magazine editors and buyers for department stores, to a much more of a blogger/social media friendly event. The fashion world has evolved into something very fast-paced, the world in general changed, where people want to see next season’s clothes on influencers and be able to buy what they see immediately, rather than having to wait. Brands are now very open to inviting bloggers to shows because they know it’s a great way to gain exposure and generate sales quickly! This is awesome news for micro influencers because it means there’s a greater chance for you to get invited to NYFW shows! For many designers, it may be their first time ever showing at fashion week. They could be brand new and work towards building a name for themselves in New York, and it is a PR agency’s job to fill the seats at their show. By reaching out to press contacts, you’re actually being helpful, because PR girls spend so much time researching and looking for high-quality bloggers and influencers! So never feel like you are begging or burdening anyone. Like my friend always reminds me "A closed mouth doesn't get fed" Here are 7 steps you can take to get in NYFW shows:
- To get familiar with which designers are having a show and review the calendar, visit mbfashionweek.com
Start pitching PR agencies and designers like 2-3 Weeks before Fashion Week. Remember PR companies want a full house. Call smaller, well-known PR companies that work fashion shows to get on their mailing lists. It helps to have a cool job in fashion or to be a fashionista, socialite, or public personality. Click here to see the most current list of press contacts you’ll be able to reach out to show invites. You can also literally just google “NYFW (insert season) Show Schedule” and you can find it that way. I like to look up the previous season's schedule and make a “wish list” of shows I’d like to attend, and then research PR contacts off of that. Use that press contact list, together with the schedule link (click here to open it, page will be active closer to Fashion Week, hence why you start emailing only two to three weeks in advance) so you can see which designers are showing and to confirm the right person’s email address to get in contact with, who is responsible for the guest list and sending out invitations.
Here’s the most important part is what to write in your email to a press contact when you’re trying to get invited to NYFW. It’s great that attending NYFW has been your dream for as long as you can remember, but don’t write that in your email. No one is reading that and that's everyone's same sob story. You should write why you should be there from the brand’s perspective, and what you’ve done to earn a ticket to that particular designer’s show over the thousands of other girls that want to be there, too. For example: write a quick line or two about the demographics of your blog readers and Instagram followers. The main reason designers show at fashion week is to create hype around their brand and ultimately drive sales. If the majority of your followers are females who are highly interested in fashion and shopping for clothes, then write that in your email. Tell the press contact how you can help create awareness about the brand and get eyeballs on their collection. Show that you’re worthwhile and you’ll get invited. Be sure to keep it short, sweet and SUPER generic so you can send the same email to a bunch of brands. Keep it to two paragraphs at the absolute max. Brands and PR companies receive literally thousands of NYFW related emails, and they just don’t have the time to read a novel of an email. The more quickly you can get to the point of why you’re a great choice to invite to the show, the better. PR agencies I send a somewhat generic email asking for invites to any shows/presentations they’re coordinating this season (if I’m not sure what they all are) and for brands, I’ll directly ask to attend their show/presentation.
The next step after emailing and pitching to PR agencies and waiting to hear back. Ask your network, it’s not what you know but WHO you know! That is exactly what I did and how I managed to attend some shows this year. My now mentor and former employer has attended shows for years and built a name for herself where designers continue to invite her to shows. This season she couldn't attend the shows and asked me to cover for her taking photos and videos so she can also post and continue to get invited for the upcoming seasons. I was ecstatic.
- Now its time to follow up! Every single ticket request you sent (if they didn’t respond) should get a follow-up email. Nothing long, just simply saying you’re following up on your request. This is key if you want to get invited to NYFW shows – you have to be persistent and on top of your game.
And as you get invites to shows/presentations, make sure you don’t RSVP YES to a something that you know you won’t be able to attend! Brands know when you’re a no-show and you don’t want to get the reputation as the blogger that says they’re going to come to things and always flakes. The PR teams who check people in at shows have the list of everyone who RSVPed “yes” and they do know when you’re not there, so only say YES to things you know you’ll be at. And as you get invites to shows/presentations, make sure you don’t RSVP YES to a something that you know you won’t be able to attend! Brands know when you’re a no-show and you don’t want to get the reputation as the blogger that says they’re going to come to things and always flakes. Only say YES to things you know you’ll be at. Even if you can’t make a show, it’s way better to RSVP “no” than to not respond!
- Just because you don't have a front-row seat to all the shows doesn't mean you can't partake in all the NYFW fun. You will find out about all kinds of events going on just by being there. If you want to RSVP to some in advance, check out Eventbrite and try searching for NYFW related events. Lots of designers also have after parties that you’ll hear about, and you will most likely get invited to some if you attended their show.
SURVIVING FASHION WEEK:
You have confirmed and RSVP and now Fashion Week is finally here. The festivities usually kicks off on a Thursday. Be sure to read and review the following tips the top of the week to survive Fashion Week:
- Be sure to bring the essentials. Carry a charged portable charger. And fully charge your phone! Bring your camera and print out tickets just in case your phone does die.
- Schedule out your week. If you are lucky you are able to attend multiple shows a day. Often times they are scattered all over the place and throughout the time. Be sure to plan your travel route and strategically plan. Download the Fashion GPS app. Majority of brands use this app to send ticket requests and seat assignments, in addition to via email. Shows you RSVP yes too will pop up in there and it’s an easy way to keep your schedule organized. When you arrive at the shows, a lot of times you’ll need to scan your barcode thing, which can be found right in the app. It’s foolproof and makes life a lot easier. I personally need a physical planner I can write in, because if I schedule things in my phone, I’ve found I don’t remember them as well as I do when I write them down, so I use one in addition to GPS Radar. Whatever you use, be very diligent about writing in your planner every single show and party you’ve RSVPed “yes” to.
- Arrive early but not too early. Give them your name. Be friendly with the people who have a radio usually dressed in black.
- Planning your outfits is a big one because you’re not going to have time to do it even the night before, let alone when you wake up in the morning and have to be somewhere in a couple hours. NYFW is world famous, not only because of the talented designers it showcases but also because of the amazing street style. Wear comfortable shoes and be sure to check the weather in advance to be prepared for anything. Dress to impress and photo ready.
- When you arrive at the fashion show. Pay attention. Often times you may have a standing ticket they will ask standers to fill the seat as the fashion show gets closer to the beginning. It is a little bit of a rush so be alert and pays attention to those who look like they are in control, again they are usually the ones who have a radio on. Standing tickets are actually sometimes better than those who get actual seats because 10 out of 10 times not everyone shows up to the show, so they use the Standing people to fill in the empty chairs. And often times depending on the size of the show I personally found that I take better footage standing during the show.
- Make sure you remember to check out some of the fun parties and events happening in and around NYFW. Lot's of great brands put on a lot of activities during the week that is great for networking. Have fun! Set up brunch, lunch, and dinner reservations with your friends/fellow bloggers while in town.
Despite the cold weather and some rainy days, NYFW this year was an awesome experience for me. I attended about 17 shows. It was a rush. One major tool that saved the day for me was VIA app. It's sorta like the uber pool that charges about $5.00 a ride, but remember, it is an uber pool so if you are on a time constraint be sure to plan ahead. I attended shows where I got to sit as close as the second row. During fashion week there are also many dope events outside of the "schedule" that is happening. You will find lots of fun, open bar, network experiences. Catching up with old friends in between shows and random celebrity spotting. Fashion week was a success. I hope these tips help and you too can be able to experience.